In the wake of the second worst school shooting in US history, Mad River Mountain, the weekly ski club destination for many central Ohio grade schools, has announced plans to host a season kick-off event benefiting the Connecticut school. The "Snow Jam 2 Benefit Sandy Hook"gets underway Saturday night at 6:00.
Mad River will fire up the snowmaking guns and create a Rail Jam venue in front of the Loft Deck, allowing skiers and riders a sneak peek at this year's set up in Capital Park, the Midwest's #1 Terrain Park. Those looking to participate in the Jam can sign up the day of the event for $10.
Raffle tickets for prizes from Mad River and its partners, including lift tickets, tubing tickets, retail items and more, will be on sale inside the Loft Bar while live entertainment is provided by the Scott McCarron Duo. A Christmas tree will be erected where care packages and gifts can be left for Sandy Hook families. In the spirit of the holiday, attendees are encouraged to dress in their Ugly Christmas Sweater best!
All proceeds from Rail Jam entrants and raffle ticket sales, as well as any other donations and gifts will be sent to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund set up by the United Way after the event.
Opening day status for Mad River Mountain's 51st winter season is still unannounced. Forecasters are looking at models that indicate a strong cold front with a potential for natural snowfall at the end of the week. Mad River anticipates snowmaking to resume Thursday night and continue through the weekend leading into Christmas Day. Mad River's General Manager Greg Fisher hopes to open Saturday night or Sunday morning but will have to wait and see what Mother Nature has in store.
"Right now we are focusing our attention on the 36 hours between Thursday night and Saturday morning. We have temperatures in the low 20s at night and even during the day on Friday forecasters are only calling for a high between 28 & 30 degrees. If it stays cold enough we could potentially make snow for 36 hours straight."
If that were the case Fisher said Mad River would attempt to open Saturday night with the Rail Jam kicking things off for the 2012/2013 season.
"Making snow is only the beginning. Next we will need to get our grooming machines out on the snow to link the trails together and provide a safe sliding surface for all our guests."
Fisher stressed that while his hopes are to open this weekend, in the end the ultimate decision relies on weather. The forecast will need to stay true or offer even lower temps, for the stars to align for a full opening on Saturday night.
For more information about the Rail Jam, opening day announcements, and general event information visit www.skimadriver.com or visit Mad River's Facebook page at facebook.com/madrivermountain.