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College Rail Jam Road Show

Holiday Valley's mobile pre-season event

While there are many ways ski resorts across the country get the masses hyped on the coming season, it’s not frequent they offer an opportunity to strap equipment on and participate. With less than 100 days until we’re (weather permitting) on the hill, ski and snowboard lovers know that winter is inevitably coming. It’s fun to sit at home and envision ripping through 18 inches of Lake Erie’s finest. But when you look outside and it’s 60º and sunshine, those pipe dreams can evaporate rather quickly. 

In an effort to bring winter a little closer, Holiday Valley is hitting the road this fall with the 1st Annual Rail Jam Road Show. Here’s the concept: a crew from HV will transport scaffolding, features and synthetic snow to the University of Buffalo (Sept. 23) and downtown Buffalo’s Canalside (Sept. 30) before the final stop at Holiday Valley Fall Festival weekend. After setup, skiers and snowboarders will get the chance to throw down the best trick in their arsenal - or experience the feeling of putting equipment on in the fall. 

“We wanted to give people the chance to participate in a fun, winter-oriented event before the snow flies,” said Niki Klein, Holiday Valley’s Sales Director. “And what better way to do it than bring the party to them? It’s easy to talk about how fun winter is - this is our way of showing it.” 

The mobile setup, built by Holiday Valley Parks boss Mike Nenno, will get its debut at UB’s Stampede Square before the Bulls take on the Florida Atlantic Owls. Using synthetic snow eliminates the need to haul ice shavings from a nearby ice rink, and a 27º grade drop-in will give participants plenty of speed to throw down tricks on the feature. 

“This is something we’ve never done before, but we’ve got a feeling that it’s really going to get people excited for winter,” Klein said. “Even if you’re not participating, it’s incredibly unique - imagine walking through Canalside and seeing a bunch of people walking around in ski and snowboard boots. You’re automatically going to be drawn to at least come over and check it out.” 

Holiday Valley’s College Pass may be the best deal going. Anyone in higher education can buy the $199 pass (unlimited nights) or $299 pass (unlimited nights and weekdays). A myriad of Ultimate Pass options give winter lovers an affordable, flexible option if they don’t want to buy a full Classic Season Pass. 

The concept of the Road Show Rail Jam, developed by Klein, Nenno and others in the Holiday Valley brain trust, takes the resort out of its comfort zone. On paper, the logistics of the event seemed daunting - development, setup, insurance, partners, marketing, etc. - but once the vision was there, heads came together to ensure its success. 

“We were very fortunate to have solid contacts at both UB and Canalside,” Klein said. “When we brought the idea to the table, both spots were incredibly receptive. This isn’t something like yoga where anyone can participate - it’s a very select subset of the market, one that both loves skiing/snowboarding and owns their own equipment. But between the scaffolding, signage, music and actual participants, it’s definitely going to turn some heads.”

The Canalside and Holiday Valley stops feature DJ Tyler Swift, who will play both MC and hype man. Participants and spectators will be able to buy their College/Ultimate Pass on-site, or pick the brains of Holiday Valley reps to see which pass is best for them depending on their price range/schedule. 

Holiday Valley’s Rail Jam Road Show takes place at the University of Buffalo’s Stampede Square on Saturday, Sept. 23, Canalside on Saturday, Sept. 30, before wrapping up at Holiday Valley on Fall Festival. Helmets and equipment are required. For more information, head to www.holidayvalley.com/college or shop your pass at www.holidayvalley.com/winterpasses.