Words: David MacKinnon | Photos: Robin Van Gyn | Videos: Cole Jandrisch | Hastings Pro Park Photos: David MacKinnon
As this summer's COC sessions ended, the vibe in the West Coast's shred scene was thick with boarding stoke. We'd been treated to some of the funnest glacier riding in recent memory with a shake-up in the build at Camp, and between that and the great skating at new parks in Whistler and Ambleside, South Coast rippers were sitting on the highs of a few good months standing sideways. The window between July 9 and 11 had all of us talking about ways to stay in the dream; the days leading up to the weekend injected Vancouver with a shock of international skate culture, and rumours of a hell track being built in Oregon were stirring local pros and industry heads to point their adventure rigs for the border. At SBC, the concept for a road trip was born: Hastings to Mount Hood, linking the Vans Pro Skate Park Series to the Fifth Annual Drink Water Rat Race.
The Pro Skate Park Series is the evolution of the infamous Van Doren Invitational, and the latest in Hastings' storied string of world skate culture gatherings. Most invited riders arrived in Vancouver about a week before the contest, and in the evenings leading up to qualifiers small crowds would gather to watch them session local parks. Here at SBC, we blew off e-mails on more than one occasion, grabbing skates and six-packs and pushing off towards the heat. We'd been planning to jump on the road to Rat Race with a few days for some surf on the front end, but watching dudes like Alex Sorgente and Steven Pineiro shredding Leeside put our focus square on concrete. We decided that we couldn't miss the comp, and that the gnarliness we'd see at Hastings would be better inspiration for Rat Race than we'd find anywhere else that weekend.
Meanwhile, a strong contingent of Canadian heavies was rolling wheels toward the Rat Race, as excited to link up with the larger snowboard community as they were to see what madness the HCSC diggers had come up with. Veterans like Devun Walsh, Marie-France Roy, and Mikey Rencz were just as stoked as groms like Caleb Chomlack and Juliette Pelchatt, and the caravan making its way stateside was not only a who's who of the Canadian scene but also a posse that marked multiple generations of our nation's finest. All in all, the roster of Canucks descending on Mount Hood included over 20 names, among them more than a few contenders for the coveted rat traps and prize boards. Laughs were shared, fives were slapped, and iPhone gems were grammed as the shreds moved south, and for our part the SBC crew crushed kilometres before crushing miles, making up for time spent watching wicked skating with a red-eye push to Oregon. We got to our campsite in the dark, but early enough to burn a bit of wood before the rain. Fireside chat jumped from rumours of the rider list to expectations for the course, with occasional breaks for reliving moments from the Pro Park.
In the morning there was mist; the rain had settled into a wet air that disallowed us our first glimpses of Mount Hood. On a clear day, the 3, 400 m volcano commands the skies, drawing eyes from the area's surrounding towns, lakes, and trails. We worried slightly about the weather, but good faith kept spirits high as we drove toward Timberline Lodge.