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Inaugural rail jam draws a crowd, clown

Ronald McDonald was the first to drop in the inaugural McDonald’s Rail Jam...

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Ronald McDonald was the first to drop in the inaugural McDonald’s Rail Jam last Friday, April 21, crashing at the bottom of the 27-foot long double-kink rail that was hung off the side of the GLC patio for the event. He was still smiling when he got up, but it sent the message early that you could get seriously hurt on this stunt if you clowned around.

Thousands of spectators flooded Mountain Square to witness the rail jam, in which 10 pro skiers and 10 pro snowboarders faced off for $10,000 in prizes. Because it was a jam format and the athletes got a minimum of five runs each, the athletes took a few chances early that paid off.

Freeskier Iannick B. jumped into an early lead among the skiers after pulling off a perfect example of a move called a Sex Change. Basically the skier spins 90 degrees to get onto the rail, slides about halfway down, and jumps another 180 degrees to slide the rest of the way in the other direction. By the time they hit the snow again the skier has spun a full 360 degrees.

In the snowboard event, Whistler’s Jesse Fox landed a perfect 270 spin to a frontside boardslide on his first jump, clearing all but the last section of the rail, and then spun another 270 off the rail again to land a huge double-move.

In the women’s snowboard event Ontario’s Susi Davis 50-50 grinded the entire kinked rail on her second run, the only rider to accomplish that feat during the jam.

With the bar set high, the other skiers and riders in the contest had less than an hour to try and upset the order of things.

Nobody came close to Iannick B. from Grand-Piles, Quebec, and he landed his trick several more times to prove to the judges that it wasn’t a fluke.

Although Colorado’s Steele Spence came close with a slightly shakier Sex Change of his own, it wasn’t enough to bump Iannick from the top of the leader board.

"I’ve always liked the rails best," said Iannick, who also competes in halfpipe and big air contests.

Third place went to Josh Bibby, who nailed a 270 spin to a grind in the last few minutes of the competition.

Only two women took part in the skier contest, Canadian legend Sarah Burke and Pennsylvania’s Kristi Leskinen.

Both skiers had a few falls, Burke onto the crotch and Leskinen onto her cheek, but by the end of the contest they were dropping from the rail on the steps and skiing out. The edge went to Burke who got a lot more air jumping onto the rail.

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