Rail Jam doesn’t disappoint

By Whitney O’Bannon, Staff Writer

Go big or go home.

This seemed to be the theme of the annual Rail Jam event that took place on the Union patio Wednesday.

When one participant would complete an amazing trick, the next person to drop in did something bigger. and better.

“It’s just fun to bring out your tricks because everybody is there to watch,” said snowboarder Jordan Brewer.

The audience of hundreds of students and faculty who came out to watch the four-hour show was enough incentive for boarders and skiers to repeatedly and freely throw themselves off rails and boxes.

The Jam is a yearly event where everyone on campus can see a passion that is normally only released on the top of the mountains. Even people who are not in the snow-sports scene had an opportunity to watch competitors put their fear aside and attempt the craziest stunts.

“(Rail Jam) is so sweet,” said skier Scott Cardoza. “There’s so many people watching too, which means that there are other people who aren’t in it, who are equally as stoked on it.”

Rails are some of the most dangerous and complex tricks to perform in snowboarding and skiing, so all participants were required to wear helmets. Rails can take years to master, especially when it comes to the tricks that were performed yesterday.

“Not everyone can do it,” said Madison Blackley, the winner of the women’s snowboarding portion. “It’s pretty cool to make it to the end of the rail and feel like you accomplished something.”

Skiing on rails is even tougher, but the Campus Rail Jam Tour’s stop in Salt Lake City had the most skiers compete out of any other city.

“It’s something different, skiers on rails,” said skier Molly Ellowitz. “Rails are just fun and you can do a lot of tricks.”

Both women and men had a great showing.

The talent overlapped in that the female participants even outdid some of the male riders and skiers. In the finals, both male and female contenders dropped in at the same time.

Trent Sanders finished first in the men’s snowboarding, while Jeff Keysor took first in men’s skiing. Utah had so many great snowboarders that five of them were invited to the tour finals.

The long competition required boarders and skiers to ride 10 to 20 times each, which meant the finalists had hit a lot of rails by the end of the day.

“The first heat I did pretty well and then I just exhausted myself,” said Catherine Warchau, who took first in the skiing competition. “Coming into the next heat and to finals, it was pretty difficult to get the energy back.”

The fatigue did not hold her back from giving every rail her all and eventually coming out on top.

All contenders who placed are now invited to compete in the Campus Rail Jam Tour’s finals in Portland, Ore.

After seeing riders rack themselves on rail after rail, many might not understand why people like snowboarding or skiing. But some of the participants from the Jam would gladly bleed a little or break a few bones along the way if that meant they could still get up and ride again.

“It’s a love and a passion, better than anything else,” said Brewer, who has been boarding for 11 years.

“There is nothing else like it,” Blackley said.

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