Lauderdale awaits Legendary Banked Slalom


Local snowboarder Kailani Lauderdale shares a special connection with his family - sports. The family surfs, mountain bikes, plays soccer together and excels at snowboarding.

Lauderdale qualified for the 2014 Legendary Banked Slalom at Mount Baker by taking first in the juniors division. He was one of the youngest in the age group.

Kailani's father, Joe Lauderdale, also competed in the qualifiers but failed to make it to the main event.

"My mom and dad told me about the event a couple years ago and ever since I started doing it with my dad," Kailani said in a phone interview. "It's pretty fun racing with my dad - we even have little competitions."

The Legendary Banked Slalom start at 10:15 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, at Mt. Baker. Kailani's category is ninth in line, and the races will conclude around 1:30 p.m. The top 25 percent of racers in each category qualify for the second day of competition.

Whoever wins the race between Kailani and his father has to wax the other person's board. It keeps the competition friendly and exciting for both of them.

The entire family also shares something else on the mountain: They all ride goofy - the right foot is placed in the front.

Snowboarding is something the family has shared since Kailani was 2 years old.

"We all look out for each other up there," Kailani said. "We have a big community of snowboarder friends."

The main goal is to not take it too seriously, exemplified by the fact Kailani is playing in a soccer game the night before the competition.

Kailani knows the importance of keeping a balance between his variety of sports and his schoolwork, too. This year he got accepted with a scholarship to the Waldorf School in Bellingham.

With so much driving to different sporting events and from his hometown of Glacier to school, Kailani does a lot his work in the car.

"My mom (Rosanne) helps me a lot with my schoolwork," Kailani said. "I fit in the schoolwork when I can."

But all the thoughts of schoolwork and keeping on track go away when he straps on his boots.

The atmosphere is friendly, loud and exciting at the top of the hill, Kailani said. But there's no doubt it will be cold.

"I just wear extra layers and my mom usually makes me hot soup in a thermos that she carries up there," Kailani said.

The snow, too, is a concern, with many boarders saying the lack of snow this year on Mt. Baker makes the conditions subpar.

"Well, I would like it if it snowed more," Kailani said. "It's going to be icy. A little more snow would be better."

But it isn't putting a damper on Kailani's excitement for the event.

"I'm looking to have fun and compete against my age group," he said. "I am just going to try the best I can, but for the most part, it's just going to be fun. I just want to have fun in the powder."

The night before is just as exciting for Kailani. He waxes his board and sharpens his edges with his father and "gets psyched for the event," Kailani said.

After the event, Kailani will turn his eyes to the Olympics where he'll be watching Shaun White in the snowboard halfpipe, and Angeli Van Laanen in the ski halfpipe. Van Laanen went to the same school as Kailani, and is a friend of his family.

Will Kailani eventually be in the same spot as Van Laanen?

"I'm just having fun and seeing where it takes me," Kailani said.

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