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Third Annual Sugarloaf Banked Slalom set for March 23-24; Winners to receive automatic entry to Mt. Baker LBS

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, ME - The ultimate test of skill and agility returns to Sugarloaf on March 23 & 24, 2013, at the Third Annual Sugarloaf Banked Slalom, and this year the stakes are higher than ever.

Starting this year, both the male and female Sugarloaf Banked Slalom champions will be granted an automatic entry to the 2014 Mt. Baker Legendary Banked Slalom (LBS). 

The annual event, which is widely considered to be the first ever organized snowboard competition, attracts the top snowboarders from around the globe, making it one of the premier snowboard competitions in the world (two-time Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott won the 2013 LBS). The LBS also has a notoriously long waiting list for entrants, with an annual lottery divvying up the open spots. 

The Sugarloaf Banked Slalom was in 2011, and was based in part on the model of the LBS. The event captures the soul and laid-back nature of snowboarding in the Northeast, while allowing snowboarders of all ages and skill-levels to compete on the same course as legends of the sport like Wescott.

A pair of Olympic gold medalists took home two of the top three spots in the inaugural Sugarloaf Banked Slalom, with Wescott finishing in third and Ross Powers, the 2002 Olympic gold medalist in halfpipe, taking home the title. 

The Sugarloaf Banked Slalom is a snowboard-only, open registration event, in which snowboarders young and old compete on a winding course of banked turns. 

The LBS is widely considered to be the first ever organized snowboard competition, and it eventually gave birth to the sport of snowboardcross. Wescott holds the only two Olympic snowboardcross gold medals ever awarded.

"Having competed in the Mt Baker event for so many years, I always thought it was something that would be successful back home at Sugarloaf," Wescott said. "It was awesome to see how it grew from year one to year two, and I can't wait to see what year three has in store." 

Like last season, the Banked Slalom will feature a two-day format. Saturday, March 23 will feature a semifinal round, where the field of 200 riders will be culled to the fastest 150, who will all move on to Sunday's final round. 

On Sunday, March 24 each rider will have two runs, with the faster of the two counting in the final standings. The Banked Slalom will feature five different age categories for both men and women, and prizes will be awarded to the top three finishers in each category. There will also be prizes awarded to the top three overall finishers. 

The Banked Slalom course will be located on Sugarloaf's "Sidewinder" trail, and will be open to all riders on Friday, March 22 for an optional inspection run. 

Registration for the Sugarloaf Banked Slalom is $40 per rider, and is currently open online at Sugarloaf.com. Registration will be capped at 200 riders. All registrants will receive a commemorative tshirt. 

For more information. please visit www.sugarloaf.com.

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About Sugarloaf - Located in Carrabassett Valley, ME, Sugarloaf is largest ski area in the East, and is home to the only lift-serviced above treeline skiing and riding in the East, as well as the number one golf course in Maine, according to Golf Digest. Sugarloaf is a member of the Boyne Resorts family of resorts and attractions. Follow: www.sugarloaf.comwww.facebook.com/sugarloaf, and http://twitter.com/sugarloafmaine