Team Blog: A-Rob’s Smash Life Banked Slalom at Big Sky

by: Marissa Krawczak and Janessa Bork

The weekend of January 10th and 11th Big Sky Montana hosted the A-Rob Smashlife Banked Slalom. The event is held in honor of Aaron Robinson, a snowboarder who left the world to early in 2011, riding in Chile. The proceeds benefit the Plant a Seed Project, which helps underprivileged kids go snowboarding. It was also the first time the event was held over two days and Shane Stalling event organizer said it was a record turnout.

Marissa on course

Marissa: After some good shred on Mt Hood, Janessa and I decided to head East into the Rockies for the event and to do some exploring! Lucky for us, Janessa’s dad Ryan lived near Big Sky and we had a rad place to stay for a few days and a tour guide for the area. After some good eating, we took ‘the back way’ to Moonlight Basin/Big Sky, Jack Creek gravel road. The road turned out to be a Montana wildlife safari every morning and evening, searching for mountain goats and moose, elk and deer.

Janessa:  Amongst our high protein diet of Montana meats while staying at my dad’s house in the Madison Valley, we explored the expansive resort for three days. During our first day we took hot laps down some of their longest runs at Moonlight Basin, also known as “the dark side” on the northern part of Loan Mountain. We also enjoyed the western inspired Madison Lodge which was a locals fav.

Marissa: The first day of the event provided us an opportunity to warm-up on the course and put in two qualifier runs. The course was super fun, hand-dug and placed among the pines of Big Sky. Of twenty girls, Janessa and I both qualified for finals the next day.

Janessa: The event took place off of the “Southern Comfort” quad chair in Fremont’s Forest, which is located on the southern side, to the left of Loan peak on Andesite Mountain. The course had some tight surfy, fast and fun banks with a few trees to dodge, and a tech section in the middle with a few pumps too see if you could hold onto your speed. Did we mention it was blue bird! After our qualifier runs we were hyped and did some more exploring in the bowl and central part of Loan Mountain. Trying to hit as many of the 22 lifts Big Sky had to offer was hard, no wonder they call it the biggest skiing in america!

Marissa:custom “SMASHLIFE” belt buckle. Janessa ended up winning the switch run for the ladies, which was pretty challenging and really fun! The day ended with an all-ladies party run or two and Stalling said it was really rad to see and bunch of us ladies shredding around together! I didn’t know Aaron but his friends and family are most generous so I can only imagine what a rad person he was!

Janessa: There was a nice dusting of fresh snow on the course on finals day which made for some plentiful practice runs preparing for the one run final race. Unfortunately, on my finals run I was getting a bit to radical and biffed a corner loosing a few seconds of speed. Fortunately, I was still rippin’ it up and managed to rally switch down the course for the ladies fasted switch run.

It was so rad to see so many local ladies as well as girls from Canada, Washington, Oregon, and Wyoming there to rip it up and celebrate A-Rob. They may call it Man-tana, but I met some women that could definitely ride just as hard as the dudes!

Marissa: After the event the Bork’s and I headed to Yellowstone National Park to do some exploratory split-boarding. We found some pow and more wildlife on a sunny Montana day. I even got stuck in the trees and almost fell in a creek. It was a great way to cap off an awesome adventure.

Janessa: One our last day of the trip, Monday funday, my dad and I gave Marissa a small taste of Yellowstone and its beauty. The best part of being in the mountain country is the vast landscape filled with snow, the alpenglow and wild animals. Reflections of a great mission were finished with some pow turns down “tele hill.”

Marissa & Janessa: Til’ the next adventure, happy shredding!


Women’s Results:

1-Maria Debari           48.78
2-Tanya Simonson       50.21
3-Marissa Krawczak     53.21

Full Results:
Stay tuned for more when Smashlife hits Alpental Jan 31st-Feb 2nd!


Janessa, Marissa and Ryan Bork

Some of the lady competitors

Jacqui Shaffer on course

Ladies getting ready for finals!

Pledging America and getting stoked to ride the course

Marissa and the sweet prizes for 3rd place

Tanya Simonson taking home 2nd place

Moonlight Basin side of Big Sky Resort

Janessa and the view from Tele Hill, Yellowstone NP


Posted by Gabby Rainville on 01/18/15

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