Approximately 1,500 people turned out to downtown Courtenay on Friday evening to watch the inaugural 6th Street Rail Jam, one of the 14-plus opening events for this year’s Comox Valley WinterFest celebrations.
The event was put on by the VI Riders Snowboard Club and the Mount Washington Freestyle Club, in collaboration with Comox Valley Economic Development (CVEDS) and the Downtown Courtenay BIA (DCBIA), in particular the Atlas Cafe and Ski Tak Hut, who is celebrating their 40th year in business. The City of Courtenay council and staff were also incredibly supportive by permitting the road closure and assisting with snow removal.
This event was a huge undertaking and would not have been possible without the support of local businesses. At 4 p.m. Friday, 6th Street was closed between Cliffe and Duncan avenues so preparations could be made for the 7 p.m. event, which included trucking in several loads of snow, setting up scaffolding, a ramp and a variety of rail jam features.
Due to the high skill level required, this was an invitational event. The skiers and snowboarders were divided into two categories, U19 and 19+. Twenty-five athletes did a fantastic job entertaining the crowd with a variety of spins, jumps and flips.
In the U19 snowboard category, third place went to Axel Noringseth, second to Josh Brooks and first to Thomas Bergvinson. In the 19+ snowboard category, Nic Dicesare was third, Morgan Rogers second and Lewis (Bubba) Muldoe was first.
For U19 skiers, Ben Tibbles was second and Brandon Playford was first. In the female skier category, Sarah Rocque took second and Paula Moore was first.
In the 19+ skier category, Jordan McDermid was third, Alphes Bourdeau second and Avery Rankin first.
Patrick Kitto took home the award for Best Overall Bail of the evening, which was presented at an official after-party at the Avalanche Bar and Grill.
Event organizers thank Emcon Services, K&T Trucking, JR Edgett Excavating, Tayco Paving Co., Pilon Tool Rentals and Gary Marcus Trucking for helping with the snow.
Thanks also to Happy’s Source for Sports for allowing their driveway to be used as a snow storage area. The rail jam features, ramp and scaffolding were provided by Jump Camp, CanWest Mechanical, Lifestyle Metal Ventures and Kindred Snowboards.
Other volunteers included the Comox Valley Citizens on Patrol, St. John Ambulance, event MCs Mischa Christian and Kevin Flesher, and park crew Jesse and Adam who kept the rail jam course safe throughout the event.
The funky tunes were provided by John Mang and DJ Lady K, with equipment from Long and McQuade. All of the evening’s prizes were provided by Ski Tak Hut, sponsored by Armada Skis, Niche Snowboards, 686 and Salomon Snowboards.
Other events included the opening of the WinterFest Fun Zone (5th Street and England Avenue) which featured free skating, ice carving, a Movie Night and Mount Washington’s Mogul the Marmot this weekend, plus lots of après skiing live entertainment in downtown pubs and restaurants.
For more information on other events happening until Jan. 29, visit CVWinterFest.com or call the Vancouver Island Visitor Centre, 250-400-2882.