By Joe Johnson
The sixth annual Daniel Boone Rail Jam ski and snowboard competition will be returning to the Daniel Boone Amphitheater on Saturday, March 14, with doors opening at 5pm. The Rail Jam will directly follow the St. Patrick’s Parade being held in downtown Boone on the same day.
This year’s Rail Jam is going to feature several changes in the competition’s structure, most notably, the participants in the contest must be directly invited to join one of the two teams: Appalachian Ski Mountain or Beech Mountain Resort. Riders who were not invited to join a team will still have a chance to make one of two additional rider slots on each team during the open competition that will begin the evening of the Rail Jam. Men and women riders as well as skiers and snowboarders will all be competing together on the same teams. “It’s a full deck of competition; it’s going to be a team format, which is much different from any other competition that has happened in the High Country,” said Danny Wilcox, Founder of the Daniel Boone Rail Jam, “We didn’t want to exclude any potential riders when we made the competition invite-only, but it’s important that we switch to the new format to showcase the best of the best talent that’s up here. It’s a fun, working-together, team format that showcases some of the top riders in the area.”
Food trucks, local craft beer vendors, live music, games, and more will be on-site for guests to enjoy while they spectate the Rail Jam happening in the center of all the action. The course setup for the Rail Jam is different this year, with three separate drop-in options now available for riders to make their entrances from various directions. The course will run from the back of the amphitheater stage forward toward where the audience will be located; everyone in attendance will have a comfortable viewpoint of the competition with this setup. After the main event ends at 9pm, there will be a DJ group coming to the amphitheater to end the night of festivities with an electronic-visual concert experience from 9pm – 10pm.
In order to produce enough snow for the winter sports competition to occur in the middle of March, those behind Daniel Boone Rail Jam have to resort to somewhat unusual methods of snow production. Since they can’t rely on significant snowfall this time of year in Boone, a truckload of ice is brought into the venue that is shredded into fine enough particles to make for a perfect snow-covered Rail Jam course. “We’re bringing in an 18-wheeler full of ice, a crew called Snow My Yard from Raleigh, they bring out their snow shredder, we go through pallets of ice, and with a lot of volunteer help we are able to shred it up and rock-n-roll even if it’s 80 degrees outside,” said Wilcox.
Daniel Boone Rail Jam is made possible because of the efforts of We Can So You Can, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing programs in the High Country and beyond. We Can So You Can has been working directly with the Daniel Boone Amphitheater in its efforts to improve the facility. “We just finished building a new roof, we upgraded the electrical systems, we put in brand new LED lights, new power for the stage to eventually hold concerts,” said Wilcox, “We hope to keep improving that facility for future events.”
Tickets for the Daniel Boone Rail Jam are available online right now for $5 at https://danielboonerailjam.com/ and will become $10 per ticket about a week before the event; tickets may be purchased at the door of the Rail Jam for $10.
Pictures from last year’s event: