DOVER — For the first time in three years, a winter sports event will be making its return at Mount Snow.
The Carinthia Classic Rail Jam was started in 2018 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Carinthia terrain parks at Mount Snow. The event was designed to be a free-form challenge that allowed skiers and riders to showcase their abilities in a plaza-style arena with rails, boxes, and several other features.
The rail jam was held in 2019 as well. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit and the competition was put on hold until this year.
When the event is held this Saturday, Senior Communications Manager of the Northeast for Vail Resorts Courtney DiFiore said anyone who attends should expect to have fun.
“It really is very cool to see athletes going down this course and doing something really out there and fun on the features and just getting creative with it,” said DiFiore. “I think that’s a lot of fun, but also sharing that excitement with everybody around you is a really good time.”
Anyone who competed in or attended the first two rail jams in 2018 and 2019 may notice some changes to this year’s event.
“The two key things that are different are the actual setup and what that looks like, and that it’s during the day rather than being at night under the lights,” said DiFiore. “That being said, we do have an under-the-lights rail jam later that evening. So, it’s kind of a day filled with terrain park events, which is awesome.”
Another change this year is the name. In the past, the event was called the Carinthia Open Mega Plaza (COMP). It was decided to change the name to the Carinthia Classic so that it was more reflective of the build of the course and the open format.
As far as the build itself, Terrain Park Manager Rob Black said it won’t be very different from past events, but they will be using less terrain and condensing it a little bit more for the purpose of judging.
“We’re doing it in the Junkyard, which is close to the base area. So, it’s not a tremendously enormous area,” said Black. “We’ll still have a bunch of stuff, but in the past, we’ve done some really big transition stuff. We’re going to try to put more of the focus on some rail riding and let the riders do some more technical tricks rather than stuff like getting really big air.”
As of Wednesday, more than 20 people were registered to compete in the Carinthia Classic. While DiFiore said people were encouraged to register early, anyone interested could still register the day of the event until sometime between 7:30 – 8 a.m.
While anyone from anywhere can participate, DiFiore said the event usually draws a specific crowd.
“Our registrations are usually a mix from local athletes to I would say regionally local, meaning the greater eastern area,” DiFiore said. “There’s a lot of talent in the East, so it’s always kind of a toss up to see who’s going to be there. Then there’s the newcomers that show up, make a big splash, and land on the podium, and that’s really exciting too.”
When the competition begins at 9:45 a.m. on Saturday, $20,000 in prize money will be up for grabs.
Prizes will be awarded for the first, second and third place finishers in women’s ski, women’s snowboard, men’s ski and men’s snowboard. The first-place finishers will take home $2,500. Participants who come in second place in any one of the categories will win $1,500 and third place finishers will take home $1,000. There will also be a prize awarded for the best trick, DiFiore said.
This winter has presented challenges not only for ski mountains throughout the state, but for events such as the Carinthia Classic. However, heavy snowfall last week provided additional aid to the snowmaking team leading up to Saturday’s competition.
“The new snow really helped out to put snow where we needed it,” said DiFiore. “That way we can build the course exactly how we wanted it. So, in this case, the weather really came through for us and all this fresh snow over the past week really helped out and the team’s really excited to use it to build this event.”
One of the aspects of the event that DiFiore believes will appeal to spectators in particular is that it can be viewed from a number of locations. Held in the Junkyard terrain park, which she said is easily accessible at the base of the Carinthia Park area and near the base lodge at Carinthia, DiFiore said there are a number of locations that spectators can watch the event from, including on the deck of the lodge or on the snow.
When the event concludes this Saturday, DiFiore said there is one thing that she hopes both competitors and spectators alike will take away from it.
“Really the goal is that everyone has a good time,” said DiFiore. “If everybody walks away saying they had an amazing time at this event it will be a success because hosting any event, particularly the Carinthia Classic, is really just to give people the opportunity to get out there, do what they love, showcase their talent and everyone have a good time, which is why I love that spectators can go and have a good time too and get involved.”