Arts, Dining & Entertainment

A community of fun — Killington Resort delivers with the Loaded Turkey Rail Jam By Brooke Geery

By Brooke Geery

KILLINGTON—The longest season in the East is now “official” thanks to the 10th Loaded Turkey Rail jam, which took place on the Upper East Fall trail on Nov. 20. The amazing Woodward Killington park crew and the team of dedicated snow makers were able to put together an early-season set up of jibs, including three round rails and jersey barrier, despite warm temps and incessant rain leading up to the event. On Saturday, though, Mother Nature shone bright, with perfect temperatures and a bright blue sky illuminating the features.

By Brooke Geery
Callen Hwang prepping for a frontside 180 out of a 50-50.

Over 80 skiers and snowboarders showed up to compete — lots of locals, as well as riders from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and even as far as away as Minnesota — for the grand prize, a frozen turkey. Second place in each of the four divisions received a pumpkin pie, complete with whipped cream, and third-place finishers scored a can of delicious cranberry sauce. Top finishers also scored gear from the event sponsors Subaru, Mammut, Yeti, Armada Skis and Burton Snowboards.

Killington park manager Tucker Zink kicked things off with a rousing speech at the rider’s meeting.

“This is our first event since Slash and Berm 2020 and we’re really excited, we’re off to a great start, we’re the only ones open and we already have a park!” he said. “Be safe, have fun, support each other. This is all just for the fun of the community.”

The event was a jam format, with separate qualifiers for skiers and snowboarders, followed by a 15-minute finals for each discipline. The grom skiers and snowboarders, those under age 12, ripped right alongside the adults. The judges took the riding in both rounds of competition into account, and were somehow able to come up with with a list of winners. In the ski division, Andreas Stefanakos and Elaina Krusiewski won for grownups, and Simon Miller was crowned 2021 grom champion. The snowboard field was even more competitive, with nearly twice as many competitors. Michael Throckmorton of Hampton, New Jersey, and Ashlyn Overland of Port Jervis, New York, topped the podium for those over 12, while Jess Perlmutter of Killington and Jack O’Keefe of Saratoga, New York, were the winning groms.

“Everyone was chucking, so I just got hyped!” Throckmorton said of his winning performance.

Though Loaded Turkey began as a snowboard event, the addition of skiers has helped the event grow to be one of the biggest consistently held rail jams in the United States. No matter what was under foot though, riders all had to negotiate the same firm landings, which admittedly got even firmer once the sun disappeared behind a tree. Snowboarder Tristan Robles, 15, of Warwick, New York, was still tossing front flips off the flat tube.

“The set up was nice. It was really hard conditions, so definitely something I had to adapt to. That barricade was a little gnarly!” Robles laughed.

Women’s champ Overland, 15, previously competed once two years ago, and was all smiles as she accepted her turkey and snowboard.

“It was so fun,” she said. “I met a lot of new people, it was definitely worth it and I definitely want to come back next year.”

Local skier Brandon Westburg took third place, and said the event was about so much more than just the results.

“It was so much fun to get back into the swing of things, compete with friends, and of course get a chance to ride a custom built Woodward Killington setup for the rail jam,” he said. “Some of us thought that we would never see a pre-season park event at Killington again after a season full of unknowns and Woodward taking over the pack scene. Without a doubt, Taylor Zink and his crew came in clutch, brought the stoke, and put on an amazing preseason event, before anyone else on the East Coast even had a single park feature in the ground. What a blessing it is to have such an amazing, caring and top notch park crew right here at Killington that is excited to lead the way for the East Coast. Without them, the return of park competitions after a blank slate last season simply wouldn’t be possible.”

Darkside and Goon Gear host the après party

Once the awards were given out, the community moved just down the road to Darkside Snowboards, where Goon Gear was hosting a party and video premiere in the parking lot. Vendors including Vermont Locs, Gooba Hats, BumFuccs, Hellgate VIP and Grommet Goes had tables set up selling clothing, books, DVDs and other swag. Goon Gear owners Lucas and Tonya Magoon had their gear for sale too, including some fresh new snowboards, which were quickly snapped up by those who’d been patiently waiting.

The mini ramp was popping off, while those not skating kept warm around the fire pit. The Sustainable Eats food truck was on hand to dish up local delicacies, and local punk band Super Stash Bros played music until it got dark enough for the video premiere to begin.

As is to be expected at any good snowboard party, there were a few technical difficulties getting sound and pictures to sync up on the outdoor big screen, but eventually a total of five films played, culminating with “Winter,” the official Goon Gear movie made by Zach “The Kid” Kishh.

Austin Poulin drove eight hours from Washington D.C. to attend the event, and stuck it out until the bitter (cold) end.

“It was a great event,” he said. “I had a lot of fun. I was happy to meet Lucas [Magoon] and Michael [Throckmorton], too. The fire in the back was really nice, and was great to check out all the Vermont Locs gear. I also really liked Darkside. I thought it had a really chill and younger vibe. I had a really great time riding Killington, and I can’t wait to come back and ride Darkside park when it snows!”

Full Results

  • Grom skiers: Simon Miller, Carver Emory and Spencer Claffy
  • Men’s ski: Andreas Stefanakos, Silas Chapman and Brandon Westburg
  • Women’s ski: Elaina Krusiewski, Katie Paroline and Abby Allaire
  • Grom snowboard – boys: Jack O’Keefe, Julian Voytilla and Rocco Jones
  • Grom snowboard- girls: Jess Perlmutter and Callen Hwang
  • Men’s snowboard: Michael Throckmorton, Austin Esposito and Tristan Robles
  • Women’s snowboard: Ashlyn Overland, Amelia Williams and Michelle Slanger

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