Snowboarders, skiers, young and old enjoy Rail Jam at Howelsen Hill
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Just because snow covers the ramps on the skate parks in Steamboat Springs doesn’t mean Go Skate Steamboat and creator Trevor “Apple” Mekelburg can’t stay active. The new group has provided a community and no excuses entry into the sport since this summer.
To extend that goal into the winter, Go Skate was part of a free, community rail jam at Howelsen Hill Ski Area on Saturday.
“When summer ended we were hard pressed to think, ‘what are we gonna do in the winter?’” Mekelburg said. “It occurred to us pretty quickly that mostly everybody that skates in this town either skis or snowboards. That’s where we had the thought of teaming up with the Winter Sports Club, Go Skate Steamboat, Powder Tools and Harvest Skis to do something cool for the community.”
The rail jam was open to Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club kids, as well as members of the public. Three sessions throughout the day divided participants. Small groups were assigned one section of the terrain park and then rotated to a different section every 20 minutes to provide lots of separation and social distancing.
Mekelburg anticipates more rail jams will happen in the future as a means to bring the different skating, skiing and boarding communities together.
The Go Skate Steamboat founder and SSWSC coach even worked with some inexperienced kids and taught them how to approach and ride a rail. When one of the group successfully skidded across the rail, even if the dismount sent them to the ground, the rest of the boarders cheered from the top of the hill.
“We figured with this year being the way it has been, a lot of people who usually have passes wouldn’t have (lift) passes, so this is eliminating all obstacles of why they wouldn’t be able to snowboard,” Mekelburg said.
The Lilly family knew Mekelburg from Sk8 Church and attended the event, so the whole family could ski. Adam, 7, and Ava, 11, walked to the top of the hill with their father Jason and showed off their tricks on a pair of rails while mom Christine filmed from below.
Snowboarding is a hobby the whole family enjoys, whether it’s a casual day on the mountain or a public slalom event.
“After college, we moved to Steamboat and got into snowboarding, and we’ve been doing it ever since,” Jason said. “These guys came along, and it was only natural to include them in all the fun and give them something to be passionate about and spend the rest of their life having fun with.”
Adam and Ava showed no fear while navigating the terrain park at Howelsen Hill.
“I think it’s really fun because I can go fast. I love going right down the mountain,” Ava said. “I also really like doing the rails and stuff because it’s fun. You can keep doing it, and there’s always more stuff for you to do.”
The Lilly children had big plans to improve their skills over the two-hour window they had at the jam.
“I’m going to boardside that and then hit that rail,” Adam said, pointing to a rail across the hill. “Then go down there to the little rainbow box and boardside that.”
Some of the Go Skate regulars were there, as well as a large number of SSWSC kids, including slalom snowboarders Jacy Werner and Johnny Duty.
“It’s the first rail jam of the season,” Duty said. “We’ve been wanting this for a while.”
“Good times, good people, good snow,” Werner added.
To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email sreardon@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Over the past two weeks, athletes in the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club have competed in their season-concluding events. As usual, Steamboat competitors put up impressive performances.