Words and Photos by Alastair Spriggs
February 3, 2018
VANCOUVER – Surrounded by a heavy fog, 50+ boarders gathered at Mount Seymour on February 3 for the first annual Afford to Board Rail Jam and Fundraiser. Riders of all ages and abilities navigated down a field of SLC-inspired down-rails set up by park staff the night before. The lack of visibility was made up for by good vibes, generous prizing from the sponsors, and a 15-seater cargo van packed to the rim with charitable donations.
Though all the riders threw down their best tricks, in the good spirit of this event only two champions would be crowned. Ray Bishop took home the best trick award for his 450 out of the flat-bar in the dying seconds of the jam, and the boarder referred to as “TJ No. 2” by commentators was awarded best overall rider for his flawless consistency and style displayed throughout the day.
While the session was dominated by young-guns putting it all on the line for a free hat or two, a few local legends made an appearance. Matt Butel, Matt Heneghan, and TJ Koskela threw down huge airs over the features, and massive Cab 270s on the larger rails, among other maneuvers. Seymour local Sean Keating, a.k.a. Wyclef Sean, handled the microphone with ease, keeping the jam’s energy high with his obnoxious and comedic commentary, and Sherri Ferguson’s BBQ stand ensured that all riders were fed and hydrated.
Afford to Board was a success on so many levels. It brought together Vancouver’s snowboard community for a good time, in support of a good cause. As a rail jam and fundraiser, the event staff collected used snowboard gear and outerwear donations that were donated directly to Youth Unlimited East Vancouver’s Mountain Life program. This new initiative focuses on bringing 13-25 year olds from Canada’s most impoverished postal code onto the mountains.
“Snowboarding has given me so much. When I’m boarding, nothing is on my mind except the mountains, nature, and the stoke of doing laps with your friends. I believe every kid should have the chance to be able to get up on the mountains and experience that feeling,” says Daniel Rebstein, organizer of Afford to Board.
“The amount of donations we received for the kids was way beyond what we ever could have imagined. I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out. We’re doing it next year and it will no doubt be even bigger and better.”mount seymour, snowboarding, sports