Words & photos: Riley Snyder

Although West Virginia is not known as a ski destination, every Halloween Pathfinder of WV puts on a large invite-only rail jam called the Motown Throwdown in downtown Morgantown. The competition started a mere four years ago and has grown from a box in the Morgantown courthouse square to a full stair set and a stage taking up two city blocks of the main drag through downtown. Pathfinder of WV, the local ski/snowboard shop, wanted to put together an event for the snow community to liven up the city of Morgantown, known primarily as the home of West Virginia University, the burning of couches after winning big football games, and as one of the top contenders every year for Playboy Magazine’s top party school town. Drawn for a different reason, riders flocked from as far away as New Hampshire, North Carolina, and even Colorado for the $1,000 cash prize awarded to the top finishers.

The premiere of Level 1’s Eye Trip the night before the jam got everyone stoked.

Pathfinder of WV is always expanding their selection of skis and snowboards.

This year, the guys at Pathfinder did it bigger than ever by adding a stage with live entertainment from the likes of Sean Nice and Beastie Boys’ DJ Mix Master Mike!

Mix Master Mike spinning in some dubstep, mashups, and hip hop in his routine.

Although the jam started a little late due to construction complications and the spreading of over five tons of snow, the snowboarders started things off strong with all sorts of rail trickery.

Corey Snyder with a solid nose press down the box.

Following snowboard qualifiers, the first round of skiing comprised mostly of locals began to shake things up. After the lengthy deliberation by the judges, the finals proceeded.

Pathfinder rider Tyler Pence goes for a 270 onto the rail.

Sessioning the rail as the crowd looks on from the ground and roofs of surrounding buildings.

Ninthward rider Noah Killen doing some 50-50 butters on the box.

In the spirit of Halloween, one of the judges dressed up as one of the lizard people from Land of the Lost.

Pathfinder rider Brandon Stark doing a change up on the rail.

Nick Fiorini greased that setup all night.

A broken lift didn’t prevent these riders from making it back to the top in a timely fashion. Justin Petricko killed it all night with all sorts of rail wizardry.

After copious amounts of performance analysis, the judges came in with a final tally barely missing a tie for first:


1) Brandon Stark

2) Justin Petricko

3) Noah Killen

Motown Throwdown organizer Andrew Walker with the ski winners. (From left to right) Announcer: AJ Lawson, 2nd place Justin Petricko, Andrew Walker, 1st place Brandon Stark, and 3rd place Noah Killen.

Sponsors of the event included: Pathfinder of WV, Oakley, Skullcandy, Red Bull, Greater Morgantown Convention and Visitors Bureau, Wisp Resort, BoPARC, Burton, DC, Forum, Special Blend, Lib Tech, and Gnu.