By Pete Alport
Plans for the first Booters Ball started when Tim Durtschi successfully completed a train tunnel step down 180 in the Tahoe Backcountry. I thought, "we need to build one of these (step-downs) entirely out of snow, and without someone pushing you into the drop." Shortly after these thoughts, plans were drawn not only for a gigantic step-down, but many other features for our own private "Super Park."
The following processes in making a step-down and other unique park features come to life were well beyond just riding in a Bombardier BR 350 and pushing snow around, we had to find a resort cool enough to support our ideas (i.e. Mt. Shasta Ski Park), compose an athlete roster list of both snowboarders and skiers capable of hitting the features, set up lodging cheap enough to cover the even the slimmest of athlete budgets, setting a date that didn't compete with the ever lasting competition season, gathering talented photographers to make Kodak Courage worth while, probing for adequate snow depths so as not hit dirt and or rocks, and a ton of other shit you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want to deal with, but have to in order to make this happen.
A long time friend of mine, Ty Parks, had recently moved back to the city of Mt. Shasta to take on the job as terrain park manager. I spoke to him about the Booters Ball idea and asked him to set up a meeting with his superiors. After a surprisingly easy and receptive meeting with Chuck, partial owner of Mt. Shasta Ski Park, and Ty, head of the Ski Park terrain park, an agreement was struck to have the first Annual RAGE Films Booters Ball April 16-20 at Ski Park in Mt. Shasta, California.
After the agreement was struck, I sent out invitations to both snowboarders and skiers who in turn, recommended people within their circle whom they felt could ride. Photographers were also invited: Gene Dwarkin, Erik Seo, Brian Becker, and Kevin W.(forget last name). All in all, about 40 crunked out persons showed up to display their riding, photography, videography, and filming skills.
The building process started Monday, April 11 by probing snow depths, marking out distances for the features, and having a meeting with cat drivers, management, ski patrol, lift operators, and anyone else who would be affiliated with Mt. Shasta Ski Park. By Monday afternoon we began pushing snow for the 100' true channel gap; this gap is not for jumping side to side, but rather, downhill, a 20' tall takeoff wedge in front, 100' gap in the center, and 23' tall landing wedge on bottom. This jump would prove to be the most difficult to hit and to build for upcoming 9 days.
Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were spent pushing up a 60' gap, a 75' step up, and the replicated Tim Durtschi 30' step down. The cat crew, Jason, Gabe, Frank, Ty, Chuck, and Rich worked tirelessly to make these features badass. The most difficult of these three to build was the stepdown; the process involved shaving down, pound beer, shave down, pound beer, and so on til we had what we called the Monolith.
By Friday night we had broken the winch cat twice, had terrible sunburns, and were pretty much spent, but wait, the riders were just showing up to the Mt. Air Lodge ready to get their jib on.
Saturday, the 75' step up, labeled Pizza & Beer, got destroyed. NC Productions snowboarder Skylar Thornton threw down flawless frontside 720s while RAGE crew Tommy Ellingson bypassed the landing and stomped 900 after 900 in the flats. Newcomers to the RAGE crew, Ty Battersby, Tosh Peters, Kyler Cooley, Dylan Natal, Wiley, and Jack also tore it up with 1080s, cork 7s, and 5s. This jump was hammered on with style throughout the entire Ball.
Later in the afternoon, Max Peters and Ty Battersby hiked up the 40' ladder to the top of the Monolith. They looked over the edges at 30' drops on all sides, but only one landing in the front. Max was anxious and wanted to drop it with a quickness. We hustled the camera gear to get the shot and he went after we were set up. He landed, compressed hella hard, and rode out. He yelled back up to Ty that it was all-good and that it could be stuck. Ty dropped, compressed, and we knew that the landing had to be a little taller and a little farther out to be stompable.
Saturday night was a caravan of people going from kind aromatic room to kind aromatic room with beverages in hand to bullshit about the day, kick it, and get ready for the morning.
Sunday, the Monolith was fixed and Max, Ty, Kyler, Jack, and Tommy did drop after drop, pulling 180 after 180. Late Sunday afternoon, we asked little pimp Tosh if he wanted to put on the headcam and hit Pizza & Beer, which he was already killing. The kid's cool, said yes, and proceeded to throw perfect corked 7s and finished up with a 1080 in the bottom of the landing.
Sunday night was a caravan of people going from kind aromatic room to kind aromatic room with beverages in hand to bullshit about the day, kick it, and get ready for the morning.
On Monday, Kyler Cooley went off. He and others talked about the zero and sw 3 off the Monolith, but no one had done it. He decided it was time. Kyler hiked up the 40' ladder, sidestepped up the drop in with 35' foot certain carnage if you stumbled, to perfect zero first try. He then proceeded to do sw 360s both ways. This kid is good and so is his counterpart Jack. Monday afternoon was led again, by Tommy and Ty on Pizza & Beer with 9s, sw 9s, zeros, and right side 7s.
Monday night was a caravan of people going from kind aromatic room to kind aromatic room with beverages in hand to bullshit about the day, kick it, and get ready for the morning.
Tuesday night was straight out of Hollywood; we lit the Monolith and a newly built tree jib. Our lighting material consisted of Ski Park's night-lights, four Bombardier cats, a generator with shop lights, and six flares. AJ, Dewey, Jack, and Kyler were true hicks and chopped away at the Northern California moss covered tree. Heights on the jib were reaching over 12' above the lip. The tree and skiers had played enough and it was time to move back over to the Monolith. Kyler and Jack were tired, beat up, and should of gone back to the motel for spanky time, but they were determined to make segments in the upcoming RAGE Film Booter Crunk. They were true soldiers and proceeded to stomp landing after landing until the flares died and everyone had taken some of the most distinctive pictures/footage ever captured.
Wednesday was the cool down day, people checked out of the hotel, said thanks, and began their drives back to their homelands. No ever hit the 100' true channel; the landing was too short and the riders were going to be at least 40' off the ground... to gnarly for this go around.
All in all, there was a sprained ankle for Mark Devorak, 3 broken vertebrae for one snowboarder, and one broken tailbone for another. The people of Mt. Shasta Ski Park, Chuck, Andy, Rich, Ty, Jason, Frank, Gabe and all others affiliated are some of the most down to earth, hardworking, coolest people around. The resort is coming up quick with their terrain features, so make sure to check it out if you are in the Northern California area (http://www.skipark.com).
Thanks to all who showed up. RAGE Films is going to bring you some the dopest footage ever captured from the first ever Booters Ball in our latest release Booter Crunk.