Impromptu "Rail Jam" a Huge Success in Sutton
By Nancy Helmuth
One of the weirest sporting events in the history of Sutton took place on Saturday and was a huge success: Organizers of the "Rodeo Fest" on Sutton Mountain cancelled Saturday's events due to the lack of snow, which left a group of snowboard enthusiasts, who had planned their annual "Rail Jam", stranded. But the people at the "Balance Board Shop" in Cowansville had happened to notice that the town of Sutton had amassad a huge hill of snow against the wall of the former Filtex factury. This wall abuts the parking lot of "Resto Lounge Sutton". Phone calls were made, and the owner of the restaurant closed off his parking lot. Eight hours of hard work transferred the ugly wall of snow into a twelve meter high snow boarding venue smack in the center of Sutton village.
The enthusiastic folks from the Adrenalin" and the "Balance Board Shop" as well as their sponsors from "Nomis", "Surfface", "Technine" and "Coors Lite" built a starting gate, erected tents for spectators, brought in computer scoring equipment and lighting. The "hill" was sculpted to have a stairway, the ramp, the rail and a safe landing circle for the athletes.
By six pm. everything was ready for the 30 snowboarders to get familiar with the jump and the rail and curious Suttonites came to see what was going on. By the time the event started in earnest at 8:30 pm, there were hundreds of onlookers enjoying the spectacle.
The manager of the "Balance Board Shop" was enthusiastic and seemed to have everything well in hand, from registration to crowd control, advise and encouragement.
For an impromptu and unadvertised event to a festive night in Sutton, this was one fun spectacle for everyone who had the chance to watch or to participate. The snow will melt and this unofficial second Sutton ski mountain will disappear but people in town will remember this one for a long time.