A Rail Jam In Montana

On Saturday, December 17, the mercury dropped to almost 20 below in Big Sky, Montana, but still some 500 people showed up to stand out in the cold and watch a bunch of dudes do some tricks on snow and steel.

R.U.S.T, (dig the obscure acronym), or Rails Under Stars, is Big Sky resort’s annual jib jamboree. This was the second year the resort has hosted the event. Riders from around the state, and even a few out-of -staters were invited to the evening exhibition, and although there wasn’t anything on the line, i.e. cash or prizes, everyone seemed stoked to be involved.

“It’s exciting to see these kinds of events in Montana, Ian Clark said. Clark came from Missoula for the event, and although his binding broke, no doubt as a result of the bitter cold, he had a good time regardless.

“It was a super fun set-up, we were all just having fun, and we really couldn’t notice the cold, Clark said. ” If anything, I just wish we had more time to hit it all.

The set-up included a 30-foot round bar, a down-flat-down rail, and a 35-foot flat-gap-down box. There was also a mini-quarter pipe in the run out that served as a slashing wall, something to lipslide, or blunt stall, and occasionally a place to plant a hand.

Terrain park director Joe Pope was pleased with the final product and glad to see some of the state’s best shreds come together for the event.

“It’s always fun to have everyone here, Pope said. “And thank God, there was so much hot action, because it was cold out.

Hot action indeed: There were frontsides through the bent bar, 270’s on, pretzels off, lots of nose and tail wheelies, and even a few inverted aerial maneuvers thrown in for good measure. It is still Montana, after all.

The hour-long event came to a Technicolor conclusion with a fireworks display, followed by a brief trophy ceremony. Seventeen-year-old Kyle Miller of Helena and Jason Robinson from Whitefish both got an equal number of shouts from the rest of the riders, so, to settle the tie, the two decided to throw for it: Sudden-death RoShamBo. One throw, on three, to determine an official winner.

One… two … three. Jason, winner of last year’s event, stabbed with scissors, but Kyle came up clenching a rock of a fist to take the title.

It was an appropriately informal finale to the event, and one that seemed to reinforce the fact that, in snowboarding, (especially snowboarding in places like Montana) contests are often more about simply getting together with some like-minded shreds and making a few new friends, and less about making your way to the podium.