Marquette’s Downtown Showdown Rail Jam Gaining Popularity


Photo by Aaron Peterson

On February 21st, skiers and snowboarders alike will flock to the streets of downtown Marquette to compete in the third annual Downtown Showdown Rail Jam ski and snowboard trick competition sponsored by Ore Dock Brewing Company and Range Bank.

Terrain park skiing and snowboarding has continually grown in popularity over the last decade, but Marquette, the largest town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, puts its own ‘spin’ on terrain style competition by taking the park experience found on ski hills across the county and placing the excitement right in its downtown streets.

Over the past two years, the Downtown Showdown Rail Jam has featured some of the Midwest’s best skiers and snowboarders taking flight off gigantic jumps and delivering incredible rail grinds in this unique grassroots event.

Now in its third year, the Rail Jam sits alone on its own dedicated weekend no longer scheduled in conjunction with the ever popular UP 200 Dog Sled Race and features a steeper and longer course starting atop the North Front Street hill just south of Ridge Street and finishing at Washington Street. This new course will add more complexity and faster speeds to the mix. The competition kicks off at 3:00 pm.

Athletes are judged on a ‘per trick’ basis. Experienced skiers and snowboarders and equipment specialists from The Compound, the Marquette ski and snowboard shop, judge the event. With nearly fifty contestants last year, some traveling from as far away as southern Wisconsin, the level of competition is fierce and truly exciting.


Photo by Aaron Peterson

Tara Lasse-McKinney, the Promotion and Events Coordinator for the Marquette Downtown Development Authority, is pleased with the amount of hype and anticipation circling the Rail Jam this year. “We’re definitely expecting more numbers for this year’s Downtown Showdown Rail Jam. It’s always been more of a local push with word of mouth advertising, but there’s been an increase in support and local sponsorship. There’s been more talk going around this year, so I’m excited to see how it goes.”

The Rail Jam will be followed by an after party at the Ore Dock Brewing Company, where local band Not Quite Canada will take the stage. This is an event you won’t want to miss!

Registration is open online at until the day of the event. More information can be found on the Downtown Showdown Rail Jam Facebook page.