Words: Eric Benedon
Photos:Jake Ryan Creations
The 2nd year of Erik Leon’s COREnation rail jam wrapped up at Timberline on April 9. For the homecoming stop, the benefactor was Snowdays Foundation. Not only are Smith and Evo the main sponsors of the COREnation tour, they are also major supporters of Snowdays. In addition to organizing the tour, Erik is an active part of the Portland-based non-profit and even made time to coach alongside them the day after hosting the event. For him, it was important to “volunteer and ride with the young people [CORE is] raising awareness and money for. These youth really do see an impact of snowboarding and a different pathway, whether it’s on the slope or in their day to day life.”
Erik lives in Portland, so this stop feels special because he already sees many of the riders who participate in the jam when he’s riding on Mount Hood during the season. Whether it’s at his home mountain or not, Erik’s hope for all COREnation participants “is that when you go ride that next day, that next week, that next season…that the people who attended the event, snowboard or ski with somebody that they met at the COREnation stop. I hope to build community wherever we host an event, even if it’s one new friendship. That’s the goal. Community”. And that goal was definitely achieved at Timberline.
The loudest cheers of the day were for a grom after their 50-50 on the flat box. Everyone belted “Happy Birthday” to one rider’s mom who watched the entire event from her camping chair. To end the 3rd heat, all the riders did a party line, then ran back through a classic youth-soccer parents tunnel. The riders’ camaraderie and the connections made while hiking back to the top of the course is where the real beauty of a COREnation jam lies.
COREnation is unique because every aspect is designed to grow the snowboarding community. All of the proceeds from entry fees and raffle tickets are donated to a local non-profit working to foster equity in winter sports.
After a great 2nd year, it doesn’t seem like Erik has any changes in mind for COREnation’s recipe for success. “The events have almost stayed the exact same over the years, [our approach is to] lead by example, [with the] example being fun & mentorship, may be foolproof. Hahaha. Year 3 I’m hoping to bring back the east coast stop, and hopefully add a 6th event”.
Founded in 2004, Snowdays partners with youth-mentoring organizations In Portland and Bend/Central Oregon to empower youth through snowboarding. Snowdays removes barriers to access by providing instruction, meals, transportation, equipment and tickets at no charge. Trips create a safe space for students to challenge themselves and apply that success in their daily lives.
To learn more or sign up to volunteer with Snowdays Foundation, go to https://www.snowdaysfoundation.org/ or check them out on Instagram: @SnowdaysFoundation