The 2007 Freeskier Camp Guide!

The 2007 Freeskier Camp Guide!

Summer freeskiing camps have evolved from being a novelty to a staple on Mount Hood and Whistler; they offer more coaching, more variety, more terrain and, perhaps paramount, more pro skiers. Camps are the best way to get better at skiing by riding features of all sizes and shapes under the supportive eyes of coaches eager to help you progress. They are also great places to learn from – and hit jumps with – pros, without the barriers of access to such freeskiing idols found at big events like the X Games and other competitions.

Each camp has its own distinct flavor, so choosing the right one is purely subjective. Click below to see a quick snapshot of what each camp offers and what dates they run. In general, the bigger camps are owned and operated by former pros – Camp of Champions by Ken Achenbach, Windells by Tim Windell, Momentum by John Smarty and High North by Shane Szocs. We asked each of them to talk about what its like to run a camp and what sets theirs apart from the others.

John Smart, Momentum

What year did you start your camp?

What was the reason you started it?
I had been working for another camp for two years, World Mogul, and some of the kids began asking me why I didn’t start my own camp… so I did.

What were some of your biggest achievements as a pro before you started your camp?
I had been on the World Cup Freestyle circuit for six years, won multiple World Cup medals in moguls, including my first gold in ’91, and came in fifth at the 1992 Olympics. This was the same year we started our camp.

How is life different for you now?
I started the camp when I was 26 and I’m now 41, married and have two sons. The sport has changed radically, however the camp has remained the same. When we started, we taught what we thought was the craziest stuff on skis — 16 years later, we still do. The big difference for me is I used to inspire the kids, now they inspire me. Many went on to lead the new school movement, while others went on to win World Cups and Olympic gold.

What’s it like to go from pro skier to pro babysitter?
The kids are highly motivated and are here to learn and get better. Because of the talent of our coaches, there is a level of respect that makes it easy to motivate and teach them. Camp has always been fun for me; it’s never like work, and especially not babysitting.

Tell us a funny story about camp.
We used to have a trampoline directly below the coaches’ room on the third floor and night crawlers from the bars would wake us up in the wee hours trying to bounce on it. Each of the coaches’ rooms had at least two large garbage cans of cold water in them and we got tremendous satisfaction from seeing and hearing the shock of these unsuspecting pleasure seekers getting hit out of nowhere by a waterfall of cold water.

Are there any similarities between being a pro and running a camp for kids who want to turn pro?

Ha! More than half of our coaching crew came from our camp — it’s become part of the lifecycle of a pro skier!

Shane Szocs, High North

What year did you start your camp?
1998, so this summer will be our 10th year.

What was the reason you started it?
There were a ton of race, mogul and snowboard camps on the mountain, but nobody saw the potential to build a park for skiers. I thought it would be cool to introduce people to freeskiing and park.

What were some of your biggest achievements as a pro before you started your camp?
Getting to be a part of the crew that helped put skiing back on the map. When we started skiing the park we’d get snowballed and yelled at for riding the pipe and told we couldn’t ski in the “snowboard parks.� Then we created twin tip skis specifically designed for the park, did demos for the X Games to get skiers in and brought freestyle to the backcountry. The rest, as they say, is history.

How is life different for you now?
I’m in control of my schedule, so I get to go ski and get photos on all the good days. I also get to do some really unique things, like help put on the K2 Back 9 here in Whistler, plus travel to Japan and Europe a lot. So far, I’m still living the dream.

How many campers did you have your first year in operation?
That first year we had 18 campers in two sessions. They included Anthony Boronowski, JT Holmes and Ryan Schmies of K2. Coaches included JP, Cusson, Seth, McConkey, Atkinson and myself.

How did you pick the location?
Whistler is the ultimate place for summer ski camps. I started doing summer camps here when I was 12 at the Toni Sailer Summer Ski Camp on Whistler Mountain, so I’ve been going up to ski in the summer for 21 years now! The town rocks, there are tons of lakes and things to do after riding all day.

What’s it like to go from pro skier to pro babysitter?
Do you mean like pro babysitter, or babysitter to the pros? I think it’s a bit of a combo.

