Industry Profile: HCSC On Hill Manager/Digger Corey McDonald

26 Aug, 2010

Job Title: On Hill Manager/Head Digger
Employer: High Cascade Snowboard Camp
Years on snow: 22
Days on snow: 200 +
Currently Riding: Dinosaurs Will Die Genovese 157
Currently I am: Finishing up the summer at HCSC getting ready to Jump into winter mode with Planet.

Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Corey: Grew up snowboarding in Idaho during the golden years of snowboarding (92-96) where we were blessed to have legends in our midst like Jeff Tulloch, Nick Perata, Ryan Neptune, Matt Whitlock, Paul Whitworth and Greg Goulet. Learned park building from some of those same people who were diggers from the Old days of HCSC with Joey B of Fishpaw. I have been building parks since 1997 first volunteering at the local hill then tricking them into paying me to build and run a park program. This building parks thing has taken me from the local hill in Boise to Sun Valley and eventually all over the states with Planet and HCSC.

Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Corey: I’m Older so snowboarding hasn’t changed my life so much as just been a huge part of it. In the 5th grade (1986) my father bought me and my brothers a Skeeter witch was kind of a early snowboard/snowskate thing and I rode the foothills of Boise for many years (it wasn’t allowed on the slopes) until I could afford a snowboard. From the first day I rode that Skeeter above the old gas station on Hill road snowboarding has been my way of escape and later my job. But always the thing I did to be myself and enjoy the world.

Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Corey: I rode my face off for years and never thought about getting into the “industry” I thought getting a lib pro form every year was as good as it gets. But after my first child Collin I focused hard on riding and started getting Boards from the M3/MLY rep. Kevin Porterfield that guy helped me out a lot! The riding end didn’t work out as I would have liked due to injuries but growing up with Ryan Neptune the owner of Planet and my love for building it was natural thing to continue in the industry building parks and events with Ryan and Planet.

Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Corey: I went to 30 min of college at UCSC in Orem so education was all on the job and that is how it should be in the snowboard industry. I worked more positions at a ski resort and local shops in order to ride all year than you could shake a stick at.

Shay: Tell us about your role at HCSC and a description of the work you do?
Corey: For the last 3 years I have been the On hill Manager/Head Digger at HCSC. Without a doubt the best snowboard camp in the world. The owners of the place are real snowboarders who are relevant to the world of snowboarding and committed to making it better. I spend my time there trying to put together the best crew of diggers able of putting together and maintaining the best summer snowboard facility in the world. Its worked out pretty good.

Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Corey: In the summer I get up around 6 head to breakfast get the diggers and make the magic happen basically building a park every morning from piles of snow. The Diggers at HCSC killed it so hard this summer! I broke my collar bone session 3 and luckily it was the first year that I hired a assistant Head Digger Kirk Kauffman who helped out so much! Him and the rest of my crew really made it happen this summer! We are the first people on the hill and the last ones off making sure everything is absolutely the best it can possibly be. Kirk Kauffman, Johnathan Castro, Chris Grenier, AJ Ogden, Alex Lopez, Parker Duke, Ted Borland, Chris Brewster, Justin Keniston, Randy Vanerden, Laura Rogoski, Johnny Brady, Desiree Melancon, Brandon Hobush, Harry Hagan, Dave Kerwin, 86 and Alex Hereford really made it happen this summer!

Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Corey: Never getting calls back from team managers until you are in a position where the need something you control. That was a odd one..

Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Corey: Being true to snowboarding first and foremost. Things aren’t legit and warranted coverage just because they are backed by huge ski companies or soda companies. Snowboarding should be run by snowboarders straight up! Support the real company’s in all realms of the industry from board companies like Dinosaurs Will Die to build and event crews like Planet and Snowboy to film crews like Think Thank. We made this from nothing but we should hang on to it like it’s actually something!

Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Corey: Experience! No amount of classroom time can make you “learn” the snowboard world.

Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Corey: Whatever it is you see is needed or what you want to do in the industry just go forth and make it happen! Going to school and then applying for a job at say TWS or something is going to come off as fake and uninformed if you haven’t lived it, You will end up arguing in a hotel room how Hagar is the best singer Van Halen has ever had and that my friend is just wrong!

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About the author


From the beginning of time, I was Shannon. From the beginning of snowboarding, I was Shay. From the beginning of online communities, I was Shayboarder. In the end, I’m the writer, photographer, editor, publisher, guru of sorts, product tester, curvy girl, and most importantly the snowboarder behind it all. Follow me on this journey through snowboarding, mountain biking, traveling and fun experiences!

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  1. KRush
    August 27, 2010

    Mac is the Man…solid as they come. Thanks Shay.

  2. Mark
    August 29, 2010

    Excellent read!

  3. CMAC
    August 30, 2010

    Thanks Krush!

  4. August 30, 2010

    It’s Van Halen, not Van Hagar

    local legend