By Maria Wyllie
Explorebigsky.com Editorial Assistant
BIG SKY – The sixth annual Chamberlin Rail Jam is returning to Big Sky Resort March 1-2. A two-day festival combining a skier/snowboarder rail jam competition with live hip-hop, electronic and reggae music, the event offers an unconventional yet authentic experience for competitors and festival goers.
Chamberlin Productions founder Tate Chamberlin, who graduated with a B.A. in Graphic Design from Montana State University in 2007, used his senior thesis project to present the idea of combining music and culture to create a new kind of festival experience.
“What makes this festival unique is the authenticity of the ski and park culture,” Chamberlin said. “One thing we add is production value, bringing in larger entertainment and creating a larger festival atmosphere along with it.”
Although the Big Sky Resort terrain crew has been involved in building the rails since the event’s inception in 2007, last year was the first year the resort hosted the festival. In prior years, it was held in Bozeman at Kountz Arena and Gallatin County Fairgrounds.
Now held in Big Sky and Missoula, the event now has more energy, Chamberlin said, drawing from “Big Sky’s winter sports culture” and Missoula’s “urban grit.”
The fully-lit rail jam will take place from 4-7 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday nights with music performances on an outdoor stage from 6-10 p.m. Artists include DJ Bl3ND, Chris Webby, Black Mask, Z-Trip, Shwayze and Jon H. An after party featuring Eliot Lipp will be held at Whiskey Jack’s on Saturday night.
Competitors come mainly from the Big Sky area, but some travel from as far as Utah, Canada and the East Coast, Chamberlin said.
The last rail jam nearly sold-out, and Chamberlin expects at least 5,000 people will attend over the course of the weekend this year. Secret Sale and Early Bird tickets are already sold out.
Drawing a large crowd, the event gives great exposure to the sport of park riding, Chamberlin said, as well as helping develop a fan base for competing skiers and riders.
Visit chamberlinrailjam.com for event details.