RAGE Films’ Booters Ball II Words & Photos:  Rage Films April 28th through May 6th was an exclusive time for a select few in the skiing jib culture.  This would be the time for the young phenoms to session a private super park on the southeastern flanks of massive Mt. Shasta’s resort.  Simply put: it was time for RAGE Films Booters Ball II.Prior to the arrival of such names as Kyler Cooley, Wiley Miller, Taylor Felton, AJ Burton, Tommy Ellingson, Derek Spong, and Mike Wilson, ten days of construction was put forth to make conditions prime for jibbing.  Assisting RAGE in its efforts were AJ De Saint Falle (friend and jibber), Corey Felton (Taylor’s brother, a friend, and possible entrant into our 2007/8 film), Eli Pyke (RAGE employee), Ty Parks (Mt. Shasta’s terrain park manager), Jed (a cat driver), Gabe (a cat driver), Chuck and Andy (owner’s of the resort), the Mechanic Maintenance Crew (kept all machines running tip top), and Richard (General Manager of the resort). Pushing the features into a general shape went well; the weather cooperated and the snow was setting each night.  After the cats had completed their task, the incredibly fun moment had come to clean all the walls by hand and shovel.  There were six lucky contestants: Taylor, Corey, Ty, Pete, AJ, and Eli.  Three days of back braking, sun burning, dehydrating work was complete.  The results of our efforts were immaculate faces on two ginormous 100+ft channel gaps.  Sitting on the perimeter of the channel gaps were faintly constructed two symmetrical tree jibs, an up rail to table top, a 65ft. tabletop, a box jib to step down, and a gap to down rail.  We kept these features rough and incomplete so that the athletes would focus their attention on the channel gaps, session it, rotate to the next feature of choice, session it, move on to the next, and so on; this format worked well.Now that the set up was complete it was time for the skiers to commute, check in and unload their torn and tattered, smelly, worked over by the season gear into the now dubbed “sketchy, shady, Asian man leave my room alone Mt. Air Lodge” and head up to the resort.   Since the resort is closed for the season, snowmobiles are the only mode of transportation, thus each jibber doubled up or towed behind the nice, quite, environmentally friendly machines (note: all of RAGE’s Arctic Cat snowmobiles are hybrids…ya right, we’re die hard American’s and we need all the horsepower we can get). Upon cresting one of the majestic ski resorts runs is the athlete’s first visual of the Super Park.  I watched each individual’s expression as their attention was immediately drawn to the channel gaps.  Almost everyone had the same response “Holy Shit were gonna hit that.  Wait, are those two jumps going in opposite direction.  Fuck-N-A!”The heavy hitters for guinea pigging the 100 ft. gaps were Tommy Ellingson, Taylor Felton, and of course Mike Wilson.  These guys aren’t elected to this task, they just kind of get this reputation through their daily skiing habits; big and powerful.  We found out towing in for the jump was a must, you come up short and you’re, well, we’ll talk about that later.  Mike was eager to get the ball rollin and with the assistance of our expert snowmobile tow guide Corey Felton, speed checks were underway.  After Mike had made a couple passes, the question was given to the onlookers, “How does it look, do you think I have enough speed?”  Most were confident with Mike’s speed and so he headed back to the top of the in run to put his balls on the line.  As Mike popped over the hill, he let go of the 65 mph sled’s tow rope, crouched into form and began his descent down the perfect in run.  He approached the lip and poof, major airtime baby.  He crested the 25ft. vertical wall with grace and now the shit was on. The next three gorgeous days were spent hitting one side of the two gaps.  While hitting the “1st” jump, we captured 900s, unatty7s, 5s, 3s, Rodeo 7s, and 5s, and other acrobatical stunts.  Notables on this jump were Taylor, Tommy, Kyler, Derek, and Mike. Looming large during this time was the infamous opposing jump, fully symmetrical as the current jump, and a slightly better landing.  After Derek had finished up with an impressive morning shoot he, Mike, AJ (de Saint Falle), and Alex Dillard went to the other side, the “2nd” jump, to begin speed checks.  The in run for this jump was longer, with more flat bottom towards the lip.  This meant there had to be more speed from the top, which we all thought existed due to the length being double and the pitch steeper.  The three brave soles tested speed for a while, Alex stating, “I am going so fast my skis are barely staying on the ground.”  The other three soldiers felt confident with their speed, but opted not to hit the jump due to poor light.  Some of the riders agreed to show back up the following morning to session the “2nd” jump; it would be a session that lasted only one hit. The following morning Derek was up and eager to get the 2nd jump underway.  We prepared the jump by raking, grooming, slipping, digging, and salting.  Derek speed checked numerous times, each time looking as though he had the speed needed to carry the distance.  After his final speed check we all agreed Derek had enough speed.  Derek made his final ascent to the top.  He began his march down the in run, to the lip, and off.  Derek was in the air.  He came towards the knuckle.  He did not have the distance.  He came up five feet short.  He would be life flighted to the Redding hospital, have multiple broken ribs and broken discs in his back, a partially torn spleen, and two layers torn in his aorta.  Derek is making incredible progress and should be fine. The day was done.After receiving news that Derek’s surgeries went well and he would live, the crew of skier’s were mildly hungry to get back to jibbin’ the following day. Another beautiful morning was underway and Mike was ready to try his hand at the infamous 2nd jump.  Again the in run was prepped and Mike decided to have assistance via snowmobile.  Although he did not witness the horrendous accident the day before, he has had his experience’s coming up short; he would make every effort possible to not have that happen on this jump.  Mike decided to add more pop to the jump and tow in as fast as the sled could go; a 100+ MPH to be exact.Mike made numerous speed checks and decided it was time.  He made his ascent to the top, turned around, and made his march down the in run.  He hit the lip at 85 MPH, blasted off the lip, and was way the fuck in the air.  He cleared the knuckle by a ton and landed in the bottom of the tranny.  He traveled 190 ft., his skis stayed on, and he had enough for one day.  Biggest air I have ever seen. The rest of the day was spent screwing around.  Some sessioned the 65 ft., while others turned the wall of the gap to down rail into a quarterpipe to rail.  Tommy and AJ killed this feature, while Mike tried double back flips off the side of the qp.That night the crew spoke about performing doubles on the channel gaps.  This was the main design/goal of the jump set up and had never been achieved in the skiing world (kind of in Warren Miller many years ago, but never from two opposing hills). A sunny morning had Taylor and Mike eager to get the doubles underway.  After the calculations of timing had been guessed to near exactness.  Mike and Taylor began their doubles assault.   Three times they hit each lip simultaneously, Mike throwing huge 150 ft. 5s and a front flip so large that children in far regions were scared, while Taylor threw some of the biggest, floatiest 180s and 7s I have ever recorded.  This shit was the definition of “Off The Hook”.The remaining days of Booters Ball II were spent slaying less massive set ups and more technical features. An up rail to table top gap: inward 810s and other superb tricks were dropped; notables: Kyler, Taylor, and Mark.  A dual tree jib:  Wiley and Kyler chewing the bark at the same time, Taylor discharging bark off the tree at heights reaching Candide’s.  A 65 ft. table top: sw7s, zeros, blah, blah; notables: everyone.  All other features will added and edited into RAGE’s upcoming film. Thanks to all who attended and threw down at Mt. Shasta Ski Park (http://www.skipark.com).  See you next year at the RAGE Films’ Booters Ball III.


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