An end-of-winter playground -- which organizers hope will someday become the winter version of Evel Knievel Days -- is planned in March.
Organizers, sponsors and Butte-Silver Bow are on board to stage Butte’s first ski and snowboard “rail jam” on Saturday, March 7, with a two-block, downhill snow course Uptown, live music, food and drink vendors, ice skating and snowman-making contests.
Snowboarders and skiers will compete down a snow course 350 feet long and 20 feet wide on Arizona Street from Quartz to Broadway. They perform parts of their rides and tricks on rails, boxes and other objects.
Event expenses could top $14,000, and it will take the county’s help to bring in snow, but like Butte’s three major summer festivals, the Butte Urban Rail Jam will be free.
They’re hoping more than 1,000 people will take in the first one.
“This has never been done in Butte and as far as winter goes, it’s a totally untapped market,” said Matthew Boyle, the event’s director and owner of Super Happy Giggly Fun Productions. It has produced concerts, festivals and fundraisers in Butte and surrounding cities the past three years.
Boyle said the Montana Tech Winter Sports Club and Discovery Ski Area are also presenting the event, which has several other private sponsors as well as in-kind backing from Butte-Silver Bow.
The Tech Winter Sports Club, which has more than 150 members, wanted to stage such an event and came to Boyle for help getting it organized and funded.
Alison Elwell, a master’s student at Tech and president of the club, said the group takes part in skiing, snowboarding and other snow activities to help students get through the college grind and the “long, drawn-out winters” in Butte.
“We decided a rail jam would not only be a cool attraction but a great way to showcase our club,” she said.