Most people tend to think of rails as something for boarders. However, about 25 snowboarders and skiers came out to show their stuff in the Sogo Active Rail Jam 2009 at Mount Sima Saturday.
As the trick enthusiasts took to three different rail apparatuses, the word for the day was inspiration, not competition.
“The idea behind it is that people can session these features, pump each other up, learn new tricks, hang out, listen to some tunes and have a good time,” said David Pharand, an organizer of the event and a coach with Snowboard Yukon.
“It was a demo. I think most people here know who’s good; it’s more for the thrill of the sport.
“Also, for insurance purposes, it was a lot cheaper to hold a demo than a competition.”
Among the three apparatuses used was a new addition to the park, an elevated rail box that riders slide up before launching off the end.
“I don’t think Mount Sima has ever had a feature like this – a step-up box – where you slide up it,” said Pharand. “I’ve seen a lot of spins on it, I’ve seen a lot of really big airs.
“I think everyone walked away today having done something they’ve never done before.
“Some of the older guys go bigger because they have more experience. Some of the kids are technical – because they’re short to the ground they can spin and they don’t bruise as much when they fall.”
Lester Gladue, 18, a snowboarder for eight years, was one such participant who landed something new at the Jam.
“I tried a backside-boardslide,” said Gladue. “I saw a lot of good moves: boardslides off to 180s off it. It was pretty fun, pretty cool.”
Participants were treated to lunch and 10 came away with door prizes just for coming out.
“Ten people are walking away with a really big loot bag from Board Stiff,” said Pharand. “Mount Sima gave some day passes and I think we bought some day passes from Canada Games Centre as well.”
Just in its second year, the Jam already changed locations, having taken place last year at Mount McIntyre in the spring. However, this year’s time and location were more convenient for obvious reasons.
“Last year we got three dump trucks of snow,” said Pharand. “We did a couple of rails and jumps.”
Mount Sima offers lessons for skiers and snowboarders, but for those who wish to develop their skills to a higher level, Snowboard Yukon offers more advanced instruction.
“We coach people who already know how to snowboard,” said Pharand. “A lot of the older snowboarders learned on inferior equipment and have picked up some bad habits. So our shtick is teaching form and technique. And obviously freestyle aspects: jumps, rails and half-pipe for competition.”
Next weekend Mount Sima will play host to a Slopestyle Competition, a Snowboard Yukon event that promises some big airs.
“Slopestyle is an event for snowboarders where you have a series of jumps and rails down a course and the rider picks and chooses and run,” said Pharand. “The idea is to make a nice fluid run down the park and hit-up features and try to make it look pretty.”
For those who don’t want to display their skills but would still like to lay down some tracks, Mount Sima is also trying something new next weekend.
“It’s a special snack weekend at the top of the chair lift,” said Guillaume Rochet, Sima area manager. “We will sell coffee and snacks with music at the top.
“We’re trying a new thing at the top to see if it’s possible to be the kind of ski resort as everywhere else.”
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