Left, 2009 Shakedown winner Sebastien Toutant interviews with Keir Dillon; right, Toutant and Hana Beaman celebrate their win on the podium. Click the photo for the 2009 Shakedown gallery.
The Ride Shakedown event, held every season in Quebec, has always been a standout in a world of me-too slopestyles and rail jams. Every year sees more and more marquee riders making the trek to Quebec, joining Shakedown regulars like Andrew Hardingham, Darrell Mathes and '09 winner Seb Toots. They come because this is a contest that challenges the riders' imaginations and keeps the crowd interested, even as temps drop well below what might pass for winter in Big Bear.
ESPN recently learned that the Shakedown was going from a one-off at Mont Saint-Sauveur to a series, so we contacted co-founder Patryck Bernier in Montreal. Bernier, 35, told us that the Shakedown crew has always wanted to expand their offerings and, despite the current economic climate, the time was right:
"Since the first edition [in '02], we've dreamed of exporting the concept and the experience to other communities. Every year we're working really hard to bring something new to the table... For example, the course orientation [is] sideways to provide a better spectator view. Or the rail obstacle (second obstacle of the course following the jump) that has always been different, pushing the boundries of sponsorship intergration without compromising performance. The set-up is kept secret until the day of the event."
Past Shakedowns have seen such unique, secret features as a rail with a fully-functional McDonalds restaurant frying away under plexiglass below. Another year saw a rail feature integrated into the awning and roof of a skate/snowboard shop on-hill. The province of Quebec has long produced some of Canada's burliest riders and it all makes sense once you attend a Ride Shakedown in person: more rabid snowboard fans you will not find anywhere.
Plus, you shouldn't make fun of poutine until you've tried it in its native habitat: a ski lodge in rural Quebec and washed down by a bottle of 8-percent Maudite beer.
As for the location of the new Shakedown stop, Bernier will only say that it will be "in the Northwest" and in the USA. (Plans are to be finalized in the next few weeks so watch this space for more news.) With such offerings as an online store, a Ride X Shakedown collabo board and a groundswell of support from riders sick of the same-ol' same-ol' circus, this expansion is welcome news sure to keep competition fresh.
"We want the Ride Shakedown to become the new generation of snowboard contest where riders' experience comes first and TV second," says Bernier. "Right now, it's jump-to-rail, but we're working to create new dynamic formats in other disciplines, adapting to markets and locations. We would like the Ride Shakedown to be present all year."
We do too.
Check the Ride Shakedown 2009 Photo Gallery.