The popular Rail Jam on Queen and Columbia is a must-see event during the Rossland Winter Carnival. It goes 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Photo: Jim Bailey

The popular Rail Jam on Queen and Columbia is a must-see event during the Rossland Winter Carnival. It goes 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Photo: Jim Bailey

Update: Rossland Winter Carnival getting back on track

Rail Jam will hit the half-pipes and rails in downtown Rossland at its familar course on Queen St.

The Rossland Winter Carnival Society is excited to be back in 2023 with most of its favourite events and festivities intact.

Festival highlights like the Olaus Ice Palace, Blizzard Music Festival, the Rail Jam, snow volleyball, luge events, and the Firefighters pancake breakfast are all good to go Jan. 26-29.

However, other favourites have yet to be determined.

“I had hoped that we would have had a lot of things resolved around the insurance,” said carnival committee head and Rossland councillor Lisa Kwiatkowski.

“The committee started the process knowing that insurance would be a major obstacle this year.”

Rosslanders looked forward to the return of the Sonny Samuelson Bobsled Race and John Heinz Relay Race, but that possibility is looking more and more remote.

“This year, we started back in July with high hopes, but once it came to seeking actual quotes from companies, we had a real, real challenge.”

The good news is that Red Mountain was able to get insurance to put on a festival favourite, the “Game On, Rail Jam.”

Kwiatkowski confirmed that the Jam will hit the half-pipes and rails in downtown Rossland at its familar course on Queen St.

In addition, the world famous professional carving team, Slocan Snow Sculptures, will be fashioning their unique creations downtown, on Cook Avenue, and at Red Mountain, as well as ice slides at the library and Cook Park.

The committee encourages residents to participate in Rossland Recreation’s “Yardival” contest and build a snowfort party palace.

Also events such as a retro-themed curling bonspiel will sweep into the curling rink, and the Rossland Sr. Warriors will host Games 3 and 4 of their senior hockey playoffs against the Penticton Silver Bullets on Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28, at 7 p.m. for both games, at the Rossland Arena.

Community partners like Red have stepped up to take on the hosting of events. The committee updated its website Friday, Jan. 20 announcing that they received support to put on the parade.

The Rossland Branch of the Nelson and District Kootenay Savings will take on the task of organizing the popular parade down Columbia Avenue on Friday evening from 6:30-7 p.m.

This year the committee has also faced challenges in securing a security company to oversee the event.

“Historically we’ve had the same security for years, and they haven’t been able to support the carnival this year, there’s just limited service providers in that space,” Kwiatkowski said.

The councillor has a wealth of experience in helping organize some of the world’s most prestigious events including three Olympic and Paralympic Games in Vancouver 2010, London 2012 and Sochi 2014.

She hopes to get underwriters and security firms on board again. Having a successful, strongly supported, and safe event is a good place to start.

“It’s a community effort for sure, and I think the volunteers have been strong in town, and we are going to really rally together to support this as much as we can,” she said.

The Carnival is one of Canada’s longest running events, kicking off back in 1898 with few interruptions along the way.

However, COVID and a 2017 accident resulting in legal action put the bobsled race and other events on hold. Yet, for the community, and all who have followed and contributed to what Olaus Jeldness started 125 years ago – the show must go on.

“The good news is we are bringing some of the carnival back,” added Kwiatkowski. “It might not be the full-meal-deal carnival that we are probably use to but we are building back, and hopefully building back stronger and more resilient.

“It’s just going to take some time and patience.”

Interested in volunteering at the Winter Carnival, email info@rosslandwintercarnival.com or check out their facebook page or rosslandcarnival.com for updates.

Read: Rossland launches COVID safe Winter Carnival

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