Rail jam competition aims to draw teens to Nashua's Holiday Stroll
By SIMÓN RIOS
Union Leader Correspondent | November 12. 2012 8:52PM
Stunt rails await the skiers and snowboarders of the Stroll Jam, Nov. 24 at the Holiday Stroll in Nashua. Amateur riders will compete for a $500 cash prize and entry into a professional competition. (COURTESY)
"It's just become this jolly giant of greatness," said Stefan Hausberger, owner of Zimmerman's Skis, who conceived the Stroll Jam as part of the 19th annual Holiday Stroll. "It's going to be bigger than anything we could've ever put together three months ago."
The Stroll Jam will feature nine skiers and nine snowboarders, all amateurs, who will compete by doing stunts off rails in a Main Street parking lot. Riders will cruise down a 12-foot ramp before launching onto one of six specially designed rails.
"It's something that I don't think most cities have seen, let alone Nashua," Hausberger said.
Snow will be trucked in from area ice rinks, allowing skiers and snowboarders to compete for a $500 prize and a paid entry in a professional competition this winter.
With materials donated from Belletetes Lumber, they built two 12-foot high, 36-foot long ramps. A host of businesses are involved, including audio-visual company New Sky Productions, Five Guys Burgers and Fries and Sunnyside Acura.
Video work will be nearly as important as the spectacle itself. Hausberger said in the social media world, people want to see what you have done rather than what you will do. GoPro, which manufactures wearable cameras for action photography, will lend 50 cameras for one stunt.
"The cameras are going to be aligned around one of the features, probably the Mack truck," Hausberger said. "All 50 cameras will be filming the same thing at the same exact time. It will then be edited down so that it appears as though everything's moving, but the person is staying still - like something you'd see in "The Matrix."
"If it comes out half as good as I think it's going to it's going to be amazing," he said, excitedly flipping through pictures on his smartphone.
Organizers are so excited about the city's first rail jam that they're already considering taking it on the road. They also plan on being a staple of the Holiday Stroll.
The Stroll is Nashua's biggest annual event. Rebecca Dixon is the executive director of Great American Downtowns, the nonprofit that organizes the Stroll. She said it draws crowds of 30,000 people each year.
"It really serves as a kickoff to so many people's holiday traditions in this area and beyond," Dixon said. "They've included it into their traditions for generations almost at this point."
Like the Holiday Stroll, the Stroll Jam begins at 4 p.m. on Nov. 24, with music and sponsor tents open to the public. At 6 p.m., live music will warm up the crowd before the rail contest, which runs from 6:30 to 8:30.
Following the competition, a snowboard movie by Teton Gravity Research will premier at 9 p.m.
The event takes place in the Sovereign Bank parking lot at 223 Main St. For more information on the Stroll Jam email Aaron Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about the Holiday Stroll can be found at downtownnashua.org. The jam can also be found on Facebook by searching for "Keepin' It Rail Productions."