Rail Jam offers thrills and chills on a slippery slope

January 06, 2008|By MARIE GILBERT

MERCERSBURG, PA. - The young man stood with a snowboard tucked under his arm and stared down the mouth of a mountain trail called Stalker.

Strapping on his boots, he entered a Zen moment - quieting the noise and embracing his surroundings.

Then, the adrenaline kicked in. There was work to be done.

In a matter of seconds, the teenager's board was picking up speed and testing gravity as he shot off a 24-foot rail, did an aerial spin and landed at the trail's base with lethal precision.

It was all about the thrill of skill Saturday afternoon as 40 skiers and snowboarders participated in Whitetail Resort's Rail Jam.

Held several times during the season, the event is a chance for competitors to perform a variety of freestyle tricks along a challenging course dotted with rails and boxes, said Matt See, Whitetail's marketing coordinator.


"It's good winter fun," See said. "We have all skill levels and all ages. You'll see some people throwing incredible tricks while others are still new to the sport. But everybody has the opportunity to show off their own individual talents."

During Saturday's competition, the skiers and snowboarders each were given three runs and were judged on style and technique. Judges then picked the top three scores from each age division, See said.

Winners were presented gift cards to Whitetail during an awards ceremony.

Among the competitors was the only female, Alicia Domsky, 16, of Williamsport.

Domsky, a skier, said she has been competing in the rail jams for several years.

"I ski and snowboard, but I love skiing the most," she said. "I've been skiing for 14 years, and I would be out here every single day if I could."

Domsky attempted a butter 360 on one of her runs - a spin move that she comfortably landed.

"I'm feeling pretty good about my chances," she said. "I just wish more girls would come out to compete. It would make it a lot more fun."

Also competing was Wayne "Cobra" Cohen, 41, who is a member of the Potomac Board Rats snowboarding team from the Maryland-D.C.-Virginia area.

Cohen said he has been snowboarding since 1978, "back when a lot of people didn't even know what snowboarding was all about."

"I was a pioneer," Cohen said. "I was a skier who enjoyed racing. Then, I got on a board and I never got off."

Cohen said the Potomac Board Rats has about 50 members between the ages of 6 and 72 who attend snowboarding events throughout the mid-Atlantic region.

"It's a great way to express your freedom," he said.

"Plus, it's great exercise."

Meaghan Sparrow, special events coordinator at Whitetail, said the resort will be offering competitive and noncompetitive rail jams throughout the season.

"It's a fun event for both participants and spectators," Sparrow said. "Everybody has a great time."

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