Words and photos by Jeff KingFollowing the latest start to the ontario ski season in recent memory, Blue mountain kicked off the competition season the same way it always has with the Frozen Rail Jam. So while polar bears swim franticly looking for icebergs, east coast skiers wade through grass in search of snow. The weird thing was, conditions during the day fooled me into thinking it could have been any day late march or april. The daytime temperature was mild, and the snow was soft with mud and grass squeezing groomed runs narrower. Thankfully when the sun went down temperatures dropped near freezing and my faith in the earths tilt was restored.

The set up, constructed with snow salvaged from early season man made from the run above.
at some time this rail may have supported sky scrapers, now it settles for ski scrapers..... this joke marks a new low for me.
Dave Bishop, rocking denim, plaid, and a tie dye... how can this not be spring skiing.
Local Blue Mountain rider Cole Drexler early into the daytime qualifying.OK, down to business. The frozen rail jam is sponsored by Appleton Jamaican Rum, SBC Skier Magazine and Snowboard Canada Magazine with K2 Snowboarding providing a fresh coat of paint / graphics for the rail. The set up was modest compared to past frozen rail jams with the builders making the best of the little snow they had to work with. Blue’s biggest rail, the “I-Beam” was hauled out and set up at a mellow down angle. Not that there’s much mellow about a 40 foot long, 1 ton chunk of steel.
Martin BoulaisEarly into the daytime practice session, skiers were the first to spin onto the rail led by Dave Bishop, Andy Stewart, and Joe Suave who must have seemed like parents to the rest of the younger qualifiers making up most of the session. Alex James was also spotted with a mid day appearance for a couple warm up laps too.
Nevin Metzger The conditions could be blamed for the smaller turnout than last year but the local kids came out with quality over numbers. A lot of great stuff was thrown down during the practice turned night time jam qualifiers. 270’s on, switch ups and the variety of 2-7s out. On the more populated side of the age gap was Martin Boulais, who impressed with a lot of style and variety during the qualifiers. A whole lot of kids eased through the day jam, with likes of 14 year old Nevin Metzger previewing the aforementioned age gap in newschool skiing with the next generation of kids who have obviously grown up skiing park.Watch The VideoNear the very end of qualifying I brought out the DV cam for kicks, just in time to see Max Hill get in a quick practice run... 270 in with a shifty 270 out, see ya later.In the nighttime finals, the qualifying field was slightly trimmed. The field was then cut down to a final 5 following the jam session. The 5 skiers battled it out in a best trick super session. Alex James, Dave Bishop, Martin Boulais, Max Hill, and Nevin Metzger got in as many runs as possible under the buzzer, which was really all about how fast you could run uphill in ski boots. While young Nevin focused on perfecting his style and cleaning a 270 out off the 40 footer, the rest made their attempts at 270’s on. Competitors were complaining that they couldn't really see the rail on their in-run, likely leading to the problems a few skiers had making the same tricks they had made during qualifying. Dave bishop couldn't quite nail down the switch 270 consitently, while Max later said the rail was un-450-able in his own defense. Leaving Martin Boulais to take third place with a couple smooth 270s on and off variations. Max along with Charles Grant on follow cam duty made numerous attempts to 270 on and 450 off, but cleaning a couple 270’s off in between was enough to land Max in 2nd place. Ultimately Alex James put down the best trick of the night, a left switch 270 on and a backside 270 out. It may not have been the biggest and “bestest” frozen rail jam to date (previous years had more than 1 rail!), but being from the east coast we’re used to making the best of what we’ve got. And once the oversized checks were signed, and the free K2 shwag handed out, there wasn't much to complain about as attentions turned to the after party only a few hundred feet away in the village at Kaytoo.
Martin Boulais 270's with ease.
Max Hill with with Charles Grant on the follow cam.
Alex James takes $500 with this switch 270 in and back 270 out.
Final results:1st place - Alex James - $5002nd place - Max Hill - $2003rd place - Martin Boulais - $100