Thousands of snowboard fans gathered in St. Sauveur, Quebec, Canada over the weekend for the 11th annual Ride Shakedown Canada, one of the most coveted events in Canada.
The always-innovative Shakedown crew built a spectacular course, with an interactive light show and multiple rail options. Riders chose between two down-flat rails on either side of a flight of stairs, a balcony-style rail with closeout and consequences and a huge flat-down rail over luminescent cubes — the most spectacular option of the setup.
The format was similar to a slopestyle contest, where riders display their skills on a jump before hitting the rail garden, with each obstacle accounting for 50 percent of the final score.
The sun shined down on the main event Saturday, and the place was packed with kids anxious to watch their favorite riders in action. The starting list looked promising with talented riders such as Jason Dubois, Seth Hill, Maxence Parrot, Robby Balharry, Matts Kulisek, Antoine Truchon, Kim-Rune Hansen, Yuki Kadono, Didier Godbout, and of course, Seb Toots, whose career took off at Shakedown a few years back.
RIDE Shakedown Winners, L to R: Seth Hill (2nd), Seb Toutant (1st), Kim-Rune Hansen (3rd)
Toutant delivered and took home top honors once again, compiling the highest score of the night with tricks like a backside doublecork 1080 and front board 450 out on the balcony. He was the last rider to drop in for his third run and won the event in the final minutes of the contest, much to the enjoyment of the crowd.
“That’s the Ride Shakedown! Each year I stomp my first run, but always fall on the second. I kind of like to put some pressure on my family and keep the crowd waiting,” joked Toutant, the local superstar.
Oregon’s Seth Hill was the only American on the podium, earning his second-place spot with a frontside 1080 off the jump and a 50-50 backside 360 out on the balcony.
Norwegian Kim-Rune Hansen closed out the podium with a frontside 1080 and a backside lipslide on the kinked rail. This was the 23-year-old’s first appearance at the Ride Shakedown.
One of the most technical rail riders out there, Louif Paradis spends some quality time on the balcony. – Oli Croteau
“Over 25,000 people attended the event,” said event co-founder and producer Patryck Bernier. “It has become an absolute must in Canada. More and more people travel to be at the Ride Shakedown, which increases interest in our sport and in our athletes. It’s great news!”
Friday night saw all eyes directed on the rail set up as some of the world’s most technical rail killers hit the course for the Ride Shakedown Coors Light rail jam. Local boy Jeremy Cloutier, winner of the US Open night jam best trick and defending champion of both the 2011 Ride Shakedown Canada and USA rail jams, was definitely one to watch closely as the action unfolded. Winter X 2012 Real Snow Fan Favorite winner Louif Paradis was also one of the favorites.
Joe Mango, from Milford, Conn., completely destroyed all the features on the course, but it wasn’t enough to secure a spot on the podium. Quebec City’s finest, Frank April, came in third with some gnarly tricks, while Toutant climbed on the rail jam podium for the first time, coming in second place.
In the end it was teenage ripper Dillon Ojo who claimed first, taking his first Ride Shakedown title. The 16-year-old from St-Hubert, Quebec, stood on the podium completely dizzy after a hard fall in the last minutes of the jam. “I’ve been looking forward to this since I qualified for the Ride Shakedown rail jam,” said Ojo. “I’m still a little dazed because of my bail, but I feel pretty good!”
By Hugues Beauchamp