By Ben Hume.
There is nothing else quite like it. Sure, you’ve seen or might’ve been to rail jam before, but this is something more. Formerly “JIB the Foundry”, now “JIB” because “JIB the Ngaio Marsh Theatre” is a bit of a mouthful is an amalgamation of the Canterbury Snow & Student Communities, culminating in the most fun you will ever have in a carpark at night with your pants on.
JIB is the brainchild the Canterbury University Boardriders Association (CUBA), rumour has it that JIB has been going at UC since the 90’s. The set up back then was a little more industrious, with riders strapping/clipping in on the roof of the old Foundry Bar before dropping onto the snow and sliding a rail down the outside steps. Pictured below is the 2009 iteration, the right photo I believe is NZ Freeride Legend Neil Williman mid Switch disaster 270.
Fast forward 10 years and the game has changed. 90 m3 of snow a sitting on top of a 9m wide, 5m tall scaffolding masterpiece. Made possible thanks to the tireless volunteer labour and admin done by CUBA’s 20-person exec.
CUBA decided to step things up for 2019, bringing in three snow-laden trucks opposed to the usual two. That meant an extra 20 odd (very quick maths) tonnes of snow to shovel a midst what was an already tight schedule. Something must have been in the water that morning - maybe it was just the thought of pre-event laps – that saw the set up ready for action in record time.
JIB stands out from your usual rail jam. With a top tier line up of New Zealand DJ’s and over 1000 tickets accounted for it’s not just a rail jam, it’s a party on snow (on scaffolding, in a car park). The best riders that Canterbury has to offer ply their trade across a down rail, pole jam, mini kicker and wall ride in front of a screaming crowd of students, all decked to the nines in their “retro” apparel.
As you can imagine, the tricks start off slow due to the intimidating nature of the carpark. As soon as the punters roll in and the confidence starts to grow, it’s on like you never could have imagined. Maybe it’s the $100 cash for first place or the sponsor prizes from Smith, Amazon and Red Bull that get the riders so excited? It could be the roar of the crowd after every backflip and rail trick, heck; it’s probably the thought of bragging rights at the bar later on. Regardless, it is a sight to be seen.
Celebrity judges Craig Murray and Carlos Garcia-Knight managed to work 36 riders from 3 heats down to a 13 rider final of skiers and snowboarders. Before that though, a little halftime show to keep the crowd engaged…
Finals were 40 minutes of absolute chaos, an overall impression judging system meant that every attempted or landed trick was taken into account and nothing was off the table. At one point, there was a 4-man race to land the first cork 7 off a jump barely 3 feet high, INSANITY! A year supply of Red Bull for best trick was awarded for a greasy 1 foot board slide.
Although the award did come with some controversy, how good is the hand holding duo backflip?
A real feel good moment for CUBA was snow exec member Vincent Massé-Denicourt bagging 2nd place in the snowboard men category after putting in a huge shift to make the event happen. Imagine getting a podium at your own comp!
Further madness ensued with a huge after party in the new Ngaio Marsh Theatre, what a night!
Here’s me post competition, a very relieved and happy man ready for a beer a two. I’m super stoked with how JIB went in 2019, it was a massive success to say the least and a great representation of the student culture at the University of Canterbury. Thousands of volunteer hours have developed JIB into what it was this year and I’m 100% confident that it will be even bigger and better for the next. Save the date, pull out your one-piece and come party with us!
CUBA Vice-President 2019
While attending Canterbury University Ben made the most of a Chill Season Pass and wrote regular features for Chill about epic days in the mountains and events.