Keep The Stoke Alive: The Apex Mountain CHALLENG
Downhill Skating in British Columbia often has an element of racing to the community, especially thanks the strong roots of Coast Longboarding and many of the downhill brands that come from the region and regularly enjoy it’s hills. Stuck in the mountains of BC lay a number of fruitful regions for endless downhill and the Okanagan is definitely one of those areas. Further from centralized Vancouver and the more populated skate community of a larger city, their local skating is often smaller groups of friends and forging into the hills with less traffic and more open roads, and often more open attitudes to skateboarding down them.
Manu Duhamel has been skating the region with his friends and extended Coast family and helping volunteer at events all over regularly. This year, the area had a lack of events for a variety of reasons and Manu stepped up withe the support of volunteers to help deliver a new, first year race. Manu, like many others other there bringing together events for the community, knows the value of smaller, regional (local) events to help bring skaters together to get to skate and race in a safe environment while building their skills and taking a bunch of runs.
Find out more about the Apex Mountain Challeng that Manu and friends hosted this summer and start thinking about how you can get out to or start host local event in your area!
It was the end of July and the only thing on my mind was an upcoming longboard race in Naramata, BC. Unfortunately it was postponed and it was looking like there was going to be a bit of a dry spell for skating in the Okanagan. Another local friend, Jesse Pollock had a crew together for the postponed race so I decided to make one myself. I had five days to prepare and organize the event, this meant the community needed to come together and get it all finished for a shot at hosting return events at the location.
During the winter season I had an opportunity to work at Apex Mountain Resort, every time I would drive up the hill I would envision the lines I could take once the snow retreated in the spring.
Lady luck herself was on our side and the start of the melt brought forth a riders paradise. As the warm season started to creep into the valley, an intense track with varying pavement and terrain started to emerge. The hill is perfect for any level of rider looking to improve his abilities. Everyone wants to skate and enjoy and for us that means lots of runs and skating close with friends.
10 riders were welcomed into the competition, all of which brought many different skills and abilities that led to the fierce competition that everyone felt. The only way that this race could have taken place and gone as smooth as it did would be because of all the amazing volunteers. The event really came together with the help of everyone involved. I wish that they could all be here while I sit down and write this so that they could also share their experience and feelings about the event – thank you for the help and fun! But for now I can only speak from my own experience.
The event really proved the passion that skaters have here in the Okanagan valley, they all came together and created an event that we hope will happen next year. Skating together and racing in a safe environment is where we really get to let go and have the most fun.
It’s also extremely important to host these smaller community based events so that other riders can get a chance to show off the roads that they love and share them with their friends and teammates from all walks of life and skill levels. Most of the riders who came out to the Apex Mountain Challeng were not your typically “pro” skater, the best part about the race was watching local riders try their best and not feel defeated by large skill level gaps that are sometimes present in bigger events. The energy that was there was a different kind, it was a bunch of skaters having fun and not worrying about anything else in the world as much as it was competing for the podium. We all definitely shared in the win.
Nevertheless, there were podiums and the winner’s of the race were 1st Jayden Flasch 2nd Jesse Pollock 3rd Brent Kenney. Thanks for the great weekend and the endless stoke everyone!
*Thanks to locals Old Child, Preserved Light and Iian Turpin for photos.