On Jan. 29, the Ski and Board Club hosted its first Rail Jam event in front of Owen Library. The course was a big success, both in that it gathered many attendees and that the plan reached completion.
The club put a lot of effort into fulfilling this goal. Over the course of a week—using, by their estimate, 100 hours—the club constructed a tall hill and three ramps. The first hill had wooden stairs implanted in the outer slope. Within 20 feet, three miniature slopes rose from the ground and slid into different rails for competitors to ride across. Despite the chill, the club brought its members together with shovels and levels to properly pack the course’s obstacles.
Club members had no outside aid in building the ramps and rails. It was solely a club effort. In past years, this point has been the downfall of completing Rail Jam, as willingness or manpower was lacking. This year’s situation could have been problematic. The week prior, a blizzard left almost 2 feet of snow. Much of the snow that had fallen had melted late in the week, which could have made many lose hope. Instead, the storm provided incentive for construction to start, then publicity edged the project forward.
In past years, the administration has been reluctant to allow and support a Rail Jam event due to liability issues. To deal with potential injuries at the event, there were paramedics on scene ready to assist if needed.
Overall, the event was a great activity for a Friday evening. The prizes and idea of competition drew in many participants and spectators. The event lasted long past sunset. The idea of Rail Jam is a good one to get people’s minds off the cold. It should become a tradition and come again next year, the next time a big storm is expected.