words by Dave Pires
photos by Jammin Josh Anderson
As the epicenter of the ski world shifts from Sweden to Whistler this week, a small army has retreated to three condos in northern Idaho to capture some of the best young skiers in the world at Schweitzer Mountain’s Poor Boyz Jib Jam.
Today is the second day of the shoot, and yesterday’s shenanigans resulted in some unfortunate injuries that knocked a couple of riders out of commission. Mike Wilson caught a concussion attempting to misty flip a 13-foot box-to-box gap second try. It’s his second concussion in seven days but he’ll probably walk it off. Also, Alexi Godbout stress fractured his back after an innocent run at a haggard wall ride went terribly wrong. The wall was part of Schweitzer’s regular park, and because the mountain is closed it hadn’t been maintained in seven days.
If you’ve ever witnessed something like this, you know that film shoots sound and smell like snowmobiles. As riders are constantly towed up the hill, the brap and whine of sleds dominates everything and the smell of exhaust drifts through the air. This morning, clouds rolled in and out as Pete Alport and John Spriggs shuttled bandanna-clad prodigies past “44 Magnum,” a Candide-style 44-foot gap to flat-down box. Once everyone dialed their speed things started to go off, with the hard-working Matt Margetts dominating the feature with a variety of stylish tricks.
Most of the other riders struggled to nail down solid tricks, but as the afternoon sun began to warm the snow John Spriggs hopped off his sled and got down to business. Spriggs made short work of the gap, nailing down a lanky Rodeo 450 to 270 out after just a few tries.
John Symms (dislocated hip) was out in force, providing his trademark witty commentary, and as Spriggs struggled to nail down a cleaner shot of the same trick, he was happy to offer some helpful advice.
“Hey Spriggs! Do you want my jacket? You look like a blue piece of Laffy Taffy getting thrown off the kicker!”
Symms’ red jacket might have helped Spriggs show up better on camera, but a combination of worsening weather and Spriggs’ hammer trick brought an end to the morning session.
Everyone settled in for lunch and waited for the grooming crew to clean up the landings on the “Kicker Kicker,” a back-to-back jump line sponsored by Kicker Audio. As the light deteriorated, one hour turned into three, and the hill began to ice over. Finally, a sparse crowd gathered at the top of the first jump. When the topic of first hit came up there was a lot of silence and shifting around, but eventually Margetts and Spriggs stepped up yet again and guinea pigged the jump together. They escaped unscathed and the session was on, but the shifty weather and long break had taken its toll, and when the sun finally broke through close to sunset, Margetts, Spriggs, Dane Tudor, and Matt Walker were the only riders still working. Eventually the sun dropped behind Schweitzer’s North ridge, and today’s jam quietly drew to a close.