Rail Jam Recap

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A Rockin' Rail Jam

The ninth annual Rail Jam put on by the Hoofers Ski n’ Snowboard Freestyle Team was a major success over on Observatory Hill this past Saturday. With a cheerful crowd and bumping music, both skiers and snowboarders outdid themselves.

Rail Jam 2018

Between the box, handrail and flat down rail, competitors could chose what they wanted to hit. After each run, competitors unclipped and raced back up to the top to try and get as many reps in as possible. For each turn, competitors attempted a trick which gained them points. Tyler Burandt, one of our own SNS Executive members, scored the skiing portions and said he judged based on “consistency, style, creativity and technicality.” The SNS President Paul Marik adds that “if a rider did one sick trick but lame tricks the rest of the time, they did not get as many points as someone who did consistent relatively good tricks throughout the whole time.”

The event started at 5 p.m. where competitors had the chance to come early for an hour of warm up and practice. Owen Tortora, another SNS Executive Member who competed said some competitors showed up right before their heat with their first touches to the rails during competition.

Each preliminary round was 20 minutes and the finals lasted 25. With one heat for skiing and one for snowboarding, those to rack in the most points by the end of the round advanced to the finals. As each round was coming to a close, adrenaline was pumping and the stakes were growing. Competitors exponentially sent it. Some competitors throwing down some major skills prompted others to match their intensity. The snowboarding heats in particular really grew in intensity as the rounds were finishing. Competitors were running up the hill to squeeze in as many last minute points they could scavenge.

Lion Costume

The high intensity in the air could have easily prompted wreckless activity, but thankfully there were no major injuries throughout the entire event. One of the last runs of the night in the skiing finals deserves a shout out for quite the spectacle it closed the show with. A ski competitor wearing a lion suit attempted a lip two onto the downrail, over rotated where his ski hit perpendicular to the ground. The ski went flying into the crowd and the other shot down the hill. Although he went down for a bit, no one was seriously injured.

Another honorable attempt was Tortora’s signature flat three, which is essentially a backflip purposely to the side. Tortora attempted his trick something like 10 times before he had to call it quits. He says if he had had a bigger jump and more space, he would have been able to land it like he did in Oregon. Although he was unable to come out with a landing, he definitely got the crowd hyped with his relentless attempts.

I chose some deserving competitors to recognize for their raw showcase at the Rail Jam. First being Liz, the one of two female competitors in the whole event. She was a spit fire on the snowboard. She threw down some solid tricks and kept herself consistent. Working in some bigger tricks in the finals round, she really kept up with the boys. Liz also never let down; after every run she literally ran up the hill past all the other guys to get in as much as she could. She kept this up the entire competition which I find extremely admirable. Although Liz was completely outnumbered, she held her ground. It takes so much confidence and courage to compete in something against your odds. Liz was so confident and raw; I was very inspired.

Upside down

Reporting on the Rail Jam would not be complete without mentioning young Sam Anderson. Throughout the preliminary rounds, Anderson was consistent and clean. He threw down some impressive tricks, but things did not get started until the finals round. Anderson really brought his all in his massive transfers, meaning transfering between two rails. Being the only one doing these, he really stuck out with the impressive technicalities brought to the table. Not to mention he landed every single one of them. He got exponentially better as the competition progressed, leaving the other competitors to eat his dust.

We cannot forget to mention the fantastic hosts of the show over the loudspeakers. Our own Jack White, head of the Freestyle Team for SNS, was the main speaker throughout the entire event. From Facetiming his mom to spitting every trick in the book during competition, White killed it on the mic. He literally talked the entirety of the event. There were a few spurts of silence or feature speakers, but the majority was done by White. Not to mention that he was the head honcho for organizing and planning the Rail Jam itself.

Overall, White did a fantastic job with the event. The music was fitting, the location was great and the time of the event could not have been more aligned with the snowfall. There was a great crowd turnout who was greatly invested in the event until the end. Sam Anderson took home the gold for snowboarders and Ben Zins for skiing. Much gratitude to the following sponsors for making the Rail Jam possible: Doc, Tyrol Basin, 686, Les Moise, Focus Board Shop and 1817.

Written by Journalist Director Genevieve Vahl