published Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Chattanooga Rail Jam

Make tracks to city's first snowboarding competition

Normally, Chattanooga-area residents have to wait on the weather to provide a chance to snowboard, just as Josiah Brower did when about an inch of snow fell at the Lookout Mountain Golf and Country Club in December 2010. This weekend, Shaun White wannabes can put their skills to the test with the Chattanooga Rail Jam competition in the parking lot at Mellow Mushroom Waterside.
Normally, Chattanooga-area residents have to wait on the weather to provide a chance to snowboard, just as Josiah Brower did when about an inch of snow fell at the Lookout Mountain Golf and Country Club in December 2010. This weekend, Shaun White wannabes can put their skills to the test with the Chattanooga Rail Jam competition in the parking lot at Mellow Mushroom Waterside.
Photo by Dan Henry /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
IF YOU GO

What: Chattanooga Rail Jam

When: 4-10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23

Where: Mellow Mushroom Waterside, 2318 Lifestyle Way

Admission: Free but a $5 donation to Tennessee RiverKeepers is good for one drink ticket

Phone: 423-892-6767

Website: http://railjamsignup.pgtb.me/fGqzpb

Nevermind the predicted high of 57 degrees. A snowstorm will hit Chattanooga on Saturday, Feb. 23, but this cold front will get no farther than the Mellow Mushroom parking lot in East Brainerd.

For Chattanooga Rail Jam, the city's first snowboarding competition, 6 tons of snow is forecast, and periodic "storms" will blow through to keep this mini snowboard park ready for action.

"We're building a jump-off ramp that's 10 feet high," says Steve Gilbert, owner of Dodge City Ski Shop on East Brainerd Road. "(Competitors) will slide down, make a jump and snowboard across the rail."

Dodge City is a co-sponsor of the event, along with Mellow Mushroom Waterside. The Waterside Lifestyle Center is off Shallowford Road between I-75 and Gunbarrel Road.

Up to 25 snowboarders will vie for first-, second- and third-place prizes, which include a Sweetwater 420 Fest VIP vacation and prize packs from Dodge City, Mellow Mushroom and Red Bull.

Gilbert says only experienced snowboarders will be allowed to compete, but he expects the event will draw a fair share of spectators who'll want to try out his shop's virtual ski machine, which teaches the basics of skiing and snowboarding before would-be enthusiasts hit the slopes.

For most area residents, resorts in the mountains of North Carolina and West Virginia are the most common destinations for winter sports, along with Cloudmont Ski Resort in Mentone, Ala.

"Many of my skiers have learned to ski or snowboard there (at Mentone)," Gilbert says. ... "It's a great place to go down and learn."

Scheduled from 4 to 10 p.m., the Rail Jam also will feature music by Rosedale Remedy and Baby Baby.

The event is a fundraiser for Tennessee RiverKeeper, which works to protect the Tennessee River and its tributaries from pollution. Attendees who offer a $5 donation to the organization will receive a drink ticket for a free premium draft beer or vodka.

Contact staff writer Lisa Denton at ldenton@times free press.com or 423-757-6281.

about Lisa Denton...

Lisa Denton is deputy features editor and content editor of Current. She previously was a lifestyle, entertainment and region reporter/pod leader for The Chattanooga Times, which she joined in 1983. Lisa is from Sale Creek and holds an associate’s degree in journalism from Chattanooga State Community College. Contact Lisa at 423-757-6281 or ldenton@timesfreepress.com.

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