‘Rail Jam’ planned for plaza
The excitement of the Winter X Games won’t be limited to Buttermilk.
Athletes will be invited to perform stunts on the main rail in the Gondola Plaza and compete for prize money at the first-ever Aspen Rail Revolution on Friday, Jan. 31.
The handrail in the center of the staircase that leads from the plaza to the gondola will be modified with welded additions for the event, to be sponsored by the Aspen Skiing Co., local shop Polar Revolution and Red Bull, the energy drink.
“It’s going to be a spectacle, it’s going to be a show. It’s going to be a lot of fun,” said organizer Nancy Scheinkman, who appeared before the city’s Special Events Committee on Thursday. She is producing the event on behalf of the sponsors.
Organizers expect to attract a big crowd – an estimated 1,000 people – with the action, she said.
The event will begin with practice runs at 5 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. by two jam sessions with four skiers and four boarders competing in each session. Finalists will advance to one last session. Two cash prize of $2,500 will be awarded to the best overall performance among the skiers and the snowboarders.
A discjockey will provide music for the event, which should wrap up by 8:30 p.m., Scheinkman said.
A small ramp will be constructed at the top of the rail to give competitors a starting point. A truckload of snow at the bottom will provide a landing zone, but there will be no crash pads on the concrete steps.
“If they fall and hit the steps, they fall and hit the steps,” she said.
An ambulance and ski patrollers will be on hand to handle any injuries. Helmets will be required of participants.
Committee members stressed the crowd cannot swell out from the plaza onto Durant Avenue, a major thoroughfare and bus route. And, if a fire alarm goes off in any building surrounding the plaza, “that event ends, period,” said Ed Van Walraven, fire marshal.
“I think this is a great event. You are going to get a lot of people,” said Tim Ware, head of the city Parking Department.
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