Shredding on campus slopes

Shredding on campus slopes

Jam-style competition brings skiers and snowboarders together on a freestyle course complete with rails and shaved-ice snow

Riders got some preseason practice for the snow season on 12 tons of snow cone ice. The seventh annual Rail Jam, hosted by Epic Adventures, brought in crowds of 300 plus.

The event had a disc jockey blaring loud music and some sponsors had their own tents, selling discounted merchandise and giving out free stickers.

The categories for competitors were men and women, professionals and amateurs. Competitors were judged on their difficulty, style and consistency, according to Dustin Semb, recreation specialist and coordinator of the event.

“To the best of our knowledge it’s the biggest open invite on campus in the nation,” said Semb.

“It’s open invite, so anybody can come ride. We don’t keep anyone out. We focus on being open for everyone,” said Semb.

Semb joked the event had an Olympian attend one year, although not from Mt. Olympus.

Participant Kyler Stuart drove up from Moscow, Idaho, and was anticipating and talking about the event for the past two weeks.

The Rail Jam event offers some of the best features in the northwest. All of the features are custom built in the EWU fabrication shop, according to Semb.

The 20-foot drop-in ramp gave riders enough speed to get in the features

Freshman Brian Kinder helped out at the event and said, “It’s a new experience. I love snowboarding and I work for Epic.”

According to Semb, typically 10 percent of the participants are girls and half of the competitors are potential Eastern students who are currently in high school.

Whitney Reichold of Sandpoint High School said, “I’ve been coming the past three years, but this is my first year competing.”

Cierra Sande, a junior at University High School, came with her friends and said, “We just like to ski, thought it’d be fun to try the rails. We’re just trying to get girls to come and get a preseason shred.”

Anyone could compete or ride. It was a go-when-you-go, jam style event. A competition in the loosest of terms, according to Semb.

“It’s a real fun contest, I love it. You get to meet all your friends that you haven’t seen since winter. I love the camaraderie and they put on a good contest. It’s really unique how they bring in 12 tons of snow,” said Curtis Shattuck, The SHOP representative, a sponsor of the event.

There were over 20 sponsors for the event, with local ski resorts giving discounted tickets and free gear. According to Semb, in the past there were $30,000 worth of free skis, snowboards, goggles and clothing for spectators, participants, and winners of each category.

The event has the only “see box dance floor,” it is four feet wide and is a hybrid of an angled box and a dance floor. According to Semb, it is monstrous.

Another feature was the 36-foot battleship box with a wide rail made of plastic and metal. “For beginners it makes it really easy because it offers change-ups and is easy to do various tricks while on the box,” said Semb.

Ryan Hanley of Coeur d’Alene said, “This is my first time going. I heard it was fun and it’s good for preseason riding. We’ll probably come again.”