Students flooded the west lawn Friday as snowboarders and skiers showed off their moves during the CSU stop on the Cricket Campus Rail Jam Tour.
The atmosphere, comparable to a micro-version of the X Games, was packed with snow lovers and winter sports enthusiasts, who seemed to forget about the green and yellow grass beneath them as they watched local snowboarders and skiers show off their rail tricks on 20-foot-high, snow-packed scaffold.
Peter Whitehead, a sophomore business major originally from Anchorage, Alaska, competed in the Rail Jam tour and said he was impressed with the setup.
“I like how they have it on the hill so everyone can see all the tricks — it’s pretty legit,” Whitehead said.
Riders hoped to wow the crowd and the judges as they competed for a spot in the finals. The top five snowboarders, top three skiers and top three female riders from Friday qualified as finalists and will move on to Portland, Ore. where they will try to deliver their best tricks and take home the $5,000 prize.
Dan Genco, marketing director for Galvanic Design, the company that helped organize the tour, said the event was held to give local athletes a chance to showcase their skills, something that normally would’ve taken at least a two-hour drive to do.
“We are trying to give exposure to the local snowboard clubs on each college campus,” Genco said.
The tour has been based at universities across the western U.S. Prior to coming to CSU, events were held at the University of Colorado at Boulder and the University of Denver. Genco said that the Fort Collins stop had seen the best reaction from the community.
“This is awesome,” Genco said. “It’s a great city. It’s a great college; everybody is excited and really involved. This is our biggest turn out so far. People are really into it. Good music, big tricks and lots of fun.”
Those attending the event gave various responses when asked what they enjoyed about it, but for several, a solid wipeout provided the best entertainment.
“(My favorite thing is) falling down and getting hurt, breaking boards,” said Colby Degrechie, a CSU freshman business major and a competitor in the event.
Degrechie described the event as a major improvement from last year and was glad Colorado State held the event.
“I thinks it’s cool that Ft. Collins would throw something like this,” Degrechie said. “A lot of the rail jams they had last year were pretty weak. This one’s pretty legit; it’s real good.”
Erin Weber, a junior health and exercise science major, is also the secretary of the Snowriders Club on campus. Weber said she constantly promotes the world of snow sports, and hoped the rail jam would help stimulate interest and get students excited for an upcoming rail jam in May that the Snowriders Club is currently organizing.
“Hopefully this just gets everybody else pumped up about this too,” Weber said. “I love the snow and I want other people to share the love for the snow and see what other people are doing out there.”
Senior Reporter Kaeli West and photographer Brian Swanson can be reached at email@example.com.