Rail Jam hits SugarFest Dec. 9
The village of Sugar Mountain in Avery County is 2.4 square
miles clinging to Sugar Mountain’s North Slope.
Next door, Sugar Mountain Resort covers 115 acres of ski and snowboard terrain and a 1,200 foot vertical drop.
From Dec. 7 to 9, the village and resort will host the 10th annual SugarFest.
On Sunday, Dec. 9, the resort’s Alpine Ski Center will sponsor the SugarFest Rail Jam, a jibbing (the act of jumping on or over obstacles) competition for experienced snowboarders and skiers.
“It’s at the base of the mountain, and that helps it to be really spectator friendly,” said Kim Jochl, Sugar Mountain Resort’s marketing director.
Rather than a race or big air, the Rail Jam is “a little more finite thing,” said Mark Newton, Alpine store manager. “There is a lot of talent in this area. The winners of the jams are the ones who do tricks with the most style.”
Kris Jones is one of them, having taken home first place in last year’s competition.
“Kris won because he excelled above and beyond his competition, due to his vast variety of tricks matched with his consistency and style,” said Tim Ollis, an independent sales representative for Wittman Sports Group.
Typically, the tricks include 180s, 360s and grinds on a series of rails, spines and boxes. Inverted tricks are not allowed.
“It’s a street-inspired event, like skaters would search out interesting things in public areas to ride,” Newton said. “The sport is progressing very quickly, so every year there’s something new and exciting.”
Six regional sales representatives, experienced contestants and employees will judge the event.
“It’s a competitive culture, but there’s an incredible camaraderie between the boarders,” Newton said.
Same-day registration is $45 under the Alpine Ski Center Slopeside tent, which will be set up past the lodge’s back deck. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
The price of registration includes a full day lift ticket (a $68 value) plus a bag of goodies from the sponsors, including Alpine, Ride, Burton, Scott, Oakley, Salomon, Smith, Dakine, One Ball Jay, Dalbello and more.
Skier and rider warmup is from 10 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. The skier jam, with a maximum of 25 participants, is from noon to 12:30 p.m. The rider jam, with a maximum of 25 participants, is from 1 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. The final between the top 10 skiers is from 1:45 p.m. to 2:05 p.m. The final between the top 10 riders is from 2:15 p.m. to 2:35 p.m.
In the skiing category, first place receives $500, second place receives Tom Wallich Scott Skis, third place receives Salomon SPX boots, and fourth place receives Oakley Airbrake goggles.
In the snowboarding category, first place receives $500, second place receives a RIDE GT board, third place receives Burton Hail boots and fourth place receives Smith IO goggles.
A hot chocolate bar, soup safari, barbecue and sweet tea will be available on site, and the rail jam will be set up by Eric Schmidinger and Sugar Mountain’s staff near the bottom of the Big Birch Run.
Other free activities during the SugarFest weekend include demos of 2012 ski and snowboard equipment, an ice-skating demonstration by world class skater Paul Wiley, a fireworks display and live bluegrass music by Boss Hawg.
“We want to let people know that winter is a lot of fun,” Jochl said. “And whenever we’ve got good winter weather, this only adds to the bottom line. The revenue benefits the ski shop, the gas station, hotels, everything.”
For a full schedule of events, visit http://www.skisugar.com/sugarfest and http://www.averycounty.com/upcoming-events/sugarfest.
For more information on the Rail Jam event, call Mark Newton at Alpine Ski Center at (800) 854-6532 or visit http://www.alpineskicenter.com or http://www.skisugar.com.