The ASR trade show in San Diego typically marks the showing of the newest shred films for the season and this year is no different. The parade of premieres got underway on Thursday night with Mack Dawg’s Shakedown at Oakley’s Headquarters. Complete with the usual industry vets, pros, and bro’s, this year the scene started in the parking lot.
The party started out at sunset and it looked surreal. The Oakley complex sits high on its perch in Foothills Ranch, California. Its crazy—the entrance seems like a spaceship, almost every little piece of metal has the Oakley ‘O’ em-blazed on it, large spikes decorate the outside of the structure, and a skull and cross bones flag flies on top of the building. Under the orange-red glow of the setting sun it felt like something straight off of Mars.
But, scanning around the parking lot the In-And-Out truck serving up fresh double-doubles kept the thing grounded. Archie’s Ice Cream truck was there, too, complete with young girls handing out all the big-sticks and ice-cream you wanted.
After hanging out outside for a few hours, Oakley opened its doors at 9. Gus Buckner’s band played inside, the bar opened, and TWS’s own John Stouffer was hosting an award-style photo shoot in the corner. With only enough time to hit the bathrooms, scan the surroundings, and grab a beverage it was time to roll inside the private theater.
The place was jam packed. People were everywhere. It was standing room only, and even the stairs were filling up fast. Riders like JP Walker, Scotty Arnold, Roberta Rodger, Gretchen Bleiler, Travis Rice, Jeremy Jones, Shaun White, and so many more were scrambling for seats. Large pink blow-up pigs tagged with Burton’s UNINC logo and beachballs were getting swatted around the theater in anticipation.
Mack Dawg finally took the mike, thanking his sponsors and Sean Kearns for making Shakedown possible. The lights dropped. The first frame of the film was a quote from Mack Dawg himself saying something to the effect of (sorry to paraphrase):What is expected from a pro snowboarder in this day in age is unhuman and I have the utmost respect for this crew and its efforts. What followed was a crash scene so horrific it was easy to understand what Dawger was alluding to.
These guys are risking their necks, literally, every time they go out and film. The 20, 30, or even 40 minutes that the fans get to see in each movie every season is miniscule compared to the efforts that go into it. Every year the riders step it up—adding style, difficulty, and momentum into each snowseason. The injury’s are getting bigger every year. Shakedown highlighted the realities of the riders efforts, showing not only the huge tricks but a fraction of the even larger injuries. JP Walker comes up from a crash, bloody, with a broken jaw and all of his teeth missing. While, Kale Stephens is shown hamming it up in the hospital in spite of the fact that he has just ripped off his nose in a sled accident. Amid the cheers and shouts for each progressive trick on the snow, the crowd also quieted and absorbed the seriousness of these scenes.
As for the riding—from rails in Bear Mountain’s Junkyard, to backcountry booters in Senora Pass, along with the mainstays of Mt. Hood Meadows and Mammoth, Shakedown covers the progression. The soundtrack opened and closed with The Rolling Stones, and flowed smoothly in-between while riders Walker, Chris Brown, Jones, Kale Stephens, TJ Schnieder, Heikka Sorsa, Lucas Huffman, Shaun White, Mikey LeBlanc, Tadashi Fuse, and Jon Kooley hit the snow.
As the crowd filtered out the theater doors there was a prevailing sense of excitment in the air. Another season of snow is lurking just around the corner. A big thanks to everyone at Oakley, TransWorld SNOWboarding, In-and-Out, Archie’s ice-cream, and other sponsors of the event.