Ball State snowboarders grind rails at LaFollette Field

In a matter of days, the Ball State University Snowboarding and Ski Club, with help from another company, constructed an embankment of snow for its inaugural Rail Jam.

About 29 people participated, competing in pro and amateur categories. Students from Indiana University, Purdue University and University of Cincinnati also were invited.

President Clare Schroeder has been a member since it was started five yeas ago, and she said participation has grown each year. She said they wanted to have a Rail Jam for the past few years, but weren't able to carry it out.

Perfect North Slopes and Red Bull sponsored the event. Perfect North offered lift tickets to winners in each category and provided the rails at the bottom of the embankment. Red Bull offered a case of the drink to each winner.

Schroeder said she started skiing when she was 6 and snowboarding when she was 12. Skiing was a family activity, however, she said she's not much of a "park rider," referring to riding on the rails.

"[Snowboarding] is unlike anything else," she said. "It's like all your worries go away."

Evan Flueckiger, vice president of the Snowboarding Club, said he helped build the stairs up to the hill at LaFollette Field, as well as the bench along the top. A marketing major, Flueckiger said he likes setting up events like this. He said he also likes riding at Perfect North Slopes, located in Laurenceburg.

Senior Chad Torp said he learned to ski when he was 4 years old, and he started snowboarding two years ago. He lives in Southern Indiana near Paoli Peaks, where he likes to ride. He said it's fun, but it's nothing compared to the powder, the real snow, on the mountains in Colorado. Torp competed in the Pro category Saturday.

"The biggest trick I can do is a McTwist," he said. "I'm more of a big air guy."

Torp said his favorite thing about snowboarding is the risk. Last year, he lost his spleen while snowboarding and was flown by helicopter to the nearest hospital. The injury didn't really phase him though. Three months later, he was back to riding his dirt bike, another hobby, and was soon back on the slopes.

"[Snowboarding and dirt bike riding] are more individual sports," he said. "It's more of a confidence boost because you're the one doing the job. It's more competitive [than other sports]."

Torp said he wants to move to Colorado after college to pursue his degree in construction management, and being so close to the slopes is just an added bonus.

Rail Jam winners:
Pro category:
1. Seth Winn- received four lift tickets to Perfect North Slopes, a case of Red Bull, and $25 cash
2. Joe Bedinghaus- received two lift tickets to Perfect North
3. Gregg Bedinghaus- received two lift tickets to Perfect North

Ameteur category:
1. Chris Strbjak- recieved four lift tickets to Perfect North, a case of Red Bull and $10 cash
2. Erika Vance- received two lift tickets to Perfect North
3. John Hottle- received two lift tickets to Perfect North

Sponsors- Red Bull and Perfect North Slopes


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