Eric Freson here with an update from a recent rail jam that was put on @ the Western State College Campus.
So after tons of hard work by Freeride Ski Team member Sam Degenhard, we finally have a rail park on the Western State College campus. To celebrate this event, we decided to throw an inaugural rail jam. This rail jam would also be an excellent opportunity for the WSC Freeride Ski Team to show off the new rails which we will be managing, and raise some much needed capital for our endeavors.
The rail jam was also coinciding with the inagural opening of Western States new Student Center. This new student center has been a huge undertaking on the college campus, and to celebrate, WSC had invited over a thousand alumni to take part in the celebration. A busy night!
So with the help of WSC's Facilities, bobcats were used to push show into place in front of the new Student Union. The rails, which will be permanently placed in the ground on a hill under the football field, would be showcased in front of the College Center for the evening to allow for maximum traffic and exposure.
On a side note, the event was so successful that the school asked us to leave the rails in place where they stand until the snow melts. Hopefully come winter next year, we will be able to locate the rail park in a central position such as this again.
After many long days of meetings with the school, restoration work on the rails, planning, and prep (most of which was done by Sam), the night finally arrived and the show was on!
The event would take place from 6-9pm. It was done under the lights, and with bumpin sound.
Getting everything ready.
Two rails in. One more to go.
Competitors started to roll in around 5:45. The first half hour of the actual event was to also be used as practice. This would give judges a chance to check out the competition, as well as allow us to finish last minute set up stuff, take it money and waivers, organize competitors, allow participants to familiarize themselves with the rails, etc etc etc.
More and more people continued to show, and by the time it got dark, the lights were on, and we were packed to capacity. All told, we had 45 competitors. The group was split pretty evenly between skiers and boarders. Mostly men, with 5 total female competitors. A great showing. All students.
People began to session the rails. The setup was good, and allowed all rails to be hit at the same time. This meant there wasn't much lag time between "laps" for competitors. The quick pace meant good viewing, and spectators were showing up to. At any one time we had over 200 spectators watching the event.
A big shout out goes out to Conor Finney and Red Bull. During the event, he hooked up with several cases for competitors and spectators alike. We stuck a ton in the in ramp for competitors, and proceeded to throw the rest to spectators throughout the night. It was likely watching a piranha feeding frenzy when I would throw em out to the crowd. People truly go nuts for Red Bull.
People dropping in.
People dropping in.
Jib it up.
After the first round, we took a break to do some course work, and to allow the judges to make some cuts. The finals were cut down to the top 16 total competitors from all fields. The finals would take the next hour. We also brought out the Banshee Bungee, which had been donated to the team by the Colorado Freeskier. This allowed folks to get more speed, with Drew VG and others even disaster'ing the down rail.
People were stoked and the finals were going off. I wish I had some pictures of people using the bungee to throw up, but I was the lucky guy with the job of stretching it up the hill each time someone wanted to use it. These things are rad however, and will throw people into about any obstacle at upwards of 30mph. We even had to do a little crowd control to make sure no one got smacked in the face by the thing if someone let go if it early and it which blasting through the air.
There was a a huge super elimination round to decide 3rd place for men's skiers, as it was a tie, and the energy was peaked at this point. Drew was poised to take it. The bungee was being used for more speed, and people were stoked. Huge cheers, huge tricks.
Finally, a decision was made, and the comp was done. Prizes were awarded, and the prizes from the "ticketed giveaway" were, well, given away. People dispersed and we begun the job of breaking everything down. The process didn't take too long, and we were out partying a little after 10.
Overall, a great night, and a huge success for the WSC Freeride Ski Team, as well as the rail park.
A big thank you to Gabe and the Colorado Freeskier for the Banshee Bungee and judging support by Freeskier athlete Alex Albers. Athletes Eric Freson and Ciera Glenn also helped to plan, promote, and run the event. And athletes Drew Van Gorder, Mikey Curran, John O'Rourke all took part and did well.
A big THANK YOU to all of our sponsors who donated some awesome stuff that we were able to give away as contestant and raffle prizes.
Looking forward to seeing everyone out there again next year...