PUBLISHED : WhistlerBlackcomb.com KING OF THE RAIL Coverage
Also participated in the event (is all ski journalism gonzo?) and the photo is of yours truly by the ever-magnificent Stewart Medford. http://www.whistlerblackcomb.com/parks/index.htm
By Ben Wannamaker
I was uncharacteristically frantic. Arriving at Showcase to register at the very crack of registration, I was first on the list of skiers to offer my John Hancock. Obviously, I was anxious to start skiing the second to last King Of the Rail session / rider judged ‘contest’ in Whistler village.
Held beside the infamous Garibaldi Lift Company and with a modest crowd of high-five-hunting kids in harnesses, tightly-panted colonizers and a slew of pride week enthusiasts: the King of the Rail event usually attracts both budding spotlight seeking skiers / boarders as well as old circus act shredders (who used to be hot but still have some tricks and get really freaked out by the crowd’s anticipation and the ominous two hours of boot-packing through slush and their own blinding sweat.)
At 7pm, all the participants proceeded to hike the features – set up three abreast: an immodest, 10 foot gap to down bar, a sizable a-frame box and a street-style, belly button high, donkey-nubbed shotgun rail. For 120 minutes the announcers wittily belittled the crowd, interviewed ‘competitors’ and watched with interest as the trick level increased attempt by attempt and trick by trick, taking notes and tallying votes until the clock struck ‘stop’ some two hours later.
Under the lights of the Whistler, so much got stomped and in the end I left before I heard the results (however responsibly researching and reporting them later): buzzing with porcupine thighs, I felt a renewed sense of community within rail riders (from Finland to Japan to Pittsburgh to Quebec) and pounded enough knuckles to last me until the next and final installment of King of the Rail, this March 3rd.