February 27, 2019
The fourth annual Pitt-Johnstown Ski-and-Board Club Rail Jam event has been rescheduled for March 2. According to club vice president Rachel Denning, the event was postponed to Saturday because of weather conditions.
Denning said that Pitt-Johnstown used to be an old ski resort. (UPJ Greeks editors note: UPJ was never a ski resort)
“(Club members) like to take on the tradition and bring people who enjoy the sport together, because it’s a really expensive sport and most people don’t get to do it together as a group.”
Club treasurer Isa Lanthaler said that club members received $1,745 for banners, giveaway prizes and an ambulance in student government emergency allocations for the event.
“We construct the entire park,” Lanthaler said. “Engineers are building it in (the Engineering and Science building).”
She said they’re building it out of plastic pipes and a lot of wood, adding that things like heaters and a microphone were already previously owned, as well as a snow blower.
She also said that Seven Springs ski resort staff are to help construct and move snow, and Pitt-Johnstown fraternity Kappa Delta Rho is responsible for the music.
In order to ensure students’ safety, Denning said that all students participating must wear helmets.
“Civil engineer students are building all the equipment for the trails.
“All of the Pitt-Johnstown student-made features are held to a certain standard, (and) are approved by (civil engineering professor) Brian Houston,” she said.
“We will have an ambulance posted on the property at all times.”
Houston said his responsibility is to look at rails and check for safety.
“Especially for its bend and wheel,” he said. “They absolutely are going to need helmets during the events.
”Any sports will need it, so you wouldn’t get wounded and hurt yourself with high speed.”
Houston said that he was a judge for the event two years ago.
“(I didn’t have any experience, but) it was amazing for me. They told me that my judgment was as good as the judges who had a lot of experience.
“I’m a civil engineering professor, and I really didn’t know about Rail Jam before they picked me as a judge.
“I just justified their landing-ground skill and how difficult their moves were when they were jumping from the tower, then I see how well they turned over.
“This year I got asked to check safety. They built a tower last year, so they can get higher potential energy to get started,” Houston said.
Although there were students drinking alcohol in previous events, Denning said that they still follow the same campus rules.
“No glass bottles and underage drinking are allowed. We have flyers saying that this is a ‘substance-free event.’
“Our hope is to continue this event in the further years with everyone staying safe and having fun.”
Sophomore Edward Fitzpatrick said he is participating in the event this year.
“I went last year. It was pretty fun. There is danger, as it is a pretty dangerous sport.
“But they made people wear helmets. Plus, they’ve been doing this for years; everybody’s experienced. And it’s really fun, so I guess it outweighs the danger,” he said.