Boarders, skiers break the ice at rail jam

A veteran snowboarder and a new freestyle ski team member ruled supreme at the second annual Sandor’s Icebreaker Rail Jam at Mt. Sima last Friday night.

A veteran snowboarder and a new freestyle ski team member ruled supreme at the second annual Sandor’s Icebreaker Rail Jam at Mt. Sima last Friday night.

Eight snowboarders and 10 freestyle skiers braved frigid conditions, occasionally breaking to warm by the bonfire and enjoy the tunes blasted over the course like the floodlights used to illuminate the rails.

Max Melvin-McNutt, 17, the first Yukoner ever to make BC’s provincial team, was top-dog on the rails for the snowboarders. For the skiers, Dylan Reed outperformed the competition for a first-place finish.

“It’s great; it’s a lot of fun. That’s all I can say,” said Melvin-McNutt. “It’s all about having fun. I had a good time.”

Melvin-McNutt, who finished second in the inaugural competition, was throwing down the 270s. Among his tricks were a switch 270 to front-board 270 out, a front-blunt to 270 out, front-side 270 to 270 out, and a front-side 270 to board-side 270 out.

“I got everything (I was hoping for),” said Melvin-McNutt. “I’ve been training so much, so I’ve been progressing. I’ve got new tricks.”


A year ago at the Canada Winter Games, Melvin-McNutt finished in eighth in the half-pipe for his Yukon’s best finish in snowboarding. At the 2010 Arctic Winter Games he was awarded the overall silver in the juvenile boys division, winning gold in the half-pipe, bronze in the snowboardcross.

Taking second was Adam Waddington, last year’s winner of the U-16 category. He qualified for the finals with a backside 270 on to a switch-up with a 270 off. “That was probably my best trick of the night,” said Waddington. “I was working on it in the finals, I just couldn’t land it.”

In the finals Waddington did a 50-50 to a backside 270 out.

“I feel pretty good about it,” said Waddington. “When I heard the crowd (cheer), I was so stoked to go back up and do something even cooler.”

Tim Schirmer, the only U-16 boarder in the competition, took some big risks to land third overall. Schirmer, who was the Yukon champion last season, landed a backside 360 to 5-0.

“Tim’s was definitely a pretty sensational trick with a high risk factor,” said Mary Binstead, head coach for Snowboard Yukon. “But he wasn’t able to ride away from it clean, which is why he ended in third place.”

One could say Reed “slipped” into first for the skiers. The 15-year-old secured the top-spot with a lip-slide front slip-up with a lip-side front 270 out. In fact, it was the first time he pulled off a lip-slide.

“It was actually fairly easy,” said Reed. “I’m pretty stoked. I didn’t think I was going to win but it turned out good.”

Reed and a number of other skiers just completed a weeklong training camp with Yukon Freestyle Ski Association head coach Stu Robinson.

“Dylan is the new member of the team and he made a ton of improvements this week and it really ended up showing at the rail jam,” said Robinson. “He beat out some of the veterans and showed that his training paid off.”

Another skier testing his limits was Aiden Allen, performing a K-Fed – a front-slop to a back 270 off – to take second.

“I’ve never tried it in my life,” said Allen. “I wasn’t doing too well in the warmup, but somehow the pressure helped me.

“I was not really expecting it. I came around and pulled off the 270 and rode it out.”

Last year’s winner, Josh Harlow, took third with a back-slop on the kink with a 270 out.

“I didn’t land the tricks I was trying to land,” said Harlow. “Dylan was killing it, landing new tricks, so he deserved it.”

If Shayla Hamilton didn’t have enough pressure from competing in her first ever rail competition, she had the added pressure of being the only female competitor – for skiers and boarders. However, the competition did provide the motivation to try something new: a 90 on the box rail.

“I attempted landing the switch, but it didn’t work out too well and I bailed,” said the 13-year-old. “But it was fun either way.”

Local snowboarders and freestyle skiers have a lot to be excited about this season. With Whitehorse hosting the upcoming Arctic Winter Games, Mt. Sima’s halfpipe will be open for the first time since Whitehorse hosted the Canada Winter Games in 2007.

“We’re very excited about that,” said Binstead.

“We’re waiting to see how the halfpipe plays out at Sima and if we have a good training facility then we’ll go to the Canada Olympic Park halfpipe competition in February,” said Robinson.

In addition to the halfpipe reopening, Mt. Sima’s terrain park was rebuilt during the summer. Snowboard Yukon is working towards having a full-time snowboard-cross course at the ski resort.

Unfortunately for Yukon’s freestyle skiers, the sport has been dropped from the upcoming Arctic Games and the following installment in Greenland in 2014. (Alpine skiing has remained as an event.) But Yukon freestyle skiers will conduct a “jumps and bumps” demonstration at the Games.

“Unfortunately the Arctic Winter Games have to cut back on sports (for) Greenland because they have to cut 1,500 (athlete) spots,” said Robinson.

“So any sport not represented gender-wise, as well as area-wise, has been cut. There was no reason why we couldn’t go in this one. There are plenty of people who could go … After Greenland maybe we’ll get the chance to go back in again.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: Are they coming?

One of COVID-19’s big economic questions is whether it will prompt a… Continue reading

Yukon MP Larry Bagnell, along with Yukon health and education delegates, announce a new medical research initiative via a Zoom conference on Jan. 21. (Screen shot)
New medical research unit at Yukon University launched

The SPOR SUPPORT Unit will implement patient-first research practices

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police detachment in Faro photgraphed in 2016. Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old building currently accommodating officers. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Faro RCMP tagged for new detachment

Faro will receive a new RCMP detachment in 2022, replacing the decades-old… Continue reading

In a Jan. 18 announcement, the Yukon government said the shingles vaccine is now being publicly funded for Yukoners between age 65 and 70, while the HPV vaccine program has been expanded to all Yukoners up to and including age 26. (
Changes made to shingles, HPV vaccine programs

Pharmacists in the Yukon can now provide the shingles vaccine and the… Continue reading

Parking attendant Const. Ouellet puts a parking ticket on the windshield of a vehicle in downtown Whitehorse on Dec. 6, 2018. The City of Whitehorse is hoping to write of nearly $300,000 in outstanding fees, bylaw fines and court fees, $20,225 of which is attributed to parking fines issued to non-Yukon license plates. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
City of Whitehorse could write off nearly $300,000

The City of Whitehorse could write off $294,345 in outstanding fees, bylaw… Continue reading

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Most Read