Shaky snowboarders

After all the hubub, nothing made more sense than to check out Winter Jam NYC yesterday.  The city government promised such exciting things as “The Future of Snowboarding Invitational” (original caps), an ice climbing wall, and trampoline entertainment, the last of which has no connection to winter as far as we can tell.

Upon arriving at the park, we were greeted by city park officials’ awkward grammatical constructions (“People who don’t–not–have kids with them can’t go through here”) meant to guide us through narrow gaps in the cement walls.  The park was covered in turf and topped with a layer of rather melty, muddy man-made snow.  Bored parents shepherded their children, many of whom were confounded by the complex social construction that is the Snowball Fight.

Bwog found exactly four things to do.  The Skyriders were entertaining enough, albeit for five minutes–somersaults don’t hold your attention for very long–

Mayor Michael Bloomberg

and the Winter Market was really a transplanted, miniaturized Union Square Market.  The advertised ice-climbing was really three rock-climbing pillars with long lines, but at least they were blasting Katy Perry.

Everything in the park had long lines, not the least of which was the line for sledding.  It was a not-so-breathtaking “plunge” down a 150-foot sheet of ice into haystacks at the bottom.  Bwog prefers the steeper, longer, more dangerous slopes of Central Park.  The halfpipe was empty, probably because it was more like a quarter-pipe, making sustained snowboard tricks difficult.

Sledding, somewhat

The artificial ski slope was on the far end of the field, and was indeed very high and very steep.  Once snowboarders started going down, however, they quickly realized that the slope was far too steep, narrow, and icy to afford any style.  One by one they skidded down, as if desperately trying to stop.

The highlight of the event (sponsored by Red Bull) was the appearance of Michael Bloomberg, who noted that 20,000 people had come by in the first two hours.  He asked, “Do we want to come back next year?”, to which barely any of the grumpy crowd mumbled “Yeah!” as they slipped and slid their way towards the exit.

If you still want to get in on the fun, a toned-down version of the event will be held next week.  Next week also happens to be a public school holiday.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you.


Photos by Jon Hill