by MICK LLOYD-OWEN & r & & lt;span class= & quot;dropcap & quot; & P & lt;/span & rofessional and regional hotshot snowboarders will bring all the action of a ski resort terrain park to the Convention Center next weekend -- without all that bothersome snow.
"This will be the biggest indoor rail jam in the Pacific Northwest -- ever, period," says promoter Matt Robinson of 3F2. Utilizing a custom-made setup of steel structures covered with a state-of-the-art synthetic surface that supposedly feels to the rider like "two inches of powder," 3F2 will create a small-scale indoor terrain park so more than 30 snowboarders can engage in some "friendly competition" and generally show off for an expected crowd of thousands.
The rail setup was built for the event by Spinneybent, a Sandpoint-based company founded by veteran snowboarder Ben Spinney, who says, "Extreme sports are in. Everything else is out." Spinney's company outfitted the terrain parks at Schweitzer, Mount Hood and most of the other regional resorts. "The main reason I do it is to give the kids something awesome to ride," Spinney says, "because I'm a rider just like them." The attraction of the sport, according to Spinney, is the freedom to push the limits with no rules and no boundaries.
Apart from having fun, Robinson says the primary purpose of the rail jam event is to introduce the sport of snowboarding to those who have heard the hype but haven't had a chance to see it.
The jam will not be open to the public due to safety concerns. Robinson says he doesn't see many experienced riders falling on these setups, but novices who have more guts than skill would find the steel structures less forgiving than snow if they take a spill. Some of the riders coming in for the show are professionals featured in Yeah Dude, the new extreme-skiing film by Poor Boyz Productions. Others have sponsorships from equipment manufacturers or regional resorts.
The public can watch the adrenaline junkies do their thing at a practice session on Friday, Nov. 16, from 5-9 pm and during an informal competition on Saturday, Nov. 17, from 1-6 pm. The riders will not be scored, but a panel of judges will decide who gets to compete head-to-head for prizes, such as a pair of Atomic skis and a custom board made for the show by Ascension Snowboards, a Spokane-based manufacturer. And because things go better with beer, spectators (21 and older, obviously) can watch the action from a strategically located beer garden. NXStep Films, a Spokane-based company that specializes in skateboarding, wakeboarding and extreme-sport documentaries, will be collecting footage at the event for upcoming releases.
In addition to the rail jam, Yeah Dude will screen twice on Saturday (2 and 5 pm) during the Snow Show in the ballroom. Directed by Tyler Hamlet and produced by Johnny Decesare, the 45-minute film captures the exploits of the some of the world's best skiers and snowboarders on location around the globe. In September, it won the People's Choice Award at the IF3 Film Festival in Montreal.
Representatives from nine regional ski resorts will be at the show taking pictures for season passes. Activities and clinics will be offered throughout the weekend; Better Body Fitness will provide an elliptical trainer and vendors will be offering special deals on equipment packages for show-goers. Tickets are $10, and half-price discount coupons are being given away at Oz Fitness locations in the Spokane and Coeur d'Alene areas.
The Snow Show runs from 3-9 pm, Friday, Nov. 16, and from noon-6 pm, Saturday, Nov. 17, at the Spokane Convention Center Ballroom. Tickets: $10; $5-off coupons available at all Inland Northwest Oz Fitness locations. Your ticket gets you into the Yeah Dude film. Details are available at skinwrockiessnowshow.com.