Countless Bozemanites congregated on the Jake Jabs Lawn this past Saturday evening as the second annual MSU Rail Jam took over campus. With over 40 competitors across four different categories, including women’s and men’s ski and snowboard, the event lived up to the hype. 

All four of the categories were highly competitive, but for the athletes the event wasn’t even seen as a competition. It was more of just a jam session with friends; and a casual few thousand people watching nearby. 

“It was super fun. Vibes were high and it was really just skiing with some friends. Hope to see some more girls out there next year,” Ali Patrick, women's ski first- place winner said. 

“I was all smiles throughout. I honestly couldn’t believe all the people there and I really enjoyed it. Definitely just a jam session. Most of the guys that I snowboard with were those guys [competing],” said sophomore and men’s snowboard third-place winner Johnny Duty. 

Hosting such a large event, everything had to be just right. The event stands out in a unique way because there really aren't any other universities doing something quite like it. 

“The Rail Jam is our biggest event of the year. Last year we had around 2000 students at peak time, and around 3000 in and out so I think that makes it special,” said junior and member of the ASMSU events team Kaylan Wait. “It’s also just a very unique event; not a lot of universities are able to say they host an on-campus rail jam.”

MSU can claim this uniqueness because of the thorough challenge it entails. For Wait, the work started months in advance and picked up quickly as the event got closer and closer. It’s a labor of love for her though, and she sees chances for the event to grow even more in future years. 

“I’m the event lead for the Rail Jam. My heart is with this event and a lot of my team's time went into it,” Wait said. “I feel like this event has huge potential for future growth and just being around for years so I’m excited to see where it leads.” 

The course was set up in a unique way with three features about 10 feet away from the starting drop and a rail pointed about 45 degrees upward, 30 feet below the rails. Those three included an up, flat, down rail, a box and a wavy rail that most of the competitors used for their best tricks. The wavey rail required more technical tricks while the box was used for a lot of spinning, but it seemed as if the up, flat, down rail didn’t get used nearly enough, as the riders just struggled to gather enough speed. 

“I grew up competing in snowboarding, so I’ve always liked that kind of scene,” Duty said. “It was all around pretty fun and I’m glad I did it, hopefully I'll try and do it next year too.”

The atmosphere created by the DJ and giveaways was enjoyed by the spectators, and the athletes competing felt the good vibes in the air as well. As the night went on, all the athletes were feeding off the energy and the tricks getting thrown just got better and better.

“I think it was really fun to compete with Audrey (Women’s Ski 2nd place), because we’re kind of at the same level. We used to ski for the same team and we got to do a dew tour together, so it was cool to compete alongside her again,” Patrick said.

The music was loud, free stuff was thrown around and crazy tricks were thrown down. Whether you competed, spectated or just saw the winners results, this event was one that was cherished across campus. The event has grown so much since last year, and it has no ceiling on the improvements that can be made and the sky’s the limit for years to come.