Matt Berglund wins big at Mount Baker snowboard slalom

Takes home the Golden Roll of Duct Tape

Local rider Matt Berglund took first place in the Older Amateurs category at the 2008 Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom, held February 8-10. The Mount Baker Legendary Banked Slalom is arguably the most prestigious snowboard event in the country, if not the world.



The competition started in 1985 and attracts the top riders in the sport, both professionals and amateurs, for a shot at the Golden Roll of Duct Tape and thousands of dollars in prizes.
The list of past winners in the pro men category includes the likes of Shaun Palmer, Craig Kelly, Terje Haakonsen and Rob Morrow.
The event has gained so much fame that entry is based on a lottery system, with as many as 1,600 riders vying for 400 entry spots each year.
Five years ago local riders Christian Robertson and Matt Berglund made their first pilgrimage to the event. Since then Berglund has tried to get back in and finally got the news in December that he had been picked for this year’s competition.
“I was definitely excited,” says Berglund. “I’ve been trying to get back there for five years.”
There is a variety of race categories, including pro men and women, as well as an array of amateur classes.
Berglund, 24, entered the Older Amateurs class. Older Amateurs is a bit of a misnomer as the class is basically flush with the top 20-somethings riding today who have not yet turned professional.
“Everyone’s a big name there,” says Berglund.
While the race is the central reason for the trip for all the riders, it is by no means the focus when they arrive—they are often met with the chance to ride quality conditions, i.e. deep powder, among the Who’s Who of snowboarding.
“Mostly I just wanted to have a good time,” says Berglund. “It’s just cool to be up there and all of your idols from growing up are also there. You compete but you’re riding pow, too.”
The course takes competitors down a natural gully, with eight gates perched high on the sides that riders must negotiate.
Heading into the qualifying run on Friday, February 8, Berglund kept his strategy simple.
“You want to go as fast as you can, but you want to qualify,” says Berglund.
In between powder runs, Berglund did just that, and laid down a solid qualifying run to take 10th place and advance to the finals on Sunday, February 10 with a head full of confidence.
“After I qualified 10th, I knew I had a shot to put down a good run in the finals,” says Berglund.
Riders get two runs in the finals, with the fastest one picked as their final time.
Berglund put down the fastest time in his second run to take first place for the coveted Duct Tape Trophy, close to $2,000 worth of gear—including a new snowboard—and an automatic entry to next year’s competition.
“I’m definitely going back next year,” says Berglund.

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