The Back in Blue Rail Jam is East Tennessee’s most anticipated Ski/Snowboard Event and for good reason. Since 2009, an evening filled with music, snow and athletes has marked the opening of the highly anticipated Winter Sports Season. At this year’s staging there was no shortage of snowboarders ready to rip and jump the rails.
“We have around 70 competitors registered for the competition tonight—all excited for that first run of the season,” says Kent Anders, President of Ober Gatlinburg, Inc. “We are thankful to have product on the ground, this early in the season, to offer the Rail Jam and Snow Tubing just in time for the holiday.”
Our Tubing Park was transformed into the ultimate snow sport arena, allowing riders of all ages to showcase their talent freestyling on their boards and skis.
Kent Anders, President of Ober Gatlinburg, Inc.
Giveaways & Refreshments
There was everything at this year’s event—from mugs, koozies, goggles, helmets, to snowboards and snow boots. The only missing element may have been you, if you missed it. The evening kicked off with exciting beats being played by the “Master of Music” for the night, DJ Red. Our faithful sponsors had their spread of giveaways, prizes and top-rated gear for sale on the snow in the Vendor Village surrounding the event zone. In attendance were representatives from Volunteer Chevrolet, Puzzled, Pluto Sports, Prinoth, Dakine and Ole Smokey Moonshine—just to name a few. Neither spectator nor participant went hungry as there were burgers and hotdogs provided by the Ober Snack Bar.
Registration was conducted in the Mountain Coaster & Tubing Retail Shop where competitors who had pre-registered could check in, collect their bib numbers and receive their event t-shirts. Those who had missed the deadline but couldn’t bear to miss the ultimate kick-off to a great season, were able to sign up in person and receive their numbers and shirts as well. All 69 participants then gathered at the base of the Magic Carpet for their orientation before heading onto the course ahead of competition time. It was quite a cool evening, so spectators were able to purchase beanies and gloves to stay warm while they enjoyed the event.
Spectators were lined up along the barrier wall of the Tubing Park and some were seated in the bleacher area on the snow. Supportive parents cheered as their kids tackled the 50° slope and threw down their best tricks all over the course. The course had 6 major features that each rider had to choose from to showcase their skills: a 6-foot jump closer to the top of the slope, the OG tube at top skiers left, the hitching post at top skiers right, the double barrel at the center, the Battleship at lower skiers left and the Rainbow at lower skiers right.
The 6-foot jump took out the first snowboarder of the night. They were followed by a couple of failed flips. Eventually the riders got their footing and gained good air for the remainder of the event. Soon, the competition heated up and was a blast to watch. Of course, the OGFT (Ober Gatlinburg Freestyle Terrain) Park Crew were always assuring that every participant complied with safety precautions, despite the falls, no one was hurt.
The Battleship seemed to be the hardest rail to conquer, and it allowed the best competitors to show what they were made of, by completing a full glide along the angled rail. The Best Grab of the night cash prize went to Ryan Grab… yes that is his name—and he snowboarded away with the title. The other judging categories included the Most Stoked, Best Slam, Most Creative, Ole Smokey’s Best Trick and more.
The night ended with a great performance by Three Star Revival at the Pepsi Stage. Participants danced the night away while Ober’s Snow Team worked on removing the features and to cut the lanes for Snow Tubing, opening the following day.
Ober Gatlinburg’s Freestyle Terrain Back in Blue Rail Jam is committed to providing a great experience for skiers, snowboarders and spectators, fostering the culture of snow sports here in the great state of Tennessee. We hope to see you next year!