While returning students hustle and bustle about in the frenzy of the first week of the semester the UMass Ski and Board Club, the longest running club at the University, has been hard at work preparing for its largest and most fun event of the year: the third annual Rail Jam, a winter sports competition that will take place Friday from 5 to 11 p.m.
As it marks the first official weekend of the spring semester the Rail Jam is projected to have major attendance and a good time is sure to be had by all in spite of the dismal drops in temperature.
Known in previous years as the Metawompe Stompe, the Rail Jam is a fierce but fun competition in which more than 75 competitors will be contending for a variety of prizes, including the coveted title of “champion.”
And while it hasn’t been an easy setup in lieu of limited snowfall, the Ski and Board club has resourcefully transported snow from area ice rinks to transform the west lawn of the Southwest Residential Area into a winter wonderland of ski jumps and obstacles.
In addition to the work done by the club itself, the Okemo Mountain Resort, of Ludlow, Vt., has provided the necessary rails for the competition and is sponsoring the event geared towards students. Also in attendance will be representatives from Nope Snowboards, a company founded by two former UMass students, who will be providing exclusive prizes for the finalists in the competition.
Live DJs will be present to kick out the jams as the competition heats up and sponsors such as Vitamin Water, Competitive Edge, and a bevy of local shops will be providing warm goodies to stave off the winter chill.
Being out in the cold all night is not always fun, but thankfully the Ski and Board club has teamed up with the Residence Hall Association to provide a veritable carnival of fun games and activities for spectators to try and keep the nipping frost at bay. Raffle tickets will be available for purchase and a never-ending supply of hot chocolate will surely warm the hands and the gullet even as the icy winds whip and wail around Southwest. For those who want to attend but are worried about parking, fear not, because lots 32 and 22 right across from the event will be available all evening for anyone who wants a taste of the wintery action.
For those brave souls interested in competing in the Rail Jam, registration begins at 3 p.m. the day of the competition on a first come, first serve basis. There is a $20 registration fee and helmets are absolutely mandatory. Practice begins at 4 p.m. and the competition officially kicks off at 5 p.m. All who are interested are encouraged to take part in the competition.
Emily Brightman can be reached at email@example.com.