Ski Club preps for Rail Jam

Oswego State junior Jason Biasini participates in last year’s Rail Jam, presented by Oswego Ski Club. (Photo provided by Oswego Ski Club)
Oswego State junior Jason Biasini participates in last year’s Rail Jam, presented by Oswego Ski Club. (Photo provided by Oswego Ski Club)

As the snow continues to pile up across campus, the timing could not be any more perfect for the members of the Oswego State Ski and Snowboard Club. With its second annual Campus Rail Jam quickly approaching, club President Mike Lillis is thankful that having enough snow for the event is one less thing they will have to worry about.

“In the quad, we already have a couple huge piles of snow, so this year we plan on making the event a lot better,” Lillis said.

The club is the largest and one of the oldest clubs at Oswego State. Each year it organizes three main trips, as well as movie nights and other events to bring the members of the club closer together.

The first trip, often to Killington, Vt., is a weekend long and takes place during the fall semester. The other two trips are both a week long and take place during winter recess. One of these trips is typically to Canada, while the other is to a destination in the western part of the country. This year the club travelled to Wyoming, and last year it went to Utah.

Last year, the club put into motion a three-year old idea to host a Rail Jam. The club constructed all of the features itself, paying out-of-pocket for the majority of the supplies. It worked through the night with the campus grounds crew to gather enough snow and groom the course, and their hard work paid off. Nearly 30 skiers and snowboarders participated, and a crowd gathered to watch and listen as WNYO provided music for the event.

Still, the club’s success has allowed the events to go even bigger and better than last year.

“Now that we know the kinks we ran into last year, we took care of those before we really did anything,” said Nick Christopher, vice president of the ski club. “We made sure that we emailed the right people at the right time so that everything could be timed out well.”

Since they do not have any more hoops to jump through as far as getting the event approved, the officers of the club have been able to take their time to prepare for this year. Not only do they plan to set up extra features that are more challenging, but they have also been working on incorporating other clubs on campus into the event.

“We do a lot through other clubs and organizations,” Lillis said. “For this Rail Jam we’re getting funding from WNYO, Lifestyles, the outdoors club, the tech club, and we do a lot of fundraising ourselves too.”

The key to the success of the Oswego State Ski and Snowboard Club has been its ability to work together to accomplish its goals. While there are five executive board officers, they all share the responsibility and are able to do each other’s jobs if need be.

“Everyone has different schedules, so if Mike is busy and he needs something done today, and I have a bunch of free time, I’ll take head of that, and vice versa,” Christopher said.

In addition, the club provides a unique atmosphere that the members believe is unmatched here on campus. Even though it has the most registered members out of all of the club organizations, members feel as though they are still the closest group of people.

“It’s cool to hear from a lot of our members that during the movie nights or trips, you may go into the trip not knowing anybody yet, but you really feel like you’ve gained 500 friends as soon as you join the club,” Christopher said.

As far as the Rail Jam goes, it is free to enter and anyone on campus can participate. The event is being held on Feb. 23 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., and competitors can either pre-register during the week leading up to it, or register on the spot. While the ski club continues to try to spread the word, the Rail Jam is shaping up to be an Oswego State tradition for years to come.