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Summer Ski & Ride Camps '10
Where, What & When... Tips Too
BY Mitch Kaplan
There are those among us who simply can't let winter go. Once the snow melts, we pine for next winter. No baseball fields, tennis courts, golf course or sandy beaches can melt our visions of snow. If your kid loves the snow that much; if s/he wants to job, huck, spin or get air all the time, perhaps it's time to look into summer ski/board camps.
Basically, North America offers two sites for summer snowsliding camps: Mt. Hood, Oregon, and Whistler, British Columbia. Multiple camps do business in both places, so choosing one is not just a matter of selecting location. Perhaps the best way to go about deciding on a camp for your child is to first peruse their website, obtain a brochure and, most importantly, talk to the folks who run the camp. If you don't receive from them the kind vibes (and, of course, information) that make you comfortable, then they're probably not for you or your child.
You'll want to approach selecting a ski/board camp in the same way you'd select any kind of sleep-away camp. A number of questions should be asked during the selection process. Here are a few of them:
How are the campers supervised?
What special supervision is afforded to children of my child’s age?
What are the sleeping arrangements?
How much spending money is necessary?
What's your policy on drugs, alcohol and tobacco?
What's included in the price? What's not included (especially airfare)?
How good a skier/rider must my child be?
What's your cancellation policy?
How is the coaching done?
What’s the sign-up deadline?
Does my child need to bring his/her own equipment?
If s/he comes to camp with a friend can they bunk together?
What happens in case of injury?
How can I contact someone while s/he's at camp?
What's a typical day like?
Mt. Hood Summer Ski Camps
Location: White River Glacier, Mt. Hood, Oregon
Information: www.mthood.com; 503-337-2230.
Mt. Hood features Ski Race Camps, Ski Bumps & Jumps Camps and Snowboard Camps. Bumps & Jumps is aimed at advanced mogul skiers, but those of lesser ability with a strong desire to improve their mogul and air techniques are welcome. Same goes for their snowboard camps. They say that eighty percent of their campers are ages 12-16. Skiers from age nine are welcome, if they're ready to be away from home. Special coaching benefits advanced USSA snowboard racers and racing hopefuls.
With the Family Camp option, the whole crew can come along. Parents and their kids pay the full camp tuition price which covers everything: coaching, lift tickets, video analysis, dorm housing, meals, transportation, and most of afternoon activities. Housing upgrades are available for parents. Mt. Hood also offers an adult camp during the last week in August.
Pricing: six-day camps cost from $925-$1075. Adult Camp costs $1110.
Add to these any questions you think would apply specifically to your child; i.e., handling allergies, etc. And, remember - while these camps are well-run and well regarded, their brochures and websites make them sound like the greatest thing since the invention of snow. Consult with your child -indeed, have him/her participate as much as possible in the selection process - ask for and follow-up with references, and then go with the one about which you feel best.
Following are the major North American camps, with contact information and some highlights about their programs.
Sports Club International Location: Whistler-Blackcomb, B.C., Chile, Copper Mountain, Sunday River, ME. Information: www.sportsclubint.com; 800-339-1301
The Sports Club International's Summer Ski Training Camps are designed for serious ski racers, ages 9-15, committed to improving their racing skills in a short, intensive summer experience. Emphasis is on slalom and GS technical and tactical progressions. Each six-hour day of skiing leads into the next, resulting in a solid progression.
Camps include lodging, three meals daily, training and coaching, video analysis, lift tickets and airport transfers.
For younger racers Sports Club International offers Junior/ Parent Race Camps (ages 5-14). This camp is designed to help improve young racers with their skiing and ski racing skills while educating their parents with on and off hill sessions. The junior camper program is a progression from free ski drills to gate drills. Fundamental skills are reviewed with video, when possible. Parents are offered on hill SL and GS technical overviews with tuning clinics, equipment advice and other pertinent topics. Parents of all abilities are welcomed to observe their child's training sessions.
Other race camps are available as well including a Chile Camp in Valle Nevado; Thanksgiving camp at Copper Mountain, CO; and a Sunday River Pre-Christmas camp in Maine.
Pricing: Whistler pricing is $1995 for one week; $3895 for two. Junior/Parent camp prices are $3695 for one child/one adult.
OlinLacasse Ski Racing School Location: Mount Hood, OR; Copper Mountain, CO; Information: www.skiracingcamp.com; TonyO: 651-267-0249; Josee: 775-848-8219.
OlinLacasse is all about taking your training to another level. Learn the latest techniques from world class
skiers Tony Olin and Josee Lacasse and their amazing international staff. These training camps are for the discerning ski racer who wants focused attention on their individual needs as improving competitors. 8-10 racers per coach. Free skiing, gate drills, full gate training, as well as dryland training. Open to all ages and abilities. Thanksgiving race camp is also available.
Pricing: One week sessions start June 19 and run through Aug. 1. $1650 per session includes 7 nights lodging, 6 days skiing, lift ticket, meals, and airport transfer.
Michel Pratte's Fischer Race Camps
Location: Whistler-Blackcomb, B.C., Zermatt. Switzerland, and El Colorado, Chile
Information:www.pratteski.com; 866-333-6402; 819-425-4863
Pratte’s offers competitive race camps for ages 8 to 17 years. It is aimed at those who want to race at the club or divisional level, but welcomes experienced racers or beginning competitors. Emphasis is on technique, performance-enhancing exercise and running gates aplenty. They characterize their environment as one offers "a perfect introduction to the competitive training environment of a true racer."
Camps include lodging, three meals daily, personalized coaching, video, evening training meetings, exclusive training lanes and other sports like mountain climbing, trapeze, trampoline, swimming and, for select trips, mountain biking. Lodging in Whistler is at the Fireside Lodge.
