Wildwood Rail Jam at Great Divide, Montana

Words: Shane Stalling Photos: Reid Morth Video: Jonny Durst

This past weekend was the 3rd annual Wildwood Rail Jam just outside of  Helena, Montana at the Great Divide Ski Area.   For those of you who don’t know, this ski area has all sorts of crazy features set up in the middle of the woods, including a 30 stair-set handrail you may have seen in Nc productions “Almost Dead”.

Jason Robinson hikes uphill through the smoke for another hit.

Jason Robinson hikes uphill through the smoke for another hit.

Low temps enabled great divide to blow enough snow to open every feature, meaning more fun for everyone.  On friday night,  local shop Four-O-Six,  had a showing of Autumn Lines “Montevideo” featuring Helena local and all around ripper Kyle Miller.  If you haven’t seen this movie, it’s definitely worth a watch. Just don’t forget to have your Nintendo controller in hand while doing so.

The next morning the parking lot filled up quickly with shredders from  around the state eager to strap in to their boards and get those tricks they had been daydreaming about all summer.  The full line consisted of both a 20 and 30 stair-set with a rail and box on either side,  a wall ride and two Paul Bunyan sized picnic tables.  Next to the park there was a run full of fresh man-made snow whales to play on. Lots of boarding went down all day, but once it turned night, it was time to get down to business.

Shane Stalling decided to jump through some trees instead of hitting rails. Possibilities are endless at Wildwood

Shane Stalling decided to jump through some trees instead of hitting rails. Possibilities are endless at Wildwood

People drank the bar completely out of booze, no joke…and a rope tow behind the bar kept people snowboarding in the “backyard” park well into the night.

The finals consisted of 10 riders.  Standouts I remember were Todd Kirby’s crazy switch-ups and Carson Wiser’s textbook style while locking in tricks. Jack Thornvold recently started at MSU and brought his Minnesota rail  steeze  along with him while Montana native Jason Robinson did 3 different 270s onto the down rail among numerous other tech tricks.  At the end Todd Kirby was declared the winner for dancing around on the rail as if he was the next snowboarder on Dancing With the Stars.  Jason Robinson was a very close second, but could have easily won it.  But the best part of this contest is that nobody really cares who wins, its more about seeing all your friends before the season starts and snowboarding together. After the awards local film “Make Believe” played on the big screen while people drank the bar completely out of booze (no joke, even with a beer sponsor) and a rope tow behind the bar kept people snowboarding in the “backyard” park well into the night.

1st Place finisher Todd Kirby eyes up his Front Blunt same way.

1st Place finisher Todd Kirby eyes up his Front Blunt same way.

Huge thanks go out to Great Divide owner Kevin Taylor and the rest of his family for making it happen, Papu at local shop Four-O-Six for getting prizes together, Monster Energy, PBR (yes the beer) and to JP, Miah, Kevin and everyone else for all their hard work making the jibs hittable and the vibe fun.

Check out more about Great Divide and their Wildwood terrain park at www.skigd.com