When word started spreading that Jeremy Jones was helping organize a rail jam with the Utah Jazz during the NBA All Star weekend, no one knew what to expect. Would there be an insane amount of people? Would there be celebrities and professional athletes there? Would there be a basketball hoop involved? We quickly learned the answer to all these questions were YES. This rail jam seemed out of a movie and DJ Matty Mo was in control of the soundtrack. The mostly local, and highly respected, riders strapped in on a two story scaffolding and put on a show for the 10000+ crowd of people packed into The Gateway in downtown SLC. The three-rail-cluster was set up just as a rail jam should be; tight, steep, and sketchy. There were plenty of opportunities for 270s, 360s, gaps, transfers, flips - everything the public wanted to see. And, of course, the pole jam to basketball-hoop-wall-ride feature really tied everything together. The fast-paced flow of the jam also seemed to keep the people entertained. Twenty minute practice followed by two rounds of twenty minute jams. The overall top three men and women of the jams moved on to a fifteen minute final.
The first moment the crowd seemed star struck was when Shaun White came onto the imported snow during the AM event on Friday afternoon. Shaun and the spectators cheered on as the the AMS competed for the top spot. The top man and woman in the AMS moved onto the pro event on Saturday. Veda Hallen and Justin Phipps were crowned AM champs.
On Saturday, the twenty pro contenders were battling for the $10K cash prize - ten men, ten women, same format, non-stop action, Shaun White still there. The two rounds of heated jams had a lot of standouts. It was hard to tell who the top men and women would be. Shaun White and Jeremy Jones were about to announce the final six, when Travis Scott showed up to give some advice to finalists: “It’s time to be THE savage of all the savages.”
Dusty Hendrickson, Nate Haust, and Pat Fava were called back to the top for men. Jill Perkins, Jaylen Hanson, and Kaleah Opal for the women. Fifteen minutes to see how much money they’d walk away with. Jill Perkins locked into her front boards, all the way to 1st place. And Nate Haust’s ability to hit that DFD from all angles and one of the most perfect 450s ever secured him the bag.
1st Jill Perkins
2nd Jaylen Hanson
3rd Kaleah Opal
1st. Nate Haust
2nd Pata Fava
3rd Dusty Henricksen
Some words from the winners:
“I remember Jeremy coming to me in the summer with the idea of throwing a rail jam during NBA all star weekend. Right off the bat I was intrigued. Jeremy had been such an inspiration and mentor so being there for the event meant a lot to me. The builders worked so hard to finalize the set up and make it fun for everyone. How the event went down exceeded so many expectations. It was like two worlds colliding- fans of action sports alongside fans of traditional sports. The exposure it gave to snowboarding seemed to be well received and the crowd was unlike any I’ve seen. May have been because of Travis Scott though. Big thanks to Jeremy, snow park tech, and grit marketing” - Jill Perkins
“The Grit Jam this year was straight-up electric. I’m terrible at guessing the numbers of large crowds, however, I would bet there were at least 3000 spectators. Throughout the event, the cheering was so damn loud that I could barely chat with the person next to me. Whether good or bad, the sheer noise of the place was crazy. As one who’s focused most of my time and energy on snowboarding and other “Action” sports, my knowledge of anything related to basketball is subpar. Coincidentally, a handful of onlookers that I connected with said they knew absolutely nothing about snow sports. The irony of that statement made it the perfect venue for an event like this to take place. A timely backflip was pretty much all that the crowd wanted to see, as soon as one went down I thought the place was going to crumble. Huge thanks to Jeremy Jones, Grit Marketing, SPT, and anyone who put in time and energy to make this event possible. Hyped on the stacked list of riders that came out for the event as well. Snowboarding events like this seem to be a dying breed. As a kid, I pretty much came up in the industry traveling to each rail jam in my area. As of late, many of the main jam events have fallen off. Stoked to see them returning in full force, this is definitely one to keep on the radar going forwards.” - Nate Haust
Thanks to the sponsors Utah Jazz, Thread Wallets, Thrift Hood, Cactus Jack, Whitespace, and Utah Sports Commission.
BIG SHOUTOUT to Snow Park Tech for bringing this set up to life and maintaining it for the riders.
Some other notable highlights:
Dusty and Dillon Henricksen were the only people wearing the official THE GRIT Jerseys.
Josh Nilsen and T-Bird seemed destined to announce this rail jam together.
The crowd was going INSANE for Shaun White and I guess he officially announced his retirement?
Lenny Mazzotti did an insane front 270 on that steep DFD.
People went crazy for Pat Fava and Lolos mullet.
Jed Anderson competed in this rail jam.
Norm was called pro by the SLC tribute.
Veda Halen, the AM frontboard 270 was a standout trick.
Both days there was a pole jam dunk contest. Nate Haust and Egan Wint took home the real wins for that. Has that been done before?
SHOUT OUT ALL THE RIDERS:
AM COMPETITION: Veda Hallen, Jen Hoffman, Anny Vongsavanh, Gwynnie Park, Justin Phipps, Ben Egan, Luke Lund, Simon Gschiader, Henry Mcomber, Keyan Adams
PRO COMPETITION: Jill Perkins, Lauren (LoLo) Derminio, Iris Pham, Egan Wint, Jaylen Hanson, Sierra Forchheimer, Kaleah Opal, Maggie Leon, Madison Blackley, Jed Anderson, Zak Hale, Dusty Henricksen, Denver Orr, Dillon Henricksen, Lenny Mazzotti, Nate Haust, Pat Fava, Norm Schoff
Hosted by - Jeremy Jones, Tom Monterosso, and Josh Nilsen
Video by: Justin Meyer, Mike McCentire, Paul Osborne, Mia Lambson, and Zach Beckett