What was supposed to be the second annual Wildcat Challenge ended up a casual Saturday session at Vancouver’s nearby Mt. Seymour. It was the kind of day we look forward to all season’60 degrees and sunny and a barbecue grill smokin’ in the park. There was a DJ bumping beats and a handful of nice, soft jumps and rails to play on. The atmosphere was genuine Canada: chillin’ and grillin’, plenty of sports drinks, sun, and a big group of friends hiking around the park. It’s a scene that frankly, should make us Yanks a little envious. It was a snowboard party, eh.

But, there was some tension in the air. Game six of the NHL Playoffs went down here yesterday in conjunction with the Wildcat event. It was the Vancouver Canucks pitted against the lethal Detroit Redwings. As the day wore on at Seymour, the game-talk increased, and even a few left early to go catch the game. We know that Canadians love their hockey, but it was a surprise to see Shin Campos pacing around trying to figure out if he should hang out and ride, or go catch the second half…The Canucks eventually lost, but it didn’t slow the action on the hill. There were some heads: (and I’ll forget a bunch) Kale Stephens, Gaetun Chanut, Pete Anderson, Rob Dow, Paavo Tikkanen, Devun Walsh, J.F. Pelchat, Dionne Delaselle, Max Jenke, Darrell Trinidad, Nick Gregory, Jesse Fox, Sean Kearns, Alex Auchu, Spencer Forbes, Sean Johnson, Lukas Huffman, Jon Cartwright, Benji Ritchie, Brad Makepeace, Jon Roth, and scores of others. The action of the day began from a hip-through the trees hit. Later it moved to a flat rail on a hip, and finally to a big ol’ gap/hip thing. The actual riding was decent (Cartwright, but secondary to overall emphasis on fun. It was sweet. You missed it. If only the damn Canucks had won; maybe next year.