Killington’s Loaded Turkey Rail Jam ’17 — Dinner with the Leons!?

Words and Photos: Mike Garceau

Resident airman, River Willman, probably shouting, “how ya doin?!” 

Brother and sister duo Joey and Maggie Leon and the “should be” hosts of a major “shred-giving” feast for their local crew, took home the turkey and the top spots in their respective divisions at Killington’s annual season opener on November 19, 2017. Turkey dinner at Darkside Snowboards? Looking at you fam!

The Loaded Turkey Rail Jam is a staple early season event on the East Coast. Aside from the fact it’s the first rail jam of the season, podium prizing is literally frozen turkeys, pumpkin pies and the like… the real draw for this event is simple – a free entry into Rails 2 Riches for the winners of both the Men’s and Women’s Open categories.

Each November, the Killington Parks Crew builds out a venue suited for the first drops of the season. It’s got something for everyone — mellow enough to knock off the rust but big enough for competitors to lace heavy tricks — one after the next. The venue this season consisted of a 30ft diving board rail, a 26ft up-flat built on an elevated pad, a technical transfer feature comprised of two 16ft rails with a ball jib, and finally, a rainbow box/flat box combo.

Yung Woman of the hour Maggie Leon

As the weather in New England rarely ever cooperates, prepping the venue and keeping it riding well all day was one hell of a task. Fluctuating temps and variable precipitation brought fog, rain, and eventual snow throughout the contest. A huge shoutout to Rosey and his park crew for keeping it dialed all day.

Hat’s off to the Killington Parks Crew for fighting the weather all day and keeping the venue dialed.

Riders came in from across VT, and from as far as PA. The locals were well represented with the likes of Dave Parnell, Joey Leon, Evan Bloch, River Willman, and Jake Fournier for the men, Jamie Trayer and Maggie Leon for the ladies. From within state borders, LJ Twombly, Jake Gaudet, John Garoutte and Savannah Shinske were on site. And rounding out the rider list, a Big Boulder squad made up of grom ripper LJ Henriquez, lady shred Abby Ronca, John Koch and Alex Caccamo all made the trek.

Laid back and smooth style was the ticket for Alex Caccamo all day.

It’s generally the case to say that riders took a minute to warm up, but as soon as the first session started, the hammers came out. Alex Caccamo dropped straight into the diving board rail with a smooth 270 on / 270 off, opening the floodgates as the standouts of the day began to lay claim to the venue.

The ladies brought some of the best riding we’ve seen at the Loaded Turkey. At just 12 years old, Abby Ronca merely missed out on the podium, lacing smooth spins off rails throughout most of the day. Business as usual for Jamie Trayer, consistent and aggressive riding put her in 3rd place. Savannah Shinske, an up-and-comer on the scene, displayed some clean technical riding landing her the first runner up selection. And, no stranger to the top step of the podium, Maggie Leon was on another level with no sign that she’s slowing down anytime soon.

Maggie Leon on her way to taking the turkey.

On the men’s side of the competition, the race was tight, and judges deliberated for longer than usual to decide who would make the podium. It came down to an honorable mention for Evan Bloch and Alex Caccamo, both in top form, but needing a bit more consistency over the full hour of competition to score some baked goods.

Evan Bloch sending the transfer feature.

Jake Gaudet’s style is one of its own; it’s a pleasure to watch this kid maneuver his board. Jake locked in his 3rd place podium spot with a lofty back 270-bring back, bonking off the ball jib and gapping to the down of the transfer feature. And the runner up was LJ Twombly, a silent assassin of sorts, and another young gun to keep an eye on. The kid just lands on his feet, and all said and done, check marks run across the judge’s sheets next to his name.

Landing on his feet in 3, 2, 1, stomped. Silent assassin, LJ Twombley.

Topping the podium was local-legend-in-the-making, Joey Leon, and there was no question about the top spot on the day. Joey has lurked in the shadows for a long time, behind riders like Tim Major, Billy Keil, and Nate Haust… seemingly watching their every move. Sunday showed a lot of promise for this kid, much more than we’ve seen in the past. For every drop, it seemed Joey was taking two. For every trick missed, or not landed perfectly, it was immediate redemption on the next hit. In the spirit of not jinxing a thing here, we’re eagerly waiting to see what Joey brings to the table at Rails 2 Riches. 

And with that, the Leon siblings have locked in their places on the Rails 2 Riches riders list, and a few others from the day will likely get the call up for December 9th. In the meantime, we’ll be waiting on that Darkside x Leon family turkey dinner invite.

It was happening that fast, Joey Leon laying claim to the entire venue.


Last Weekend, Whenever: Rust – A Killington Opening Video

Stunts: Jake Fournier, Maggie Leon, Evan Bloch, Savannah Shinske, Chris Depaula, and Joey Leon

Words by Joey Leon

The official status of KMR, as of Nov 15, 2017.

Killington finally opened for the 17/18 season on November 9, so we got up there by 8 am! At least we meant to. In actuality, we woke up around 10 and devoted a couple hours to shenanigans before actually heading up to the mountain. It took us some time to put our on boots and get up to the lift, which put us at about 12:30 by the time we were riding. Close enough.

Jake Fournier, Savannah Shinske and myself were there in hopes of getting some clips of ourselves, and we just happened to meet up with a bunch of other people we hadn’t seen in a while, which definitely added to the hype. It was also our first time using a new lens, which made for extra nervous energy about getting a lens hit. After a day of mostly slipping off and falling, we headed home – which involved a hike up the stairs to the top of the K1. This took a lot more effort than any of us were ready for.

We decided to stop for a spliff break, but right behind us was mountain ambassador (aka the fun police), who told us to keep walking. In that short time frame, our hands got so cold that we had to go into the lodge before heading back down the gondola.

In one final move of first-day-of-the-season grace, Savannah fell walking up the stairs from the lodge. We all laughed, and she almost got a shinner. After a relatively non-eventful ride back down the K1 gondola, we had to stop at Darkside (as always) because I broke my edge. Classic.

The night was pretty mellow and we actually all ended up just studying after riding. It was lit.– Joey Leon