Red Bull Donner Downhill Has Been Cancelled
Last year, Red Bull released footage from Donner Pass featuring downhill skateboarding and the likes of Sector 9 and the team. Fast forward and we got the announcement that Red Bull, in the USA, was hosting a pro-style downhill race in California. For a number of months, many downhill race enthusiasts and industry egg heads have been stoked or at the very least intrigued by the clear and specific entry of Red Bull into mix.
While Red Bull has successful partnered with other downhill skateboard events, like KnK Longboard Camp and the Red Bull No Paws Down Race, in North America and USA in particular, we haven’t seen Red Bull make DH Racing a singular priority for some time. We got a taste of some Red Bull at the Steep Crest in SF, but not a full blown event just for DH.
Well, it’s official, their attempt at a skateboard specific downhill race on the level of International Downhill Federation or Maryhill etc. racing, has no actual wings and has come to an end, or at least a significant and undefined halt. Red Bull Donner Downhill is Cancelled.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, this event scheduled for Saturday, September 10 will no longer take place. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope to have a competitive downhill skate event in the future.
While there are a number of rumours flying around and trolls all over the web, all anyone really knows is that it is cancelled.. which is why there are rumours and trolls. Here’s the top rumours we have heard and what we think about them: (in no particulcar order)
Rumour 1: Red Bull can’t do the race because Sector 9 got sold by Billabong.
What we know: This is completely untrue. Not only was Sector 9 not actually part of the event or it’s organization, the sale of the brand to Bravo [more details here] has nothing to do with the cancellation of the event. Source: Louis Pilloni
Rumour 2: Red Bull wasn’t really going to get into racing, just trolling us.
What we know: Clearly you need to put your tinfoil hat back on. Red Bull is a major (MAJOR) corporate brand. Reportedly worth $7.9 Billion, Red Bull recently invested in GoPro. Trolling downhill is not in their wheelhouse. This was putting a flag in the ground and trying to get back into downhill. If anything, the event itself was trolling, but not in the web forum sense, in the sense that they wanted to do “market research” aka trolling for information. Red Bull has had great success in Europe with the KnK Longboard Camp for example, and has been involved in Downhill Skateboarding in the USA going all the way back to 2000s and events like Skid Road in Seattle [with legends like Chris Chaput, Gary Hardwick, Lee Danise, and Jimmy Flindt]. More recently in the USA, Red Bull invited “longboarders” to the SF Steep Crest event. Racing simply is not cheap, not easily (or cheaply) televised and requires shutting down roads, having permits and insurance and taking on a lot of liability. It simply was not worth Red Bull’s time to troll… they might have blown it sure, but they didn’t just troll Downhill.
Rumour 3: Boycott Red Bull.
What we know: Okay, you’re just being kinda weak. Yes, if you were registered to race and made travel plans or worse yet were one of the small percentage of skaters to plan in advance and actually spend money on travel already… well, this sucks for sure. Now, we have been told that Red Bull will reimburse travel expenses if receipts are provided, but it doesn’t change the hassle and the bummer of course. That all being said… lets not burn bridges. For every Facebook post I have read that says fuck Red Bull, way to blow it, lost a customer, etc, I actually get a bit upset. I could chose any number of cliche things to say.. don’t burn bridges, don’t throw the baby out with the bath water, take the high ground, but skaters are going to do what they do and say what they say, far be it from me to be able to stop them.
Downhill skateboarding has been a double edge sword for as long as I have been involved. On the one side, some skaters want more events, more professional racing, larger payouts, more exposure and less BS. On the other side, some want less rules, less waiting, less effort and less expense to actually seeing events happen and actually getting to skate. Ultimately, Red Bull did not want to see this event cancelled. Ultimately, Red Bull has incurred lots of expense. Ultimately, Red Bull took on risk to even try and host the race and is now still at risk with skaters pissed it has been cancelled. If you care about downhill racing and hope to see outside sponsors like Red Bull help bring more racing, events and opportunity to downhill skateboarding [Olympics?] then you can’t go and run around talking shit about Red Bull the moment something blows up. No one said “Fuck Mike Girard” when Burke got cancelled… why fuck Red Bull? Because they’re not a skater you know from the community? Because it’s an evil corporation? No, because it’s nameless and faceless and you’re a loud mouth who gets their rocks off talking shit on the internet.
While we may never know the truth about Donner Downhill, I can assure you it was not cancelled maliciously or with the intention of causing problems for anyone.
Straight up, stop talking shit. KnK Longboard Camp Red Bull No Paws Down or even the past Feel The Wheel events were awesome. If we want to get more support and more pro level events, like many of us talk about online, then you don’t top burning one of the only major company making an effort to bring downhill opportunity. I think I mentioned at the beginning, Red Bull just bought into Go Pro – We might have some real opportunity with Red Bull and Go Pro, if we don’t scare them away. Permitting downhill skateboarding on closed roads in America is hard work, loads of liability, not cheap and sometimes just doesn’t go the way you want it. We need to give Red Bull the chance to explain and re-launch the event (or a different event) and make good on it. While we may never know the truth about Donner Downhill, I can assure you it was not cancelled maliciously or with the intention of causing problems for anyone.
From my emails, I was left with the impression that they were sorry and they would be trying again soon.
Rumour 4: Bush cancelled Donner.
What we know: This is completely possible. Jackson (Jacko Gnarsteez) Shepiera has been around for a lot of years and has a lot of inside information. He recently posted to his Facebook that Bush was responsible for cancelling Donner Downhill and we have it under good authority that he might be on to something. So if you can’t just accept that shit happens and not be a giant baby about it, potentially ruining future opportunity, well… better pull that tinfoil hat on and jump in on Jacko’s feed… personally I heard it was Chemtrails, but we have word that Mark Golter is saying [as always] it’s because the Earth is flat… you be the judge here:
Rumour 4: Red Bull figured out The Toronto Board Meeting was happening the same weekend and just did the right thing.
What we know: The Toronto Board Meeting has been happening with 1000 of your closest friends for 14 years. Not only is it one of the most fun events of the year, it is actually rather diverse and includes Garage Skating, a skate “Critical Mass” through Toronto, Skate Jams, Skate Movie Premiers and more. Not only that, a lot of Board Meeting is un-permitted and merely about asking for forgiveness because Skateboarding is not a crime. So you get an epic weekend of skating and you get to do hood rat shit with your friends.
Whatever your take on the Red Bull Donner Downhill, it is actually cancelled and you should not show up or you will be bummed. There are however lots of other things happening that weekend. Be sure to check out the 14th Annual Toronto Board Meeting or one of the many outlaw events brewing regionally!