The BLOCK Rail Jam

So Cal may not be the snowboarding capital of the world but Bear Mountain sure knows how to host a shred event. Complete with the best riders in the game, sliding on, spinning over, or jib-bonking a plethora of features that all looked like they were built just for fun. It broke down like this: Friday saw “Fight Night in the Bear Block Hotel parking lot, Saturday the insanity took to the snow and then to the bar, and Sunday most people were left to recover until the Block Party BBQ.

The new Block Hotel in Big Bear hosted the off-hill events proving that, yes; you can puke chilidog in the parking lot, blast hip-hop at all hours, and have room parties without getting kicked out. It’s probably just that particular weekend, but it felt like a bunch of business savvy snowboarders run that place ... oh, wait, they do. MFM and Liko Smith are owners of The Block in Big Bear, as well as the Tahoe version.

For the second year, Marc Frank Montoya personally invited twenty riders to compete in a rail jam--and when the doctor calls, you best believe people listen. Riders competed at the base of Bear Mountain, so even the spectators could feel like they were in the mix. At the end of the day, some mind-boggling action went down. The standouts were Mike Casanova with tricks like his switch tail-slide through the kinked rail 270 out, and MFM who put together every combo on the down rail and easily gap back 270’d the kinked rail. Travis Parker, TJ Schneider, Chris Dufficy, and Iikka Backstrom mixed it up with creative handplants, 360’s off the tree, and all of them just plain upping the fun factor.

The surprise of the jam session, though, was eighteen-year old Nitro rider Joey Sexton from Minnesota. He got in on a wild card and stomped every trick in the book including his front boards through the 37-foot double kinked rail and his switch tail-slide 270 out on the 30-foot down bar. The riders judged each other and consistency and creativity paid off.

Although the level of snowboarding was almost incomprehensible, the after-party is why most people came--it was a night of free Ku vodka drinks. DJ Slipmatt and MFM were on the wheels of steel, and there was many a booty shakin’ on the dance floor. The night also saw the loss of a few cell phones, cameras, inhibitions, reputations, and brain cells, for sure--but guaranteed everyone in attendance will be back next year.


1. Mike Casanova $6,000
2. Joey Sexton $3,000
3. Marc Frank Montoya $1,500

Special thanks to Bree Livie, The Block and Bear Mountain for being such gracious hosts.