Jam series starts up next week

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— Riding a wave of popularity that began with its debut last year, the Friday Night Jib Jam series will continue this winter in Gondola Square.

"This event packs a whole lot of excitement into a pretty small spot," said Mike Lane, spokesman for Steamboat Ski Area. "This is a great opportunity to build some excitement in Gondola Square and introduce some new features to the Steamboat Ski Area."

This year, the two-event Jib Jam series will open Dec. 23; the ski area will unveil a new rail during the event. Riders will attempt to thrill spectators by riding down a specially designed in-run -- attached to the ski school building -- before sliding onto the rail and performing tricks.

After the jam session, the rail will be moved to its permanent home in the SoBe Terrain Park at the ski area.

A second event will take place Jan. 13 in Gondola Square. Like the Dec. 23 event, the second Jib Jam program will feature a new rail.

The idea behind the rail jam sessions is to get a group of top riders to push one another with new tricks and smooth riding during the hour-long sessions. Organizers of the event hope the format inspires creativity and gives people a reason to head to Gondola Square on Friday nights.

The event also is a chance for youths to showcase moves that will drive skiing and snowboarding into the next generation.

The Friday Night Jib Jam series began last winter with three events in Gondola Square. Lane said spectators crowded Gondola Square to catch a glimpse of the top riders and the tricks they performed.

This year, he expects the Mav--ericks Freeride team to attend the opening event. Select regional and local athletes also will be invited to ride during the jam sessions.

The events will be built around a party atmosphere with prize giveaways and a deejay. Prizes also will be given to the skiers and riders who perform the best tricks.

"The rail jams are a testament to Steamboat's commitment to the new school of snowriders and our dedication to providing exciting family entertainment," said Andy Wirth, vice president of sales and marketing for the ski area.

This year, the ski area will unveil the 40-foot Flaming Rain--bonana, which was designed by Steamboat's K.R. "Cactus" Nemec.

Nemec owns Cactofab, a design and fabrication company that has designed and constructed snowboard and skateboard features in Steamboat.

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