Words: Dave Pires
Photos: Josh “AJSuckMyLeft…nut” Anderson
The fifth day of the Poor Boyz Jib Jam marked the halfway point of the 10-day shoot, and the week’s second scheduled competition went off under a massive blue Idaho sky.
After a fresh grooming and reshaping of the “Kicker Kicker” by birthday boy Josh King, the twin 75-foot tables were ready to go. The riders were out early, and the beautiful weather had everyone in high spirits after days of unpredictable cloud cover.
Mike Henitiuk, Christian Sirianni, and Parker Hemingway
The morning started off with a roll call to ensure all the athletes were on-hill, and quickly moved to a run-down of the setup from the fearsome Pete Alport, who was preparing to spend his second day high in a lift tower.
Pete “Kill them with kindness” Alport
“You get 10 hits; after five runs we’ll take a break to reset the camera angles and slip the jumps… We’ve got some critters up there, a beaver and a bunny. Touch them for luck, it’s probably the only touch of that you’ll get while you’re here…”
“Double flips, anybody?”
All the riders from yesterday’s practice were present except Matt Margetts, who was lost last night to the gravitational pull of Whistler, and narrowly missed himself on the cover of the Sandpoint Daily Bee (the local paper).
Photo by Parker Hemingway
Once again the whine of sleds shattered the morning calm, and three machines struggled uphill through the soft spring snow, spraying trailing riders from head to toe. The relaxed format and set number of runs gave the riders a chance to take the day at their own speed, but to nobody’s surprise, that speed was swift.
Almost all of the riders were at ease spinning both ways, proving the versatility and skill required to come up in skiing these days. Fresh from an interview with the History Channel, silent soldier Derek Spong lead the way, linking back-to back natural and unnatural spins every run. John Strenio also stepped up and set the bar high once again with his trademark switch Misty 9’s.
Oscar Scherlin was infected with Jon Olsson’s blessing and curse, skiing like he perfected his style a long time ago, and making every trick look like he wasn’t even trying. Xavier Bertoni, tapping his mismatched poles behind his back before every hit, was also going huge. The well-rested Coby Trudell was skiing like a young Mike Douglas, and Mike Henitiuk, Ben Moxham, and Andrew Hathaway were smooth and stylish as always. Dane Tudor also brought some fresh style to the afternoon with an impressive Lazy Boy 5, later falling 15-feet to flat off the lip of the second jump during a speed check gone wrong.
The History Channel came for Spong, but the Discovery channel came for Dane Tudor.
Motivated by some mathematically precise coaching from John Symms, Christian Sirianni was also looking extremely solid on his skis, but as the afternoon wore on he started to have some trouble locking his tricks down. Eventually all the riders completed their 10 runs and everyone headed down to catch some rest before the rapidly approaching sunset and night shoots.
With beautiful lake Pend O’Reille shimmering blue in the background everyone gathered on the hill once again, and it was no surprise to see Bertoni and Garcia sack up and drop in first, each knocking off four hits before any of the other riders had figured out their speed.
It may have been the slick conditions or the number of photographers gathered on deck, but most of the riders opted to keep it stylish, emphasizing solid grabs over big spins. In fact, Strenio decided he liked grabbing so much, he tried to hit the jump sitting on a chair.
After a full day of punishment the jumps were in worse condition than anticipated, and as the sun went down everybody had to clear the hill for a winch cat that was brought in to smooth things out. The riders were gathered at the bottom waiting for Josh King to begin tidying the jumps when a ruling was handed down from above. In a flash a swarm of sleds rushed the riders back up the hill for some more hits. With the mountains and clouds glowing pink in the background, the photographer ant cluster was all smiles and laughs as rider after rider launched into the exceptional light.
Oscar Scherlin. John Symms GTSing.
When darkness finally fell the Schweitzer crew lit a couple of pallets on fire to keep the athletes warm while the jumps were groomed and four powerful flood lights erected. Soon enough a sugar-free Red Bull shotgun contest erupted, with Steven “Ketchup and Mustard” Becker facing off against the veteran Cody Carter for bragging rights and $60.
After downing two cans each, Carter emerged victorious, but Becker protested, and issues over the size of his can’s hole and the amount of Red Bull remaining in Cody’s second can left only one option: A sudden death single-can winner-takes-all shotgun battle. In less time than was humanly thought possible, Becker destroyed Carter, vindicating himself and collecting the cash.
With muscles tightening in the cold, most of the riders were ready to go when the grooming was complete, and Scherlin surprised everyone by fearlessly guinea pigging the fresh jump with a switch 10.
Shortly after Scherlin’s launch into the stratosphere an intensive re-shaping of the lip took place, but just as the construction neared completion Cody Albino decided to drive a sled up the fresh in-run, flipping it in the process. Luckily no one was hurt, and the scars from the upturned sled were easily mended.
Finally, the remaining crew of Strenio, Scherlin, Henitiuk, Hathaway, Spong, Moxham, Garcia, Bertoni, and Trudell were unleashed on the well-lit setup. The fact that these riders were still down to rip after a grueling day is testament to how hungry they are. Skiing until 10:30, 12 hours after they arrived on the hill, the hard work they put in was greatly appreciated by everyone present and resulted in some amazing footage. If this is skiing’s next generation of superstars, the work ethic shown today proved that our sport is in phenomenal hands.
John Strenio and Andrew Hathaway