Rocky Mountain Hollywood
by jim moran
The year was 1992. At the time, I was living in Summit County, Colorado. My roommate and my best friend, Justin Patnode, had just gotten spots to be stunt doubles for the movie "Aspen Extreme." The problem was that Justin had torn his ACL a few day's earlier.
Justin had his heart broken by the injury, but he was still strong enough to tell the director (E.J. Forester) that he new someone that could replace him. E.J. was skeptical, and said "If he is really good, he'll prove it at the try outs, so you can invite him." I did not know anything about this.
Justin came up to me and said that I had been invited to the tryouts for the film "Aspen Extreme." I was pretty successful so far that year, but being only 18, I was a touch nervous that this was a $16.8 million motion picture. I said "OK dude, I will do my best."
The day of the tryouts came quickly, and I had no idea what they wanted to see. They took us all to Snowbowl on a bitchin' powder day. Then they told us all to go to the top of this run, and wait. I was amazed at the size of the camera. It was like a small car! There were guys on radios, Camera Men, Assistant Camera Men, grunts, the Director, and about six Assistant Directors-too many people it seemed. One of the Assistant Directors told us that they would send eight skiers at once, and check them out on the way down. Then he chose a bunch of people to go first. I was one.
I thought to myself "OK this is a big deal. I will go really fast at the beginning to get in front, then I will just show my stuff." It was a small plan, but at least I had one. They even had a gun to start us. "Bang" I was off, and I was 't messing around. I skied as fast as I could to get in front of the pack. Then I saw a great air right on the first knoll. I pulled a huge double spread eagle. I was still going very fast. I decided to show them my diversity with nice carved turns, totally in control. I decided to straighten them out, and rip up a bump line. I threw two more huge tricks, then changed back to carved turns. Last, I saw this huge air right in front of the Directors chair. I hit it hard, and threw a huge floating helicopter. I landed five feet from the Director, hit my brakes, and stopped dead in front of him.
"Hey Jim, you can relax kid, you got the part!" E.J. said to me.
"Awesome Jim," Justin yelled. He had made the trip up on a snowmobile to check it out. I still had not figured it out quite yet. I looked back up the hill. The other seven guys were about half way down. I not only beat them all, it was a total smoke show.
"Jim I was not sure of your talents. I had to be sure for myself, but you have the second unit spot to play Dexter. I will see you in Aspen," E.J.said.