Words: Pat Bridges
The big air finals of the 2011 Ride Shakedown stunt show at the Summit at Snoqualmie finally promised on its goal of translating the legendary qualities of its Canadian pedigree to the lower 48.
With the sun shining and peak spring temps on tap the 10 riders who qualified for the jam format finals proved what a truly international affair this contest has become. Riders from America, Canada, New Zealand and Japan were on the bill as this event marked the Shakedowns debut on the TTR tour.
What makes the Shakedown truly unique is its innovative format, which has the finalists jamming for an hour and a half. In that time each rider has 3 judged runs which are of their own choosing. Another facet of this format is the inclusion of a clause that states that each rider must call their tricks on their judged runs and forgo repeating any tricks when being scored. This twist creates a show that is less mundane than the traditional three run system employed by other top tier contest.
This place went to Tyler Flanagan who has been absent from the international big air/slopestyle circuit since the 2011 X-Games slopestyle. Tyler relied on a variety of double corks to secure his podium spot. Unfortunately his topping out at 1080 degrees on each judged run kept him from finishing higher up the podium.
Fourteen-year-old Japanese rookie Yuki Kadono is a name unfamiliar to North America yet that is about to change. With his country enveloped in tragedy Yuki persevered and pulled a 1260 in the finals to make his big air mark. In consideration of his countrymen Yuki decided to donate half of his $8,000.00 second place prize to relief efforts in Japan.
For the second year in a row first place in the Summit At Snoqualmie Ride Shakedown Big Air was well earned by journeyman Matts Kulesik. Matts combined a FS 1260 with switch 50-50 on the quad kink to distinguish himself from the world class field. This result continues Matts 2011 Shakedown streak as he earned the first Shakedown Europe title a week earlier. Now Matts has a 2 week break before he arrives at Mt. Saint Sauveur, Quebec to try to make it three in a row and a clean sweep of the 2011 Shakedown series.