R.A.P. Productions Presents
by jim moran
I had just been introduced to a huge movie star, and he was super cool. His
name was Scott Kennett. I had seen him ski in big films since I was a pup.
Scott and I had met briefly a few weeks earlier, and now he was on my home
mountain making turns with me.
I did not realize it then, but Scott was checking me out as a possibility
to ski with him in a Real Action Production ski film. We skied around the
mountain and I showed him some cool spots. When the day was done, Scott asked
me what I would be doing in 3 weeks. “Why,” I asked.
“Well I was hoping you could do a film with me in Taos, New Mexico.”
I was 20-years old and I had just moved to A-Basin, CO a year earlier to
see what I could do. A ski film with Kennett—this was a big step for me. My
life was about to make some big changes and this was one of them. Kennett
told me to meet him in Telluride so that we could make the trip down south.
I got my skis shined up, grabbed a stick of juicy fruit and headed on my
way. At the time, my life was on fire with change. I had just won the Colorado
Region for mogul skiing; I jumped back and forth from Vermont in the summer
to Colorado in the winter, had the National Championships to deal with in
a few weeks, and had skied in a multi-million dollar production film. (Aspen
I got to Kennett’s house and had the great opportunity to meet Zutnick, the
famous ski dog. We decided that we would leave in the morning, so we went
to sleep early and made the drive the next day.
When we made it to Taos, Scott had a few people he wanted to introduce me
“I would like you all to meet Jim,” he said. “This is Bob Coakley, Kristen
Ulmer, Scott Harrington, and Bill Kerig. These are the other people with the
film crew.” We all had dinner and went to sleep for an early start the next
The moguls were great, so we all started with some bumpin’. We took some
shots of individuals, then took shots of all of us skiing together. We wanted
to change up, so we went into some tree bumps and played; we jumped through
a tree that was really tight and next to some big ones to add background.
When that was all over, we were torn with what to do with our limited time.
I suggested that we hit the really cool air under the lift near the bottom
of the mountain. Everyone had seen it on the way up—it was huge—but the run
was closed. Bob said that Taos had given us permission to ski anywhere, so
we decided to make the journey to the jump.
It was a wind lip that was so big it would send you up into the lift; if
you timed it wrong you’d get clocked.
I was psyched to hit this thing, but only Harrington wanted to join me. We
took a few test jumps before we filmed it. The time had come and I had that
weird feeling in my stomach like butterflies.
“OK,” Coakley yelled. I started the in-run, preparing for what I thought
would be cool as shit. The camera was filming from the back so I jumped up,
did a 180, crossed my skis, threw a peace sign, and finished with another
180 and my landing.
“Holy Shit Moran! That was one of the coolest things I have seen. You were
so close to that chair you almost took your head off,” Coakley said. “Can
you do that again?”
I did it again, and then I wanted to try another trick. (I can’t do this
trick anymore so if you ever want to see it, check out the film “Carving the
White”) I threw a 180 iron cross- 180 Cossack. If I did that today I think
I would rip my legs apart on the Cossack. The day was over and everyone thought
I was a stud including R.A.P. because they used that shot to close the segment.
We spent the next few days skiing all over the mountain to show the size
and diversity of their terrain. We did a few more shots that were cool, like
me dropping of a cliff and landing perfectly between Kennett and Harrington,
as well as some backcountry with Ulmer.
The R.A.P. guys asked me to join them again in a month or so. I said yes,
then made my way home to continue with my changing life. I got second at the
National Championships for bumps and made it on the US Ski Team.
After Nationals, I made the trip down to Telluride again where we then headed
up to an old rock cabin out in the middle of nowhere that can only be accessed
by a snowmobile or foot.
This place was awesome. It sat on a frozen lake with beautiful mountains
all around it. We were going to hike and ski the backcountry. No bump shit
in this one, just what Mother Nature gives you in the backcountry. We noticed
a big air and an old mining structure that was cool looking, so we filmed
some air shots. We spent most of our time hiking up the mountain to ski this
radically steep, rock-filled terrain.
We did some cool things to show the beauty and simplicity of the backcountry.
Once again, I closed the segment with a heli-ironcross; you can see the rock
house and the same backward floating peace sign.
The film was a blast and it was a great first experience in the ski movie
world. All of my shots made it in, and they asked me to do their next film
“The White Room.” But that story is for another day, so go out to your local
video store and ask them if they have a copy of either one and enjoy.