By Jason Pirie
Nov 14 2007
You know the winter season is upon us when Banff Avenue transforms into a giant skier and rider's playground.
Organizers of the fourth annual CP Rail Jam Weekend are energetically in the midst of preparing to ensure that this year's two-day competition, which is slated for Nov. 30 and Dec.1, is the finest yet.
"It's going to be bigger and better than ever," Cathy Geisler, Banff Special Events project manager, said. "It's going to be one big street party.
"We had upwards of 3,000 people at the event two years ago. Last year, the numbers were down a bit because of poor weather, but we are anticipating a big turnout again this year."
Top pro free riders - 20 skiers and 20 riders - will compete for grand prizes and a whopping purse of $20,000 cash in their respective categories.
A new skier's category was added for this year's installment to represent a full winter offering, Geisler said.
"Having the skiers involved will also create new energy, as they will compete with riders together in an open jam format," she added.
Amateur riders will open the CP Rail Jam Weekend on the first night of the event when they battle head-to-head for prizes, and more importantly, an invitation to the following evening's Pro Invitational.
"Saturday night's Pro Invitational is guaranteed to amaze spectators," Geisler said. "Top names in the sport will be competing for big cash prizes."
Each category winner will take home $6,000; second place, $3,000, and third place, $1,000.
This year's event promises new rail features and extended time for tricks, as well as live bands entertaining those that decide to congregate at the Coors Light Beer Garden. There will also be big screen movies, a local food fair, specialty drink stations, and a kid's zone offering photos with Santa Claus, carnival games, performers and a Christmas craft centre.
To host such a highly anticipated event, an estimated 70 volunteers will be needed to ensure the entire weekend runs smoothly, Geisler noted.
"We definitely welcome anyone who is interested in helping out. To put an event like this on, it takes a big crew of volunteers and months of planning," she said.
For those interested in volunteering at the CP Rail Jam Weekend, e-mail email@example.com or for a full event calendar and information on the WinterStart Festival, visit www.skibig3.com/winterstart