My Summer at Hood
23 Aug, 2010
There’s a list in my head of things I want to do when it comes to snowboarding. It’s not really a bucket list but more a list that every snowboarder dreams of. One of the items was to do a summer at Mt Hood and I can finally cross it off the list. There was a chance that this summer might not have happened, I interviewed at two rad companies right before Mt Hood and I made the decision that I would stick to my commitment of riding this summer. Looking back on the summer, I have no regrets and I walked away with friendships, fun and my longest season of snowboarding ever.
I arrived at Mt Hood in late May which meant seeing the full summer snow conditions at Timberline each day. In early June, Timberline was covered with tons of snow. It was like winter at any other mountain and it meant that this summer would be great for snow conditions through September. In mid-June we received a powder day and it was the first time riding powder in the summer months (so worth it!).
Eventually as the summer wore on, the snow melted into the familiar areas that make up each of the parks and Palmer snowfield. Both Windells, HCSC and MHSSC have their own park space on the mountain plus Timberline has the public park open to anyone. I spent the majority of my summer at Windells but I was able to spend 5 days at HCSC. Props to Timberline for holding down such a fun public park during the summer and continually stepping it up each re-design. Both parks were a blast but they definitely have their signature differences and it was fun to be able to compare the parks. Windells suits the more intermediate to advanced park riders and with a focus on jumps over features. HCSC suits more entry level park riders and a variety of features anyone can hit.
The Ark. What can you really say about the ark in just a paragraph when it really deserves a book, tv show and hidden cameras. The ark is the employee housing for Windells and in this old motel lives many of the kitchen, coaches, diggers and random employees that work at Windells. I started out the summer in Mantana (a building with 8 guys) with Keri Herman as my roommate and we had a blast. Eventually after some time at the Windells Academy house, I moved back into the ark where I lived in the girls room with the best couch and wifi spot. Many of the staff choose to live in tents when the weather is nice enough and often the tents are the cleanest place to live.
Living at the ark is eye opening, I can’t do it justice with words but if you sit outside on the couch for an hour it’ll change your life. The people, the conversations, the activities to pass time, it’s all one social experiment in the making. Izzy was working on her Industry Profile interview on the couch and defined what the ark life was perfectly…”sitting here on the green couch, outside my door- I live in number 7 at the Ark. Shit is Real. I love this life. If you have been here, than you know what I mean. I am listening to the ill baseline of some Mac Dre coming from room 8, and listening to the snap of a proper ollie from Collin Collins. East Ark is poppin, as usual… kitchen Ryan and Johnny Lazz are chillin, Josh Bishop and Vince and Derek are having a pow wow… and the West side Skiertown is lookin all cloudy… and here I am, just chillin– doing some reflecting… eating these delicious cherries. Oregon is Good for You. oh Man! Life is so sweet.”
I knew a couple people that would be working at Windells but for the most part I showed up on my own and hoping to meet new people. That quickly changed as I was introduced to Dania, Keri, Ashley, Lisa and Izzy who I spent most of the summer with and loved hanging out with them on the mountain, at night and at camp. When they left camp, it made the last session a lot harder for me but I was so happy to have them most of the summer. Dillon and Tyler also made my summer, two brothers who love to shred and work hard for it. I had some of my best most progressive days with them and they made the summer a lot more fun being around them.
This summer I racked up almost 50 days at Timberline this summer and the snowboarding was good. There were days where Palmer laps were as much fun as park laps and other days where I just wanted to lap the rope tow for the same feature. It was an interesting summer for riding, most of the Windells days I would tag along with a group or make laps with someone but never spend the full day riding with a friend. My personal favorite days were the off days between camps when friends would come out to ride or I could ride with staff and just have a blast charging and making the mountain our own fun park.
One of the toughest things this summer was my own progression. It was easy to watch everyone else progression that came to camp and get lost in the mix. It wasn’t until the end of summer that I really realized I hadn’t progressed as much as I’d like and that I needed to step it up. Most of the summer I was riding by myself and not pushing my own riding but I also needed features that I felt comfortable learning on. The last two days of summer were my most progressive and it was because my friend Chris was at HCSC willing to push me and coach me. I was comfortable on their features which helped because they were doable for any level.
I like to keep this blog about snowboarding and not include the partying aspect of snowboarding but this summer there were some definitely fun partying nights out. From my 27th birthday of Karaoke to Snowboarder Magazine’s ANTPM to celebrating the end of summer in Govy…a lot went on that I’m glad I left my camera at home. Summer at Hood means a lot of downtime and to keep you occupied, you have night train and PBR/Hamms/Rainer. Each week you look forward to two nights, Taco night and Karaoke night and for each session, Matty Mo’s dance parties define what that session was about for Windells/HCSC. Maybe next summer I’ll remember more but until then I’ll keep the smile on my face and keep having a good time.
During the off-days between camp sessions many of the staff would go camping or out to the beach. I ended up on the Oregon coast for two of the trips which were a blast since we had a great crew of people along for the ride. It helped really wind down from the camp experiences and get a relaxing feel of life before going back into the mountains again. Plenty of fire pits, talks and rallying cars down the beach meant for good times all around.
One of the best parts about being at Hood in the summer is the people who spend time at Hood in the summer. They aren’t your average snowboarders, they live for snowboarding. You’ll be standing in the lift line next to pros, product designers, snowboard bums and the occasional weekend warrior but for the most part you are standing next to people…who want more of snowboarding. High 5’s in the lift line, hugs in the parking lot and sharing many a beer during the summer bonded us together.
It was hard to compile this summer into one post since a lot happened in the span of three months at Mt Hood but I’m so glad to have made it out to Windells and Timberline for the summer. It was a dream that became reality and rad to see myself make it through the longest season ever!