RIDIN' THE RAILS
By Dick Mason
Observer Staff Writer
TOLLGATE Rails are helping snowboarders sail this winter at Spout Springs.
Spout Springs has an expanded snowboard park, one that features four rails and about three table tops that are making it easier for snowboarders to grab big air.
They provide an added dimension, said Ron Evans of La Grande.
Evans and Jayne Baremore, the owners of One Track Mind, a La Grande snowboard shop, played a major role in designing and installing the rails and table tops. The table tops, made of snow, are about 10 feet high and 50 feet long.
The rails are making it easier for snowboarders in this area to prepare for competitive events in other parts of the Northwest, Evans said.
Snowboarding rails are similar to the ones used in competition by skateboarders. Many of the moves used by snowboarders on Spout Springs rails have a skateboard look to them.
They are taking skateboarding style to the snow, Evans said.
Those who use the rails regularly include La Grande High School senior Ian Clark.
The park is definitely a plus. The rails are fun to jib, Clark said.
Clark is among the 30 to 40 snowboarders who use the rails each weekend. He said that snowboarders are a great group to hang out with.
Snowboarders are easy going, they get along well, Clark said.
Many of the snowboarders who come to Spout Springs are from Umatilla County. They include Morgan Webb of Athena and Lloyd Flatt of Pendleton. The snowboarders have been able to get 15 to 20 feet in the air off the table tops.
The rails and tabletops are within 50 feet of each other. This means that snowboarders can easily hike up to the top of the rail and table top area.
It is an easy walk, Webb said.
Baremore noted that snowboarders can help themselves on rails by dulling the edge of their snowboards with a file, which prevents a snowboard from catching the rail. But people should do this only if they intend to use their board exclusively on rails, Baremore said. Boards with dulled edges dont work as well on snow.
Once you do it it is irreversible, Baremore said.
Clark noted that the rails at Spout Springs are in excellent condition. He has snowboarded on rails in other areas that are old and rickety and have metal sticking out from them.
He said the rails are good for doing technical things such as changing direction.
The rails available to snowboarders at Spout Springs are:
a 25-foot table top rail,
a 12-foot straight rail,
a 16-foot drop rail that comes down at an angle,
and a 20-foot double pipe rail that provides snowboarders with greater surface area.
Evans recommends that less experienced snowboarders start out with the 12-foot straight rail initially.
You need to do the small stuff before you try the big stuff, Evans said. Dont snowboard beyond your ability.
BANK SLALOM SET SATURDAY
Snowboarders will be out in force Saturday at the Spout Springs Ski Area.
They will be there to compete in the annual One Track Mind Bank Slalom snowboard competition. Registration takes place from 8 to 9 a.m. Competition begins at 10:30 a.m. For information call One Track Mind at 963-6643.