It’s the season for winter sports open houses and preseason winter events. Many of these events include some sort of “rail jam” or “Jib Jam” contest.
What is a Rail Jam?
A rail jam is usually set up close to a ski lodge, a city park or in a ski shop parking lot. The elements include some sort of ramp, a fixed “rail” or other trick inducing element and a landing area. “Snow” is usually trucked in compliments of an ice rink or ice company.
The idea of the competition is to ascend to the top of the ramp, strap on your skis or board and rip down the ramp to the element (usually a pipe) with as much awe inducing flair as possible. Slides, turns, flips and crashes included. These competitions can range from back-yard fun hog events to multi-day extravaganzas with large complex ramps set up for extreme aerial competition. This year the rail jam competitions in Seattle and Big Bear Lake resort drew hundreds of spectators to watch world-class athletes compete for prizes up to $10,000. Many contests will land you some cool gear, a season pass, a few bucks or maybe just bragging rights.
- Know where & when. If you show up late the “snow” and the fun may be all used up.
- Pre-register. Setting up a sick rail jam is work. Some rail jams get cancelled if the sponsor thinks no one will show.
- Check your equipment: It’s no good to show up with a blown binding or a boot that wont lace.
- Bring your health insurance card. Stuff happens.
- Bring a friend; someone has to drive you home.
- Bring some aspirin, Tylenol or Ibu. It doesn’t matter how good you are, this is the first time this season you have used certain muscles. There will be some pain.
- Go easy on the “adult beverages” before the event due to the risk of dehydration or a large wipeout factor.
- Stretch before the event and wear a helmet, this is an athletic event. It’s supposed to be fun. Pulled muscles or a cracked skull are not fun.
- Bring your camera. Opportunities for cool You Tube videos and great stills abound at rail jams.
Remember to have fun! This is what riding is about; hanging with your buds, learning some new tricks and getting better.
Question: What do you do to prepare for a rail jam?