Tell us one funny story about camp.
I remember when JP was sending the 40-foot table with Rascal, a pug dog, and someone was followcaming. It was classic because the dog was really calm until they actually took off, then he just kind of spazzed out and it looked like JP was going to lose him. The other funny one I can remember is the story that campers told me about when Seth took them up to ski one of the lines down Hollywood. Some of the campers were looking all nervous because they had never seen anything that steep and Seth just looks at them and says “If this shit scares you, you should get out of the park a bit,� jumps in and starts shredding.

Are there similarities between being a pro and running a camp for kids who want to turn pro?
A lot of people think that running a camp is easy, just like being a pro is all about ripping the mountain by day and partying all night, right? Well, the truth is that running a camp and being a pro require a ton of dedication and hard work throughout the year.

What do you do the rest of the year?
Running the camp still allows me to do exactly what I want to do — ski the good days all winter and go for a wicked surf trip every fall. You should ask me that in a few months though, because Amanda and I are currently in the process of adopting two little girls from Ethiopia, so things are going to be turned upside down here for a while. But we’re super stoked for it!

Tim Windell, Windell’s

What year did you start your camp?
I started camp in 1986 in Stubaital, Austria.

What was the reason you started it?

No freestyle facilities were available in the mid-80’s and a simple notion of Tim Windell and Craig Kelly (rest his soul): “Let’s create a true training faculty and provide pro’s, amateurs and beginners alike; a place to progress.�

What were your biggest achievements before you started?
Traveling the World! “Winning World and National Championships.� Having the time of my life.

How is life different for you now?
I’m proud. Being one of the stepping-stones for the future of the sport is about as cool as it gets. I’m stoked.

How many campers did you have your first year?
The first camp’s roster included the pros of the day. With the Pro’s, Am’s and vacationing boarders, we topped out at 36.

How did you pick the location?
After test-driving Stubaital, Austria, Whistler/Blackcomb and Government Camp, Oregon, the world-famous Windell’s Camp settled at Mount Hood. The south-facing slope means all day long, Timberline is sunny and sick. The shear amount of snow Mt. Hood gets dwarfs the other resorts, so we can build the biggest and best facilities anywhere. One of the coolest things Windell’s has is camaraderie — all the campers are housed on campus, the majority of the activities take place on campus and everyone gets to know one another, thus making life-long friends.

What’s it like to go from pro athlete to pro babysitter?
If baby-sitting consists of watching bad asses like Shaun White, Eric Pollard, Tanner Hall, Sarah Burke, Gretchen Bleiler and Kristi Leskinen, Danny Kass, Hannah Teeter, Ryan Sheckler grow up, then YES, I am a pro babysitter and loving it.

Tell us one funny story about camp.


Are there any similarities between being a pro and running a camp for kids who want to turn pro?
Kids come to camp for a reason: to be a pro or just to have fun. Whatever it may be, any positive help through life will make them a better person. And if they’re good enough, I have connections to a sick-ass sponsor.

What do you do the rest of the year?

Judge the X Games and the rest of the world’s badass events, ski and board.

Ken Achenbach, Camp of Champions

What year did you start your camp?
I started Camp of Champions in 1989. According to Professor Griff (Griffin Cumming) from 4FRNT, who was here the first year making homemade twin-tip skis, we always had skiers in our park. Ski camp started in ’97 I think.

What was the reason you started it?
I started camp to change skiing. New-school skiers were pretty hated back in the day and I came from a hated sport myself, snowboarding. When 99 percent of the world doesn’t get it, you know it must be something great. By having both sports together, it lets us build a park that is three to five times the size and sickness of any other ski camp out there. It also pushes and progresses skiing to be at a camp with snowboarders, instead of a ski-only camp. It provides ideas for tricks and someone to push them to the next level. We don’t care what’s on your feet as long as you are having fun.

What were your biggest achievements as a pro before you started your camp?
I got second in pipe in ‘83 at the Worlds, but my favorite things were opening the first exclusive snowboard store in the world; inventing the twin-tip with Neil Daffern; being a Les Arcs, Grand Montets and Verbier local more than I am a Whistler local; that and getting five weeks of heli at Wiegele’s in one winter. How is life different for you now? I don’t get five weeks at Wiegeles any more! A couple of friends and I bought half of Powder Mountain Catskiing, so I stopped going to Europe. I get all the pow I can eat [but] I still get twitchy if it’s been three weeks and I haven’t been somewhere. That’s the hard habit to break: the tons of travel.

