Rail Jam brings the slopes to URI

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KINGSTON, R.I. – March 31, 2009 – What do you do if you are holding a snowboarding event and there is no snow on the ground? Get a few pick-up trucks and bring the snow in, of course.

On February 19, the University of Rhode Island Snowboarding Club put on an event called “Rail Jam” that gave students a chance to test their skiing and snowboarding skills to benefit a good cause. The club turned piles of snow from Bradford R. Boss Arena and other locations on campus into a handmade ski and snowboard course on the Quadrangle.

All participants were asked to donate a canned good and spectators could enter prize drawings by donating a canned good. The event raised more than 450 pounds of canned food that was donated to the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Red Bull, an energy drink manufacturer, served as the event’s major sponsor.

More than 60 people participated in Rail Jam, which attracted more than 500 spectators throughout the night. Participants were judged on their run through the course. Prize packages consisting of equipment donated by local and national retailers were given to the winners. A live band and two DJ’s performed throughout the night.

“The Rail Jam was a huge success for the club. It was the first event of its kind in the area and we are very proud of its turnout,” said Nikki Heidt, president of the Snowboarding Club.

The club used pick-up trucks to bring snow to the Quad from parking lots and Boss Arena. They used artificial turf, tables, plywood, steel tubing, plexiglass, and the snow they collected to sculpt a course.

“We spent just about an entire day bringing in the snow from all over campus to the Quad,” said Colin Giblin, a sophomore from North Kingstown who served as one of the event coordinators. “It took a lot of work but it was worth it.”

The Snowboarding Club, which currently is made up of close to 100 members, plans to make Rail Jam an annual event. Giblin said the group hopes to expand the event over the years by getting more sponsors involved.

Pictured above

GETTING SOME AIR: A Rail Jam participant gets some air by jumping off a table set up as part f the course. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Joe Giblin.

A WINTER SCENE: A snowboarder rides the course at Rail Jam. URI Department of Communications and Marketing photo by Joe Giblin.