The pleasant weather has shown hopeful signs of spring, but the snow is far from gone. Today, the VT Snow Freestyle Team will be hosting a snowboarding and skiing performance event, formally known as SnowJam 2012.
Thirty-five tons of snow will be piled in the middle of the Drillfield for snowboarders and skiers from across the United States to perform stunts and demonstrate their skills to the public. The first heat is set to begin at 5 p.m.
The team has been working since June 2011 to make the event possible.
Related: View video from the event
“This type of event has been done before on West Coast campuses, but no one has ever raised the money independently like we have,” said Nick Gagianas, the team’s marketing manager. “We have raised more than $30,000 in corporate sponsorship money.”
Among the event’s sponsors are Nike, Ski Dazzle and Walmart.
However, this is not the only “first” the team accomplished, as the event has never been brought to the East Coast until now.
Snow Jam 2012 is part of the Campus Rail Jam Tour, a snow sport movement that assists amateur snowboarders and skiers around the nation. The organization has brought freestyle arenas to several campuses to promote the snow sport scene.
“Campus Rail Jam Tour has been incredible in fronting money and letting us pay it back as we earn it,” Gagianas said.
In addition, Galvanic Design, a production company that works with Campus Rail Jam Tour, helped make the event happen.
Locally, the Blacksburg Boarders Club was the first group to pledge time and money to the event, Gagianas said.
“We pulled resources, advice and help from so many organizations,” said Nate Slemp, the team’s president.
“The most tremendous help has been from Blacksburg Boarders Club, our sister club, and the Virginia Tech Entrepreneur Club, which has given us great advice.”
The team — with help from other organizations — is bringing 70 tons of snow to Tech from Massanutten Mountain, located in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, today. However, 30 percent of it is expected to melt along the way, Gagianas said.
When the snow arrives, it will be sprayed with a salt compound intended to preserve the ice for about six hours in up to 80-degree weather.
The snow will be placed on a 60-foot tall scaffolding hill that was shipped from Portland, Ore.
Snowboarders and skiers from different colleges applied to participate in the event. Riders were required to fill out a form, and send in photos and video to demonstrate their skills. The tour then picked the competitors.
“We tried to pick local people more so over people coming in,” Gagianas said.
Riders from schools in the Collegiate Freestyle Alliance — including Tech, Liberty University, University of Maryland, North Carolina State University, Radford University and Duke University — received priority and will be participating.
Twenty-eight riders are preapproved — accepted to perform and compete at the event — but numbers are expected to increase a little more, Slemp said.
“The biggest goal for this event is to give back to Tech,” Slemp said, “We really want to provide an event that everyone will love and want to be a part of. We also hope to build further opportunities for our team (and our riders) to expand.”
Students on campus are looking forward to seeing what the spectacle will look like.
“I’m looking forward to it because you don’t generally see the Drillfield filled up with snow” said Marcus Confino, a sophomore architecture major.
Currently, the team has 25 competitive and active members. The long-term plan for the team is to unite the extreme sporting community on campus, Gagianas said.