Helping Haiti: Skiing the Beav for a good cause
Published: Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, February 12, 2013 13:02
Several skiers and snowboarders lined up Saturday morning under the sun at Beaver Mountain to pay a competitor fee and warm up before the competition began at 10:30 a.m.
Beaver Mountain and Directive Boardshop hosted its second-annual Rail Jam fundraiser Saturday for the nonprofit organization PROViDE. Directive Boardshop helped set up the event at Beaver’s Yurt, an area where they commonly hold rail jams and competitions.
Kristopher Young, the founder and executive director of PROViDE — Participatory Response Offering Vitality in Devastated Environments — created the organization specifically to send aid to disaster areas.
“We’re raising funds for a marginalized community in Haiti, so bringing our community in Northern Utah together to have some fun and also to raise some funds, it just makes perfect sense,” Young said.
In addition to the competition, a Haitian barbeque provided spectators and skiers and snowboarders with food. A raffle drawing offered prizes from local sponsors such as Angie’s, Al’s, Sportsman, Skullcandy, Elements and Cafe Sabor.
“They come up, they compete, they get some delicious food and win some raffle prizes and are able to give back that way just by having a good time,” Young said.
Ty West is part of the park crew at Beaver and placed all the rails in the staging area as well as helped organize sponsors for the event.
West said there’s a lot of the local talent and an element of the Rail Jam includes drawing that talent to the competition.
Though they had a bigger competitor list than last year, fewer spectators showed up to watch the show, which Young thinks was due to the weather.
“Our competitor list is bigger, but I think less spectators,” Young said. “Last year it was a bluebird 35 degree day, perfect to be in the mountains, so everybody has been stoked to enter and compete but not as many people just wanna hang out and watch when it’s a blizzard.”
Scott Rappleye, who attends USU and took first place in the advanced snowboarding division, suggested improvements to be made for future Rail Jams.
“It was competitive,” Rappleye said. “The riders in it this year were probably the hardest I’ve been with, but the speed on the set-ups were super slow. That was an issue with a lot of the guys.”
“A couple of the guys can’t throw down as hard as they usually do,” he said. “It’s hard to get a lot of speed.”
Of the two rail jams Beaver hosted last year, one had similar problems to the one Saturday, but the other one had optimal features.
“They had one here at this spot last year and the run in was about the same,” Rappleye said. “You had to come in from the catch rack and carve in so it still wasn’t that good, but Directive had one last year that was over on the Face and that was a lot better. That setup was really good. It was better over there because it was on a hill. You could get enough speed, as much as you wanted to for any of the features.”
Another problem the riders faced was the amount of energy it took to walk back up the hill after they’d thrown a trick. They walked up the hill an average of 10 to 15 times.
Rappleye said by the time he had finished his first hit and walked back up, he had felt like he had just finished running a marathon.
Despite the problems the skiers and boarders complained of, most competitors said this year’s rail jam was an improvement over the one last year.
“Everything about it is getting better,” Young said. “We got more prizes by far than last year.”
West said they also had more female competitors sign up this year. Last year’s rail jam only had one female rider sign up. This year they had three.
Young hopes that next year’s jam will have even more improvements, especially in competitor numbers.
“Last year we only had one female contestant and this year we have three,” Young said. “We’re hoping next year if we can double that, they have their own division.”