2007-11-29 / News

Snowboarders get early snow

By Stephanie H. Cotsonas

Ben Schmidt prepares to take a ride the rail the Pickle Jam Rail Jam. Schmidt placed fourth at the event. Photo by Stephanie Cotsonas Ben Schmidt prepares to take a ride the rail the Pickle Jam Rail Jam. Schmidt placed fourth at the event. Photo by Stephanie Cotsonas The snow arrived a little early for island snowboarders Ben Schmidt and Nate Pease, who headed up to Ski Market Underground in Warwick earlier this month for the Pickle Jam Rail Jam.

The snow didn't actually fall from the sky, but was brought in from local ice rinks as ice shavings and was packed around a metal rail in the parking lot of the snowboard shop.

The two islanders competed in the event and Schmidt placed fourth after advancing to the top ten and getting a second chance to ride. Schmidt was happy with his performance, but added, "It was my first time on my board since last winter."

The competition followed a "jam format" where participants get as many rides as possible in 30 minutes. A ramp was built so the riders could build up enough speed leading to the 25-foot-long rail and to simulate a snowboard park on a mountain.

Schmidt said he was happy with the rail and the take off gave him plenty of speed to attempt his tricks. "It took a couple of runs to get a feel for the rail, but I was happy as each attempt I tried to go faster and bigger." He finally nailed his best trick, a 270-degree board slide, which put him in fourth place.

Sara Grimley and her husband, Jim, of Underground organized the event and were happy with the turnout of about 30 competitors and 200 spectators. "The rail jam was a success and the weather could not have been more perfect," said Grimley.

There was free rail riding for all those competing and prizes for the top finishers included goggles, boots and snowboards.

Schmidt and Pease will continue to practice at Yawgoo Valley in Slocum and hone their skills on homemade backyard rails. They said they will definitely be attending the next event.

According to Sara, the next rail jam will be held Friday, Dec. 7, from 5 to 8 p.m. It will be a "Toys for Tots" event so all riders must bring a toy donation to participate.

Islanders who are interested in participating should call 737-2602.

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