Keystone Resort holds ‘Back to the Grind’ rail jam

Winner Joe Mango, doing the damn thing. P: Tucker Burton/ Keystone Resort

The snow has arrived, the goggle tans are coming in nicely, and the park is open; the 12/13 season is already looking promising at Keystone. With the Red Bull flowing, a solid set of features and a crowd of stoked early season shreds, Keystone Resort welcomed riders back to the slopes, holding the second event of its A51 River Run Rail Series: Back to the Grind.

The series' first jam, The Backyard BBQ Rail Session, closed out the summer in style, with Keystone's dedicated park crew sweating it out in the September sunshine to turn 15 tons of ice chip into a full on rail jam. Thankfully for the crew, mother nature did most of the work for round two; 'Back to the Grind' went off in conjunction with the resort's opening weekend, giving riders a chance to battle it out for early season bragging rights.

While September's session saw a plethora of frat tanks and sunburns, this round was a much more fitting temperature; so much so, in fact, that the intended format of three 15-minutes heats was abandoned in favor of a 30 minute, all-in jam session. The entire field of competitors—skiers and snowboarders alike— rallied to the rails in an effort to take home a cash purse and earn free entry into next year's Backyard BBQ Rail Session. Luke McAdams and Adam Stromwall repeated their roles as judge and jury, while MC Joshua Stock kept the mic busy and the masses entertained.

Tweaking last round’s set up— two down rails split by a cannon—Back To The Grind brought out a down rail, flat-down box and double kink rail. Joe Mango rallied the crowd throughout the session, cementing the win while Jeff DeForge took second. Emily Blewitt, who took home second in the Backyard BBQ jam, upped the ante this time around, taking home the top spot. Erika Vikander kindly stepped up to fill that empty second place spot.

Keystone's A51 Terrain Park is also celebrating its 10-year anniversary; the park covers over 60 acres and boasts over 100 features, and 20+ jumps. With 25 of these features already up and running, Keystone Resort currently claims the biggest open terrain park in the country.

Round three of the A51 River Run Rail Series is set to go down on April 6, 2013, a proper send-off to the season.