Attention NEPA college students! Come to Montage Mountain Saturday, Feb. 6 to carve for a cause
MOOSIC — The idea for College SnowJam came to 22-year-old Tim Kane when he saw a Bethlehem area skate shop truck in snow, set up a rail and a wooden ramp and curate a few sponsors in order to hold an accessible event. He said it gave friends and family in his Lehigh Valley community a fun event to gather and mingle, and he wanted to adopt that idea for college students in Northeastern Pennsylvania and use proceeds to benefit a good cause.
“I brought it to Frank (Winger, also 22 and from Lehigh Valley) our sophomore year and he loved the idea,” Kane said. “We started bringing it out to different people and seeing what their opinions were, seeing if it could be a plausible idea.”
“Last year we didn’t go to Monday classes for almost six weeks in a row because of how bad the snow was,” Winger added. “We were hoping to push together a pile and throw a tiny rail in the middle but the school wouldn’t have it. My business mentor at Marywood referred us up to Montage Mountain. Montage was like, ‘yeah, sure guys, show up.’ They assumed it was going to be a tiny little event.”
Kane and Winger’s tiny little event drew 250 college students to the resort for a day of skiing, boarding and socializing. Winger said Montage representatives approached them before College SnowJam was over and asked them to return again. The two Marywood University business students took them up on their invitation and resolved to make the event bigger and better when it’s held from noon until 10 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6 at Montage Mountain Ski Resort.
“Last year it was just something we threw together; this year we actually got branding for it,” Winger said. “We made logos and posters and we got T-shirts printed. We have a much larger reach. This year we have at least a dozen sponsors from Pepsi to Subaru to local businesses.”
A couple of those local businesses are Gilson Snowboards and Bear Creek Ski Shack, who are donating a custom SnowJam board and hundreds of dollars of merchandise, respectively. Prizes will be awarded to raffle winners, as well as those who place in the Rail Jam competition. The two organizers are hoping the prizes will work in tandem with the updated Rail Jam course (Kane said Montage has loaded the area with objects to trick off) and other amenities to draw more students out of hibernation.
“This year we are trying to promote an atmosphere for anyone who wants to join us because last year we didn’t really have too much besides skiing and snowboarding and the competition event,” Kane said. “This year we have games and recreational activities like human Jenga and things like that to get to students that don’t enjoy mountain sports as much.”
“We’ll set up on the deck, we have a live DJ, some of the sponsors are setting up tents, there’s going to be raffles, kegs in the snow at the ice bar,” Winger added. “Last year there were people who didn’t even set foot on the snow at all during the day. We’ll have a good atmosphere, cheap beverages, food specials and drink specials; you don’t have to go skiing.”
Last year’s College SnowJam benefited Friends of the Poor Scranton, and this year’s event will go toward the same cause. Kane and Winger’s business mentor at Marywood University recommended the charity, and according to Winger, they took their mentor’s advice because they saw it as an opportunity to help other’s enjoy the simple pleasures of the mountain.
“We wanted to give back to those that can’t afford to ski,” Winger said. “We’re up at the mountain having a great time, but lift tickets are expensive almost always. I have a lot of friends that can’t afford to ski or snowboard themselves. We chose the charity because it’s the best way we could think of to get them onto the mountain without directly funding the youth ourselves.”
Last year’s College SnowJam raised more than $300 for Friends of the Poor Scranton. This year, College SnowJam 2016 will offer all day lift tickets (noon until 10 p.m.) and access to a party deck with food and drink specials, games and music, all for $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Equipment rentals for the day are $15. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit CollegeSnowJam.com.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
THE AFTER PARTY
College SnowJam 2016’s official afterparty will be held at Backyard Ale House, 523 Linden Street, Scranton.
“We just wanted somewhere for everyone to go,” organizer Frank Winger said. “There’s no cover if you show that you were at the event with your ticket or wristband.”