Pratte's also runs Family Camps at Whistler in which parents train at an adult camp at the same time their kids train at a junior camp, with lodging in condominiums.
In Chile, Pratte's operates team camps at El Colorado, near Valle Nevado outside Santiago. And, they run an 18-day Elite Camp in Zermatt, Switzerland, during August.
Pricing: Pricing includes transfers to and from the airport. Whistler sessions are 7, 11 or 14 nights long. Pricing at Whistler ranges from US$1675 to US$2675. El Colorado sessions cost US$180 per day. The Zermatt Elite Camp costs C$3300
Dave Murray Whistler Summer Ski and Snowboard Camp
Location: Blackcomb Glacier, Whistler, B.C.
Dave Murray offers programs in New School Freestyle Skiing, Recreational Skiing, Alpine Racing, and in Snowboarding. The New School Freestyle program is aimed at twin-tip and mogul skiers, with an emphasis on tricks, park and half pipe skiing and bumps. Interestingly, one of the things taught here is "how to build perfect jumps."
The Recreational Ski program is for skiers of any ability level, including first-timers. Alpine Racing, teaches racing technique to all ability levels, with an emphasis on slalom and giant slalom gate training. Snowboard Camps focus on half pipe and terrain park skills in a private pipe and park. All programs include video analysis.
Pricing: Eight-day full camps include airport shuttle, six days' coaching/riding, seven nights hotel, all meals, extra activities, and 24-hour supervision for C$2195/US$1795. Local camps (no lodging), C$1895/US$1,549. Five-day full camps with three days of coaching/riding, and four night's lodging are C$1195/US$977, and C$1025/US$838 without lodging. Lodging can be upgraded to a non-shared room for an additional C$775/$475 or US$633/388 for the eight/five day camps.
Camp of Champions
Location: Blackcomb Glacier, Whistler, B.C.
Information: www.campofchampions.com; 888-997-CAMP
Camp of Champions offers instruction for skiers and snowboarders of all abilities, except absolute beginners. The strengths here are a very low 1:5 coach to camper ratio, highly individualized coaching, flexible skiing/riding choices (park, pipe, etc.), ability to change groups if desired, their own slopestyle terrain park with a private handle tow for the halfpipe and all day daily instruction. Be aware -Camp of Champions sessions sell out early; their website states that all sessions have been known to sell out by early April 5.
Lodging is in former Whistler-Blackomb Resort staff housing that has been completely remodeled. Accommodations are described as "Spartan but that's exactly what we like about it," where campers can skateboard the halls until 7 p.m., and there are five totally tricked out games rooms. Each unit is a two-bedroom suite with bunks for four people. There's also a 10,000 square-foot area, including a 3,200 square-foot tent, called "The Compound" equipped with a 40-foot wide mini-ramp, huge flat screens linked to Xboxes, a mega sound system ping pong, foosball, video games, couches, etc.
Pricing: Pricing includes transfers to and from Vancouver Airport, camp t-shirt, and a barbecue and product giveaway night. Hotel room upgrades to a private room are available. The five-day deluxe camp (with accommodations) costs C$1215/US$992 and includes three days on snow, daily lift tickets, coaching, breakfast, lunch, after-camp activities and demo equipment. Five-day standard camp (without accommodations) costs C$1140 /US$931. Eight day camps are C$2175/US$1777 (standard) or C$2325/US$1899(deluxe). Camps of up to 36 days are offered.
Momentum Ski Camps
Location: Blackcomb Glacier, Whistler, B.C.
Information: www.smscamps.com; 800-949-7949 (from Canada only) or 604-905-4421
Momentum has long specialized in mogul skiing, but recent summers have seen freeride camps added, including off-axis inverts to their training, which merges moguls and freeride. They also now offer "hybrid" camps, which include three days of freeriding and three days of mogul training. The maximum skiers to coach ration is 7:1, and all levels from mogul newbies on up are accepted. They also offer a Mogul Camp for adults.
The camp has its own terrain park and well-maintained mogul terrain with varying degrees of steepness and a variety of jumps to allow different training levels. Their terrain park is adjacent to the bump field. Coaches are top World Cup competitors who utilize on-hill skiing and video analysis. Freeriding camp adds a focus on table tops, halfpipes, rails, etc.
SMS offers no snowboarding camps at this time.
Pricing: The Full Package includes eight nights' lodging at the Whistler Village Inns, three meals and snacks daily, transportation to/from Vancouver International Airport, six days' lifts and coaching, water-ramping, camp t-shirt, sponsors' give-aways, a personal video record of your week with an audio coaches’ evaluation, a sport psychology class, afternoon activities and a one-year subscription to Freeskier & Skier Magazines. Local Package includes all that without lodging. C$2180/US$1769, full; C$1580/US$1282 local.
Woodward at Copper Location:Copper Mountain Resort, CO Information: www.woodwardatcopper.com; 888-350-1544
Woodward at Copper is the country's first skiing and snowboarding training facility dedicated to Terrain Park and Pipe progression. The 20,000 square foot Woodward at Copper Barn gives campers access to foam pits, spring floors, trampolines, indoor skateboard features and ramps carpeted in Snowflex—the latest in warm-weather sliding technology.
Woodward at Copper's week-long summer camps include training in The Barn and in Copper's summer edition of Catalyst Terrain Park. Lodging is Copper's EDGE building, close to The Barn and the hill. The EDGE includes a dining facility and common area for activities. Pricing: US$599-$1699 including lodging and meals.
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...... Mitch Kaplan
is the author of The Unofficial Guide to the Mid-Atlantic with Kids, The Cheapskate’s Guide to Myrtle Beach and The Golf Book of Lists. He is a contributor to The Unofficial Guide to New England & New York with Kids and to the annual guide Ski America & Canada.