Weather for today calls for snow

Looking for something exciting to do today? Head on down to Pioneer Square for the Ford Campus Rail Jam Tour 2011 finals.

Looking for something exciting to do today? Head on down to Pioneer Square for the Ford Campus Rail Jam Tour 2011 finals. The event starts at 3 p.m. and will run until about 7 p.m. although the after party will go through the night. For those who aren’t familiar with the event, Campus Rail Jam Tour describes the promotion on their website as a “grassroots snow sports movement, dedicated to promoting the amateur ski and snowboard scene.”

The Campus Rail Jam Tour travels to multiple universities throughout the west coast region, setting up two-story tall scaffolding with real snow and multiple rails for snowboarders and skiers to perform high-flying jumps and tricks. The tour hopes to not only promote extreme winter sports, but also is looking to find the next Shaun White.

For this particular event, the Portland Finals, all the top finishers from the past eight competitions will go against one another to win the grand prize of $5,000 and, as their website states, “bragging rights till next year.” There will be a host of prizes and other free stuff given out by the sponsors of the event. The main sponsor of the event is Ford, while other sponsors include K2 Skis, Roxy and First Drop Clothing.

Unfortunately, for those local Portlanders who might have wanted to participate, this is not the typical apply-to-ride deal. However, there is always the opportunity for next year. It is possible to compete in an event, even if it’s not hosted at your school, or even if you are not a student, all you have to do is fill out the application and commute to where the event is and show off your best moves.

The event is free to attend, and there will be a 21+ beer garden with about 15 kegs of free beer donated by Widmer. There will also be live music at the event, and an after-party held at a local bar. The destination of the after party was not available at the time of print, but will be announced at the event. The finals are broken down into about three heats, and then the top finalists will advance to the final round, which will start around 6 p.m.

The finals have been held in Portland for the past four years, said visionary Parker Bolden, but the tours have been going on for five years. The very first Campus Rail Jam was held at Oregon State University, originally dubbed “Snow in the Quad,” and was set up by two OSU students, Dan Genco and Ryan Kirkpatrick, as their senior project.

Due to the size of the scaffolding that is used to create the ramps and rails, the structure is actually set up the day before event. As for the actual powder, they lay it down about two hours prior to the kickoff of the event. If you’re interested in seeing a winter wonderland happen before your eyes, make sure to be in Pioneer Square around 1 p.m. To get an idea for how much snow they typically use, last week at the OSU event they laid down about 30 tons of snow.

“Free event, free beer, music, it’s just a really good time. Not to generalize college kids…but it’s a good time for college kids,” Bolden said. ?