Monday, April 4, 2011

Ride Shake Down 2011

Took a little vacation with Gerhard while he was reporting on the 2011 Ride Shake Down in Mont Saint Sauveur, QC. We didn't go far, and we weren't gone for long, but it was definitely a departure. Although I live adjacent to snowboarding almost all the time, thanks to G's line of work, I don't often visit that strange and colourful land. But when I do, it's always an excellent time.

The weekend began with the Friday night Rail Jam where Jeremy Cloutier won $5000 for his efforts (see photo to the left, taken by SBC Sr. photo Oli Croteau). I don't speak Snowboarder unfortunately, so if you want to know what tricks he pulled out of his hat, I strongly recommend visiting They speak snowboarder fluently. Anyway, Jeremy is apparently a big deal, but to me he's that guy I lent my sleeping bag to and drove all over town when he and his crew came to Toronto. He was nice, polite and hilarious, so watching him win the competition was good times.

After G finished his interviews, we headed to our hotel, stopping at St. Hubert (when in Quebec ...) along the way for some nourishment. It's like Swiss Chalet only better. Our hotel reminded me of the resort in Dirty Dancing. I could totally picture people meeting up at the gazebo for salsa lessons in the in summertime. Plus, they had a breakfast buffet which is up there on my list of 'favourite dining experiences'.

Saturday was supposed to be a crappy day, but the gods smiled on the Shake Down and it turned into the nicest circumstances for spring skiing I've ever encountered. It was hoody and sunglasses weather. G and I ripped around on the soft snow, then baked on the chair-lift before calling it quits in time to get a poutine lunch, washed down with a pitcher of sangria, just for us. We watched some of the semi-finals of the "Main Event" set for that evening, then the circus act of skateboarders trying to ride the snowboarder rails, and before we knew it, it was time to be reporters again. (Well G was the reporter, I was just the annoying sidekick trying to figure out the difference between 50/50s and 5-0s.)

The snowboarders hucked themselves off this huge jump before checking their speed just enough to shred the rails on the bottom half of the course all night and for spectators, it never really got old. The organizers set the course up for maximum benefit to the cheering crowds so everything was happening across the hill, giving us the best view.

At the end, a big fireworks display kept us entertained while we waited to find out which flipsytwistyjumpyspin was the best of the night. It was the Shake Down's 10th anniversary afterall, and let me tell you, it was quite the birthday party (Croteau photo, a gauche).

In the end Seb Toots took the win, a local kid now $15,000 richer. He's also kind of a big deal, but I've never lent him a sleeping bag.

Saturday was party night! The official party was looking like it was going to be Montreal's answer to a night on the Jersey Shore, so we skipped that. Instead, we hit up an awesome little hole-in-the-wall bar called the Bulldozer with the Ride guys. I was still in Snowboarder Land, but we'd now travelled to its capital city: Boys Being Boys. I'll leave out the details, because I definitely heard some stories I would not repeat to my mother.

Really though, snowboarders I feel are an often misunderstood bunch of dudes (and sometimes gals, but not at the Shake Down). Once you get through the cool-guy veneer, you'll almost always find thoughtful, considerate, globally-, open-minded characters with a flair for Good Living.

Long drive home including a stop at Schwartz's (of course) and that makes a rad weekend. I'd like to thank my sponsors, @gerhardgross and @snowboardcanada for another amazing time. Peace.

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