Words and Photos by Jeff Hawe
Heavy snowfall and gusting wind did nothing to deter the riders competing in the second annual Red Bull Third Shift competition at Summit at Snoqualmie on February 16, 2012, nor did it dissuade the crowd, who was unphased by the foul elements. If you could find a more exciting event to be part of on a blustery February night in the mountains of Washington, we’ll give you a dollar (not really) .
The contest stage was intimidating to say the least. Even seasoned pro and the evening’s champ Austen Sweeten was feeling the pressure, while dropping into the chain link roof ride. â€œThat was scary, I have not felt that afraid on my board in quite a while,â€ he said. He went on to go the biggest off the roof of anyone, clearing a healthy portion of the crowd and giving a bold photographer a heavy dousing of snow.
The roof ride was a highlight of the Third Shift feature, giving the rowdy bar goers underneath a unique perspective of the action while enjoying cocktails and hot dance tracks, and was only a part of the legit multi-feature set-up crafted by Joe Pope and his crew of hard working shredders. The flat deck railing to close out was a force to be reckoned with. It broke a snowboard in half, snapped ski bindings and sent many competitors flailing to the snow below. Coming off early into the cross bar was a bad option. The air to wall ride was a real crowd-pleaser — as riders slammed across the windowâ€™s fencing spectators would reflexively jump back, flinching like at a successful 3D thrill ride movie.
Speaking of spectators, the Third Shift would have been nothing more than a jam format contest in a blizzard without them.Sure a little Red Bull never hurts to get a crowd energetic, but their enthusiasm kept the scene electric. Their hands were in the air and cheering wildly at the hint of anything-impressive going down. Hard crashes, airs off the roof and cleanly executed big tricks sent a spike of exhilaration through the mass of snow caked patrons. A shout out is due for everyone who faced the conditions and came out to take in a night of big action.
Last but not least in the equation was the riding. These kids were stepping their game up for the fifteen hundred dollar first place jackpot in each category. (ED: This talked about the skiers, but I cut it out cause it’s Yobeat and we don’t care.) Austen Sweeten let his experience show with a hefty bag of tricks in which he pulled from all night long. His riding was smooth and consistent. Second place finisher Stefan Krumm was not afraid to unstrap and send it one footed or front flips on and off the roof. Another name that seemed to be on the MCâ€™s lips all night was Aaron Cardwell, the master of â€œtall guy syleâ€ was a silent dark horse, who stylishly landed in third place.
There you have it. The second annual Red Bull Third Shift is wrapped up. If you missed it you better note it on your calendar next year, for it just might be the first year with good weather! Big thanks for Red Bull, Summit Snoqualmie, Oakley and all the dedicated hard working souls who helped make this happen.