St. Johns’ Battle Royale: Who Will be Crowned Newfoundland’s Top Dog

2019 started as a slow winter in America. Luckily, there was plenty of snow on a spot-scarce island only a few thousand miles away.

St. Johns’ Battle Royale: Who Will be Crowned Newfoundland’s Top Dog

2019 started as a slow winter in America. Luckily, there was plenty of snow on a spot-scarce island only a few thousand miles away.

April 26, 2021
Words By Jon Stark Issue THREE
photo by T-Bird

The stage was set millions of years ago when geologic plates smashed into one another below the Atlantic. Rocks grew from the ocean floor, as volcanic activity left a protruding isle off the coast of Eastern Canada. Fast forward to January when a slew of snowboard crews descended upon the spot-scarce island, desperate for snow at the beginning of a slow winter. Little did they know, there wasn’t room for all of them...

Times got tough as spots were checked off left and right, but the situation quickly escalated when the weather turned for the worse. Then the unthinkable happened. Mother Nature flashed her cold grin, bringing a once-in-a-lifetime storm to town that swirled like a mixed cocktail in an icy shaker. With airports shut down and food becoming scarce, crews were yet unaware that the only way off the island was to prove worthiness to the snowboard gods through a series of tests in strength, patience, mental function, and pain tolerance. The one to best adapt to this strenuous situation would be crowned Newfoundland’s Top Dog. The thing about this game of Survivor was that no one knew they were playing. Like Jim Carrey in The Truman Show, contestants would be guided only by their own inclination to either make the best of the situation, or complain while counting the seconds.

Nick Erickson

Nick kept quiet, attacking when the rest of the crew let their guard down. He allowed his actions to speak for him. Things were looking up for the young kid. His Google Earth skills secured him a good position, and the residual benefits were enjoyed by Parker and Mark. Camaraderie was high indeed, but something had to give. Word on the street was that Nick was sharing information with rival crews. How he kept this a secret and avoided mutiny might go back to unbelievable slyness. The silent killer struck again, but was it enough?

Mark Wilson

Mark was actually the reason the K2 crew came to this dreaded island, fueled by a ticking clock otherwise known as a Real Snow deadline. Upon arrival, he ran into problems, and city workers seemed militant in stopping him. Displaying incredible talent, they ultimately marveled at the beauty of his board control and let him slide. Mark’s drink of choice was wine, believing antioxidants would harden his immune system. This proved a wise strategy, as sickness was defeated and alcohol numbed the pain of each extra day on the island. Before long, other crews turned to this technique, and it seemed everyone was stocking up on bottles of cheap Cab and ordering glasses of mediocre Merlot from the hotel bar at any hour.

Reid Smith

Sometimes a gargantuan smile isn’t enough to fool the other contenders. Reid’s moderate piano skills played well for him but weren’t enough. While Reid’s time in Newfoundland no doubt hardened the boy, ultimately, he didn’t make it. Rumors began to circulate quickly. Some believe a benign tip-off from Dustbox members got him out unscathed, while others made claims that T. Bird traded him into the black market in order to leave. While early reports had Joe Sexton, a veteran of the game, praising Reid for his battle on the gap-to-flat, some say he was the one who put in a call to sabotage the boy for not going through the kink.

Jed Anderson

Official reports of Jed’s whereabouts were inconclusive and misaligned. One claimed he flagged down an old whaling captain headed north while spot-searching the marina. Another posited that he was seen hanging off the back of a Sobeys grocery truck headed west. Whether intel was correct is beside the point. Jed knew something was up. Maybe he was the only one to see outside this sick joke. He knew he wouldn’t win, but he was going to make it out alive. My guess is that much like those whalers, he got his quota and being stuck on an island with four dudes in an apocalyptic snowstorm didn’t sound appealing. Perhaps it was a smart move; it was certainly the safe one. When the storm rolled in the next morning, Jed had vanished into the thick marine layer that surrounded The Rock.

Parker Szumowski

Parker, a unique human being who seemed completely unfazed at the proposition of staying for 17 weeks, not only outlasted the others, but is apparently still on the island, scoping spots for the approaching winter. Parker, Parker, Parker, how did you do it? Outlasting the others without losing your mind. Oh right, you love to snowboard, you like drinking, and you like cooking—all readily available for your state of emergency stay–and then some. We have a winnnnner.

An analysis of Parker’s tactics:

His time in the Lot Brigade provided Parker with the tools needed to withstand days on end of cold weather, heavy drinking, and hard living. It is these days in Alaska that honed his ability to outlast others. In fact, the times when Parker appeared to lose his mind may have been an act to push others to lower their guard. Excessive drinking and a high tolerance, an ability to procure and provide rations for the crew each night, and a deep-seeded desire to ride his snowboard allowed Parker to not only function but thrive. Is it me, or this ramen delicious?

Photo by Marc O'Malley

On the 28th day, the Battle Royale at St. Johns had come to an end. Most people were accounted for—loosely. What’s important is that everyone had a good time. That’s actually a lie. But it’s about the journey, not the destination. Except, if you asked anyone other than Parker, they would have tossed the journey in a snowbank * ACTUAL EVENTS MAY HAVE VARIED

While Seamus is driving the K2 dudes around town trying to find Parker weed, let’s take this pause in action to check in and see how Old Man Bird, Cranky Durham and the rest of the Ride dudes are faring across town.

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