By 2010 the Ride Shakedown had outgrown its Canadian roots and became a multi-stop action sports circus. The American debut was held at Summit at Snoqualmie, a hill known for park, night riding and being close to downtown Seattle. My job was simple enough; drive to Snoqualmie and cover two days of snowboard action.Â
A day late and with no where to stay I parked illegally and asked for the media center. And what a media center. A bag of chap-stick, bandanas and drink tickets awaited me. I also received a billboard to hang around my neck and a flyer allowing my car to remain where it was. With the monstrous media pass weighing me down I headed over to a contest already being live streamed and Tweeted. So much for Yobeat breaking the news.
After running into some of my favorite people I found a fully stocked bar in an office, a VIP Budweiser tent and a few flask wielding friends. After a drink or two I took off around the mountain with Ashbury’s Lance Hakker, only letting up to grab a beer and gawk at the Finals.Â
Objective journalism demands the truth, and the truth is the jump sucked, the weather was spotty and the riders weren’t feeling it. Some Chilean dude hucked double flips, Megan Whiteside, Megan Ginter and Hana Beaman landed stuff and Yale Cousino threw a backside 1260 over a sketchy and slow jump–but whatever, you already know that.Â
Â A drive back to Seattle that included smooth talking my way out of a 90 mph speeding ticket ended in Capital Hill. Seattle’s favorite local for the gay community. Once there I ate Dick’s with Lance Hakker and Northwest super Rep Ryan Garvie. As we choked down Seattle’s best burger we were subject to a blitzkrieg by The Brides of March. Hundreds of obese and hairy men and woman, styled as brides, showed up to Dick’s burgers alongside maybe one or two cute cougars. After enjoying our Dick’s we headed to the Queen City Yacht Club to park our cars and head to the after party.Â
Seattle’s new Hard Rock Cafe is the worst bar in town. The lights are too bright. The bartenders are piss stained metaphors of 80’s Glam Rock gone sour; slow, retarded and ugly. People got a bit tipsy, but the barkeepers took too long to get anyone hammered. I even heard, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” at closing, how truly lame. Pissed off but ready for more I headed to an all night dance club with filmer Gary McCloud. We danced the night away in a suspect style, and as we left the bartender acted confused, apparently alcohol could legally be served in thirty more minutes.Â
I woke up to Pat Bridges blaring an acoustic rendition of one of Lady GaGa’s chart toppers somewhere in a high-rise hotel room. At this point the story had obviously taken off in a new direction. The contest had become worthless, but a behind the scenes look into Seattle’s first Shakedown had become interesting, at least to me.Â
Breakfast with Jonah Owen, Forest Bailey, Gary and Tawnya Schultz was amazing. The following skate session/boardwalk boogie was a blast. Those are good people, willing to laugh when park rangers cuff you, or pigeons shit in your food.Â
Around noon my phone exploded. Apparently some bar was the place to be. An hour later, and after a tour of east Seattle we found the yacht club again. I dropped the team off at their hotel and spent the next hour searching for this West Seattle hotspot. At this point I just wanted to stop in, say hi, and head home. Seattle had different plans.Â
This secret location was dangerous. Apparently Capita owner Blue Montgomery had been coming here for ten years, and the rest of Seattle’s industry folk had followed suit. Between my peers, the longshoremen and the bar tenders the place was practically packed. The drinks came at light speed and a mash up of hip-hop and hard rock blared for hours. Ten minutes into this adventure I felt the shots and cocktails K2’s Sean Tedore had shoveled into my gut pumping into my brain and I gave up any hope of seeing home that day. The dancing and drinking would last for hours.Â
Seattle had kidnapped Portland. Mike LeBlanc, Chris Prosser and I had been tricked into coming to this watering hole on a Sunday morning. We left very drunk, hours later. After passing out on Tedore’s floor and surviving a dog attack or two Tedore had us back in the bars of Seattle’s hip Capital Hill district. There we met up with Kevin Winkle, K2 Team Manger, and his darling girlfriend. Kevin was mad that we had used his credit card to purchase $40 worth of pizza a few hours before, but hopefully he sees the humor in it now.Â
Sometime after last call we ended up at IHOP. Too much food was ordered, too many friends had been lost to airplanes or much needed sleep. But not us, we were still up, still playing with our food, and finally, tricking Prosser into paying for all of it. Sometime around 4 AM Sean tucked us in. We all agreed the Shakedown had been a good time.Â
That morning I found my car parked next to a bus stop. I had apparently left my windows down. My snowboard gear, backpack and ipod were undisturbed, as was the garbage that I collect in my mom’s old Toyota wagon. Seattle had been good to me, and all other visitors. Can’t wait for next year.