Tenth annual Western Rail Jam features new name, location, Red Bull support

A student hits the rainbow rail at Cranor Hill on his snowboard. Carbon Peak and the Anthracites are visible in the background.

Tenth annual Western Rail Jam features new name, location, Red Bull support

Eliza Lockhart
Photo by Jan 28, 2019

Western Colorado University’s annual Rail Jam—this year called Bails n’ Rails—will be held Saturday, Feb. 9 from 6-9 p.m. at Cranor Hill to accommodate a wider range of athletes.

“The new venue allows us to create a larger, more fun course for our riders to compete on,” said Ryan Zimmerman, a member of the hosting student group Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) Project.  

Hosting Rail Jam at Cranor Hill expands competition to all athletes who are 18 years old or older. Previously, when the event was on campus, only Western students were allowed to participate. 

“We want to bring people from outside of Western, Gunnison and Crested Butte to compete and add a whole different aspect to our annual competition,” Zimmerman said. “We believe outside schools will see what Western is about and will envy the opportunities we have been given as students at Western.”

The initial Rail Jam took place as a friendly competition among skiers and snowboarders. Today, it stands as one of Western’s strongest traditions.

“Our main goal of the event is to provide a fun and entertaining night for the audience, as well as give Western something to be proud of,” Zimmerman said.

Also joining the event this year is one of the Red Bull MXT trucks. 

Bails n’ Rails is one of many initiatives the ICE Project is up to this year. They have helped create the makerspace ICE Studio in Leslie J. Savage Library, hosted the Techstars Start-Up Weekend, volunteered with Gunnison Middle School once a month for “Design Days” and traveled to Peru to connect with nonprofit Peruvian Hearts.