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Westminster students compete in front of family and friends at annual Shred Fest

The rail jam takes place in the background while the band The Lil Smokies perform on stage at Shred Fest in Liberty Park Nov. 8-9. Shred Fest is an annual event where skiers and snowboarders get to compete in front of family and friends. (Photo Courtesy: Tristan Sadler and Jovvany Villalobos)

Westminster College students competed at Shred Fest in front of their school peers and the Salt Lake City ski and snowboard community Nov. 8-9.

Shred Fest is an annual event held at Liberty Park that hosts skiing, snowboarding, live music and more. Shred Fest began in Missoula, Montana, and has spread to other ski communities including Salt Lake City and Denver, Colorado, according to its website.

Tucker Fitzsimons, a senior finance major at Westminster College, hits the middle feature during the ski rail jam finals at Shred Fest Nov. 8-9, securing his first-place finish. Westminster College students often attend Shred Fest, where skiers and snowboarders can compete and have fun in front of friends. (Photo Courtesy: Oz Scott)

“I think Westminster students view the competition as a time to have fun in front of an intimate, yet large crowd,” said Davis Lentz, a senior communication major, and former president of the Westminster Ski and Snowboard club. “People are definitely looking to stay healthy for the season but still throw down in front of their friends, family and local community.”

The Shred Fest rail jam took place on a small hill that was covered with imported snow, making the crowd very close to the competing skiers and snowboarders.  

“It’s a hell of a time, but trying not to hit anyone or stay healthy isn’t easy — Shit, I got hurt this year,” said Rob Roethler, who graduated with a marketing degree in 2019. “What keeps me coming back is knowing there’s probably 50-100 people there, that I know, who are stoked to see me board.”  

Several Westminster students competed this year and said a lot of energy flows through them from the surrounding crowd during the event.

“There is something truly special about all of your friends cheering for you even when you slam,” said Griffin Ferrigno, senior finance and marketing major.

The event is advertised all over campus and discounted tickets are sold through the Ski and Snowboard Club, making Westminster students a large portion of the crowd. 

“I think students at Westminster who compete in Shred Fest are genuinely stoked to be able to ski and board in front of their peers from the Westminster community as a whole,” Lentz said.

The event is intense and competitors take it very seriously; however, after the rail jam is over they embrace their friends with laughs, competitors said.

An excited crowd watches the ski rail jam semi-finals as the LiL Smokies play on stage in the background at Shred Fest in Liberty Park Nov. 8-9. Shred Fest is an annual event where audience members can listen to music and have fun while watching their peers compete in skiing the rail jam. (Photo Courtesy: Tristan Sadler and Jovvany Villalobos)

“Being able to snowboard and hang out with friends is truly the best of both worlds,” Ferrigno said.

The event has a live announcer and music playing at the same time, creating a hectic environment for the competitors to get as many good tricks during their allotted time. 

“They’re more distractions than you can imagine, but it’s a good time overall,” Roethler said.

This year, Tucker Fitzsimons, a senior finance major, won the ski rail jam.

“Shred Fest is a really fun event, I get stoked competing with my Westminster homies and having all our friends cheering us on,” Fitzsimons said

 Shred Fest provides an environment unlike any other event in the Salt Lake outdoor community, bringing the end of summer weather and getting everyone excited for winter, said Lentz in a message to The Forum.  

“The combination of warm weather, a fun setup, and 5% beers made Shred Fest 4.0 the best one yet,” Ferrigno said. 

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Nick Marcy
Nick Marcy is a senior Communication major at Westminster college. He was born and raised in Portland Oregon, where he spent most of his time in the outdoors. He is the captain on the Men’s Lacrosse team.

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