Winter sparked by rail jam

In the flat light of a cold, rainy evening, the University of Vermont snowboard team set up for their first on-campus rail jam of the season. A mountain of hockey rink snow lay in a pile outside the Christie-Wright-Patterson Complex as more than 20 people began to transform the green into a snowboard haven.Representatives from Sugarbush Mountain Resort secured a man-made, wooden drop-in to the top of their truck and packed the steep slope with snow as members of the UVMST moved snow down the hill to make a landing for the 24-foot handrail. Less than an hour later, the sun had set and more than 100 people had congregated on the green with at least 30 fully equipped and ready to compete under the flood lights.Not only were many people present with their skis and snowboards but, in the Halloween spirit, many people were decked out in costumes ranging from giant bananas to Tigger for the costume contest later in the evening.Patrick Cassidy, the coach of the UVMST, was arranged underneath a tent between the two rail set ups, DJing the event as well as announcing the start of the preliminary competition. Spectators lined both sides of the 24-foot rail as countless skiers and snowboarders dropped from the top of the truck to spin and twirl onto the rail.”As one of our first on campus events this season, this was a great way to get our name out there and let people know what we’re all about,” Cassidy said.The skiers and riders wowed the crowd with tricks such as 270 spins, boardslides, 50-50s and ski-grinds. Equally as entertaining as the competitors who stayed on the rail for all 24 feet, were those who slipped off and did what has fondly come to be known as butt-presses, chest-grinds, or whatever other part of the body came into contact with the rail.Contestants ranged from members of UVM’s own snowboard team, to members of the 802 Snow and Skate team, to people featured in the local snowboard movie “Trash Attack”.The only two females stepping up to the 24 foot rail, sophomore Celia Grace, and freshman Laura Rogoski, both members of the UVMST, put on a great show for the crowd with really solid tricks. Grace won first place while second place went to Rogoski. Both girls were hooked up with new boards from 802 for their runs. For the male contingent of the competition, first place was dominated by Sky Gale who was featured in “Trash Attack.” Second place was awarded to UVM freshman John Murphy of the UVMST for his 270 on and 270 off the rail that sent sparks flying in the audience as well as off the metal. Vermont freshman Jesse Curran of UVMST received third place for his front boardslide with a 270 out, proving why he was featured in East Coast Snowboarder magazine.”It got me pretty amped to be riding this early in the season,” Murphy said. “The rail jam was put together really well by UVM and it was great to see all the snow. I can only hope we get a season full of powder so we can keep this sort of thing up.”At more than triple the size of last year, the UVMST is looking strong at the beginning of the season. Besides an increased competition schedule that includes a new collegiate snowboard series, the team is planning on hosting rail jams, movie premiers and other events on campus all year long.”There have been lots of rail jams on campus with sketchy set ups and not enough snow,” Cassidy said. “They really didn’t allow for much progression and were barely put together. Our goal for this rail jam was to show UVM the most legit set up and most snow in an on campus rail jam, which we did, unquestionably.”