Photo: Jeff Hawe

Heavy Snow Doesn’t Deter Athletes and Fans From Clocking Into Red Bull Third Shift
Fellow Riders and Skiers Name Local Snowboarder and Skier Champions

Words: Nicholas Aikins

Snoqualmie Pass, WA – February 18, 2012 –  As the snow gods dumped feet of powder on the park at Summit Central, skiers and snowboarders faced off in a open format competition at the first ever Red Bull Third Shift event on Saturday night.  Just after sunset as the snow continued to pour, crowds gathered to watch the event, which included rails, jumps and other features built into a recently erected factory facade unlike anything the snow sports industry has seen before.

Red Bull Third Shift is the brainchild of a partnership between The Summit and Red Bull with support from Oakley.  Meant to celebrate The Summit’s notorious crew of night riders, Red Bull Third Shift pays homage to those who dedicate themselves to the mountain at all hours, perfecting their skills well into the night.  The competition's carefully lit, locally constructed scenario was the focal point of activity at The Summit this weekend, with entrants and viewers arriving from across the Northwest and beyond.  Over thirty competitors, as young as 14, battled it out in a casual, yet heated event, in which participants chose the ultimate winners from among their peers.

With his skills on the elbow rail and stand out wall rides, Joey Van Der Meer of Portland, OR, took home first prize for the skiers.  When asked about the features, Van Der Meer remarked, "I've never seen something like this set-up.  The elbow bar was super sick – and that balcony ledge – that thing is pretty crazy. A lot of it is super technical, especially the lips."  And what did he do to deserve the victory?  "I guess it was more just consistency.  I was trying to get on that note, and I also kind of distanced myself with creativity.  I can't be any more happy with the results.  I'm stoked," said Van Der Meer as he grinned and held his toolbox trophy.

Despite busting a binding on his board, Stefan Krumb from Woodinville, WA, used his talents and a borrowed snowboard from his girlfriend to end up on top of the podium for the snowboarders.  He added, "At the beginning, I was a little bit bummed out that the jump wouldn't work, but we just made the rail thing happen.  Everyone ended up throwing down, and in the end I forgot about the jump because it was so much fun."  He mentioned Red Bull Third Shift was different than the competitions he has seen before, saying, "We got a powder rail jam!  And the set-up, I was watching it get built all week and it was blowing my mind that The Summit was going to do something like this.  Having it happen here at our home mountain is just the coolest thing ever."

Surprisingly, one factor that caught everyone off guard was the amount of snowfall during the hours that surrounded the event.  Van Der Meer even requested "less snow," for next year, which is admittedly something he's never asked for before.  A closure of I-90 nearly prevented spectators from reaching The Summit, but the brave prevailed.  As the athletes mentioned, no one was allowed to jump the highly anticipated kicker – an 80ft gap jump over a crowd of spectators in a carefully crafted ice bar – built right into the course itself.  The scene in the 21+ ice bar, accessible only via skis or snowboard, was packed and full of cocktails and spirited onlookers who danced like mad to dubstep and 90s mixes while taking in the scenery.

After a brief awards ceremony near 9:00 PM, invigorated athletes and spectators exited the event site wet and cold as the snow continued to fall.  Smiles were all around as the crowds skied, snowboarded and stumbled back down the hill towards Summit Central's lodges.