Come summertime, Momentum Ski Camps in Whistler, Canada, is the place to be. Not only does Blackcomb Glacier provide ideal skiing conditions (did someone say slush and sunshine?), Momentum attracts—and has attracted—some of the biggest names in the ski community since being established in 1992.
Over the years, Momentum has brought on athletes like Sarah Burke, Tom Wallisch, TJ Schiller, Rory Bushfield, Gus Kenworthy and Kristi Leskinen as coaches and mentors, and this philosophy of bringing in the best talent to inspire others continues. By attending camp this summer, you have the chance to ski with some of today’s top athletes, to truly learn from the best in the sport and to foster relationships with like-minded shredders.
Whether you’re a terrain park veteran looking to perfect your next big trick, a novice skier hoping to improve in every way, a “Rad Dad” trying to impress your kids, Momentum Camps offers a session for you and an environment that’ll challenge you to perform to your best, while, of course, having the most fun possible. Thankfully, with skis on, that’s never too hard to do.
This summer, an all-star cast of coaches—including Olympic women’s halfpipe gold medalist Cassie Sharpe and Olympians James Woods, Evan McEachran, Rosalind Groenewoud, Mike Riddle and Yuki Tsubota—are looking to share their wisdom with the next generation of freeskiers.
Now, as the summer corn readies itself for harvest up on Blackcomb Glacier, FREESKIER caught up with the coaches mentioned above to chat all things Momentum. Read on to find out what you need to know heading into the this year’s sessions, some of the athlete’s favorite memories and why everyone keeps coming back, year after year.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from Momentum Camps?
Cassie Sharpe: Momentum camps is all about inclusion, anyone from any background, at any age, with any level of ability is welcome. Everyone that skis and/or works with the camp knows that we’re all the same… We all just love skiing.
James Woods: The most important thing I’ve learned is that everyone has different things going on in their lives and are at different places—whether it’s related to skiing or not, giving and appreciating everyone for who they are goes a long, long way and will often affect the most unlikely people who might need it the most.
Mike Riddle: I’ve learned that in order to progress at skiing (or really anything in life) you need to be having fun. It’s really hard to learn tricks that are scary/new unless you’re having a blast. The most progressive days on snow that I’ve had have all been surrounded by good friends who are also throwing down. Everyone feeds off the vibe and Momentum really is a magical place where everyone is on the same page.
Complete this sentence: This one time at ski camp…
Evan McEachran: …I forgot my skis at the bottom. Don’t forget your skis at the bottom.
James Woods: …14-year-old Woodsy, was awarded ‘Happy Camper.’
Cassie Sharpe: …I stuck carrots up my nose and growled at everyone coming in the Horstman Hut.
Rosalind Groenewoud: …I had a conversation with a teenage skier that had recently dropped out of high school. They reached out to me several months later to let me know that our conversation was the main reason that they decided to go back to school and get their diploma. Sometimes the most special moments have nothing to do with skiing, but with connecting to and encouraging young people in all aspects of their life.
Specifically, what about Momentum Camps helped you reach the Olympic team?
Yuki Tsubota: Having gone to Momentum Ski Camps when I was 13 [years old] and getting to meet/ski with my idols was huge. Having the chance to do this was what pushed me to want to follow their footsteps and compete at the Olympic Games.
Cassie Sharpe: Growing up my family could never afford to send me to Momentum, but I wanted to go so bad! So, I signed up for the “Dig to Ride” program. I dug in rails, I raked jumps, I skied bags of sand around… It made me realize that nothing comes easy and you’ve got to work for what you want.
James Woods: Honestly, from a purely skiing background, Momentum exposed me to so much talent… I met the most incredible shredders from all over the world and learned from them, not just their skiing but their mentality. I am talking about when I was once a camper—and even now as a coach.
Evan McEachran: I still remember the day I was riding at Momentum and found out that Slopestyle was being added to the Olympics. That day I was just starting to work on doubles, and from there it became a far out goal to someday maybe go to the Games.
What is most rewarding about being a coach?
James Woods: Kids come to camp to be inspired by the top pros… however, being a top pro and watching that one kid shred and shred and shred until his/her legs don’t work any more, day in day out, rain or shine—that’s true inspiration, man.
Evan McEachran: It’s super rewarding to see the look on a camper’s face when they stomp something new, because I know exactly how that feels, and so do all the other campers. So, its a special moment for everyone.
Mike Riddle: Watching a camper stomp a trick for the first time, be it a 360 or Dub-10. The stoke level is so high anytime anyone goes for something the first time and getting to experience that day after day is the best feeling.
Yuki Tsubota: I really enjoy coaching, especially coaching young kids, because they learn so quickly and as a coach it’s rewarding when you can teach them something new.
Briefly describe your favorite parts about skiing the glacier.
Rosalind Groenewoud: I love watching skiers of all different levels encourage and support each other. There aren’t many other places that you can see a kid landing double corks encouraging someone to try their first 360.
Mike Riddle: Slushy booters, skiing in T-shirts, good vibes.
Yuki Tsubota: My favorite part about skiing the glacier would be the vibe up there. Everyone is out having fun in the sun, learning new tricks in the slush and getting kids stoked. It’s very different than winter skiing and something everyone must get up to do.
Cassie Sharpe: I love skiing in a tank top, sunglasses, and having the sun on my arms, too.
Evan McEachran: Slush, obviously.
Name three things only Momentum Camp veterans would know…
James Woods: 1) John Smart’s welcome speech by heart. 2) Jeff Schmuck loves summer camp more than anyone else. 3) Woodsy’s group runs the glacier.
Evan McEachran: Burger day is the best day.
Mike Riddle: I’m just going to summarize it in one sentence. There is no better place to be in the summer than Whistler: The skiing is world class, the town is untouchable and the people (coaches, staff and other campers) that make the camp go ’round are what keep people coming back year after year.
Why do you keep coming back to work and ski at Momentum?
Cassie Sharpe: Because who wouldn’t?! It’s the best summer camp out there.
Rosalind Groenewoud: Being part of the next generation is really special. When I was a camper at Momentum, Sarah Burke was my coach. Years later, I competed with her on the world tour. There are now girls that I coached [five or six] years ago that I am competing with at World Cup [events].
Evan McEachran: I keep coming back because Whistler is one of my favorite places on earth— and Momentum’s [terrain park] builder Ty Weed knows how to build quite the setup.
Yuki Tsubota: I keep coming back to Momentum as a coach and with my own team because of the great atmosphere. As a coach you keep coming back because of how fun it is to coach these kids who are at the summer camp of their dreams; as an athlete, [it’s] because of the unreal set up John [Smart] and the park crew have made—it makes for some of the best training facilities you can ski in the summer world-wide.
Mike Riddle: The fact that it’s a summer job that does not feel like a summer job.
For more information about Momentum Camps, click here.