What’s it like to go from pro skier to pro babysitter?
Babysitting is what you do when you have a pile of stupid rules that make kids want to see how many they can break. I have only three rules: no drinking, no drugs and a curfew of 10 p.m. We give campers respect and we get it back. With 50 of your friends for staff and a bunch of amped kids from around the world going off… if this is babysitting, I have the best job ever.

Tell us a funny story about camp.
Kent Kreitler and Josh Loubek getting schooled by a camper. We set up a 40-foot straight rail on top of a 60-foot table and Kent and Josh were trying to air onto the rail and slide it. Jon and Henrick were killing it. Kent and Josh killed themselves for two hours getting nothing. Then some camper kid came and nailed it first try, 270 off. Kent and Josh didn’t come back the next year. That’s a burn, when it still hurts a year later. That was five or six years ago and we still laugh about it.

Windell’s Mt. Hood, OR
Contact: windells.com or 800-765-7669
Dates: June 6-13, June 16-23, June 26-July3, July 6-13, July 16-23, July 26-Aug. 2, Aug. 5-11
Coaches: Tommy Ellingson, Tim Durtschi, Tyler Forman, Griffin Cummings, Ike Smith, Brandon Becker and Sammy Carlson
Other Activities: Whitewater rafting, go-karts, bowling, river tubing, swimming, paintball, canoeing, fishing, hiking, dodge ball, slip-n-slide, crocheting, horseshoes, basketball, volleyball, BMX, freestyle rap sessions, dance parties, talent shows and karaoke.
Facilities: Internet cafe, hot tub, pool table, ping-pong, foosball, skatepark, video editing lab and waxing and tuning station
Price: $910-$1,695
Ages: 10+

High North Blackcomb, BC
Contact: highnorthskicamp.com or 604-905-0271
Dates: June 15-23, June 23-July 1, July 1-9, July 9-17
Coaches: Michelle Parker, Eric Hjorleifson, Mike Atkinson, JP Auclair, Peter Olenick, Shane Szocs, Michael Olenick, Charles Bedard, Colby West, Sven Kuendle, Dana Flahr, Chris Turpin and other guest coaches throughout the summer.
Other Activities: Water ramp, skateboarding, trampoline, mountain biking, Ultimate, soccer, paintball, golf, wakeboarding, and fishing.
Price: $1,995- $3,990
Ages: 12+

Camp of Champions, Blackcomb, BC
Contact: campofchampions.com or 888-997-2267
Dates: June 23, 30; July 7, 14
Coaches: Matt Sterbenz, Luke Van Valin, Griffin Cummings, Shidasha Holmstead, Steele Spence and Leif Zapf-Gilge
Other Activities: Skyline, mountain biking, skateboarding, paintball, mini golf and cruiser bikes
Facilities: Pinball, pool table, foosball, PS3, Xbox 360, DVDs.
Prices: $1,020+ CDN
Ages: 12+

Empire Freeride, Beartooth, WY; New Zealand
Contact: empirefreeride.com or 307-734-2662
Dates: WY: June 15-30; NZ: July 15-30
Session Length: 15 days
Coaches: Sage Cattabriga Alosa, Paul Cotter, Rob Lapier, Chris Collins, Dylan Hood, Mike Gimmeson, Lindsey Dyer, Dylan Natale and Wiley Miller.
Other Activities: Swimming, paintball, climbing wall, mountain biking, spa, skatepark, basket weaving and slack line.
Price: $850
Ages: 9+ and adult — must have intermediate or advanced riding ability

Momentum, Blackcomb, BC
Contact: momentumcamps.com or 800-949-7949 or 604-905-4421
Dates: June 9-17, June 17-25, June 25-July 3, July 3-11, July 11-19
Coaches: Sarah Burke, Rory Bushfield, TJ Schiller, Josh Bibby, Iannick B, Corey Vanular, Trennon Paynter, Dana Flahr and Jay Vaughan.
Other Activities: Mountain biking, wakeboarding, sky lining, paintball, soccer, ultimate, disk golf, skateboarding.
Facilities: Water ramp, skatepark, bikepark, climbing gym, swimming pools, gyms. Prices: From $1,225
Ages: 12+

Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camp Mt. Hood, OR
Contact: mthood.com or 503-337-2230
Dates: May 27-June 2, June 3-9, June 10-16, June 17-23, June 24-30, July 1-7, July 8-14, July 15-21, July 22-28, July 29-Aug. 4, Aug. 5-11, Aug. 12-18, Aug. 19-25 Aug. 26-Sept. 1.
Coaches: Darren Owen, Bill Whalley, Tim Feeney and Jay Panther.
Other Activities: Soccer, rock climbing, whitewater rafting, volleyball, windsurfing, snowboarding, hiking, softball, ping-pong, basketball, tennis and mountain biking. Price: $575-$1,035
Ages: 9+

Dave Murray Ski Camp Blackcomb, BC
Contact: skiandsnowboard.com or 877-444-7669 or 604932-5765
Dates: June 15-22, June 22-29, June 29-July 6, July 6-13, July 13-20.
Coaches: Miles Ricketts and Brendon Kelly.
Other Activities: Bungee jumping, wakeboarding, paintball, mountain biking, dodgeball, rock climbing, skateboarding and golf driving range. Facilities: Video game/movie lounge, swimming pool, hot tubs, sauna, beach volleyball and tennis courts.
Price: $925 – $2,095 USD (Includes: accommodations, lift tickets, coaching, off-hill activities, transportation to/from Vancouver International Airport, all meals.)
Ages: 7+ (Adult camps available June 15)

Planet Ski International Whistler, BC
Contact: psicamp.com or 800-601-9900
Dates: June 24-July 1, July 1-16, plus dates in Lake Placid, NY; Saas Fee, Switzerland; Tignes, France; Australia and New Zealand.
Coaches: Nate McKenzie, Dan Marion, Matt Gnoza, Taylor Felton, David DiGravio, Mike Hanley, Erik Gronberg, Glenn Eddy and Brian Baker.
Other Activities: Trampoline, water ramps, mountain biking, hiking, field sports, skateboarding, mini golf and rock climbing.
Price: TBA
Ages: 12+

SouthShore Soldiers Heavenly, NV
Contact: southshoresoldiers.com or 888-712-7772
Dates: March 18-23, March 23-28, March 28-April 2
Coaches: Tanner Hall, Chris Hernandez, Shane Chandlee, Mike Wilson, Dash Longe and Skogen Sprang.
Other Activities: Live entertainment, bowling, mechanical bull riding and party at Club Vex inside Harrah’s Casino.
Prices: $195-$700 (Includes: private terrain park at Heavenly, four days of lift tickets, five nights accommodations, five nights of entertainment, free products.)
Ages: 12+ (Day Camp), 18+ (Accommodations through Camp)

British Freeski Camps Verbier, Switzerland
Contact: britishfreeskicamps.com or UK: +44 (0) 77775500-599
Dates: March 18-25, July 14-21, July 21-28, July 24-Aug. 4
Coaches: Warren Smith, Pat Sharples, Dave Young, Jamie Cameron, Andy Bennett, Nick Southwell, Paddy Graham, Mikey Wakefield, Slave Monkey and Phil Hopper Other Activities: Mountain biking, golf, basketball, volleyball, swimming, archery and tennis.
Price: $900 USD (hotel, camp, lift pass) $750 (apartment, camp, lift pass)
Ages: All Ages

Access Ski Camps Snow Park, New Zealand
Contact: accesstrips.com or 888-580-8747
Dates: July 15-21, July 22-28, July 29-Aug. 4
Coaches: Jake McCleary, Nils Frei, Sven Kuuenle, Julien Regnier and Phil Meier. Other Activities: Video coaching and analysis, optional heli-skiing day, bungee jumping, fly-by-wire and jet-boat tour.
Facilities: House within walking distance of town.
Prices: $1,928 USD, per session
Ages: All Ages 11

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