Words & photos: Jeff Schmuck
Following two weeks of so-so weather and many prayers to the sun god, summer has officially arrived on Blackcomb Mountain's Horstman Glacier high above Whistler, BC.
Campers, coaches and guest pros at Camp of Champions and Momentum took full advantage of our big yellow friend finally showing her warm face, most notably on the battlefield of jumps spread out across the glacier, as the seemingly ever-present fog and subsequent flat light of the past two weeks prevented any serious air time from going down.
Prior to the arrival of the bluebird skies we've been blessed with over the last four days, the week began with a sprinkling of more grim weather, during which the hard working diggers at COC made some minor adjustments to their luxurious park to keep the good times rolling...
COC digger Carl Fortin sends it off the brand new cannon rail on the side of the TTR jump.
Reed Speedman (above) & Max Hill (below) grease the recently separated down-flat-down box and urban-style down rail.
Matt Margetts showing why he's considered one of the most talented pipe skiers in the game on the freshly completed hip jump.
Joe Schuster flips over the fact that there's enough snow to hit the wind lip in the rocks at the bottom of the glacier for the first time in years.
And while the diggers were putting in quality time with some of the more needy features, COC's head ski coach and 4FRNT overlord Matt Sterbenz took it upon himself to construct an impromptu jump at the bottom of the lane, where he made sure that virtually every camper went home with the always crowd pleasing backflip in their bag of tricks.
COC Head Ski Coach Matt Sterbenz
Sterbz teaches the kids how to backflip...
A smattering of enjoyable celebrity appearances also took place throughout the course of the week, most notably from the man who's the reason we're all here and the reason you're reading this...Mike Douglas.
Also making his triumphant return to the glacier after taking a year off that was much reviled by those who enjoy the utmost pleasure of basking in his formidable presence was the man, the myth, the legend...Luke Van Valin.
Luke 'Mantracker' Van Valin
But the story of the week at COC was the jaw dropping sessions on the TTR jump, which hadn't been hit since the Billabong Ante Up event on the first day of camp, and had yet to be christened by any of the skiers.
The TTR Jump
This all changed on Tuesday, when Will Berman came screaming down the steep in-run to guinea pig the abomination, followed closely by double X Games gold medalist Bobby Brown, who was in Whistler with Banks Gilberti and Kolby Ward for his signature session.
Trick after trick after trick went down on the awe-inspiring and finely-tuned tombstone, from some of the slowest, smoothest 1's and 3's outside a day in the life of Eric Pollard, to tech doubles from Banks and Bobby, who to no one's surprise stomped a flawless double cork 10 on his second hit.
However with all great reward comes risk, and special mention is in order for COC alumni camper Keegan Agnew, who came in too fast to the jump and overshot the entire landing. It was arguably one of the scariest and tensest moments in recent memory at camp, until he stood up, dusted himself off and walked away unscathed. Props Keegan...you're one tough cookie.
Camper Keegan Agnew, before and after overshooting the TTR jump.
When the session came to a close the always enjoyable COC N' Roll went down, along with an epic snowball battle outside the 4FRNT tent at lunch where camper Liam Upton made the mistake of standing in one spot by himself for too long.
The COC N' Roll
Liam Upton to his coaches and fellow campers, "Bring it on!"
Over at Momentum things were busier than ever with a record number of campers thanks to the attendance of Olympic gold medalist Alex Bilodeau and the first ever Girls Week.
Justin Dorey and his campers take advantage of the perfect weather...
Jason 'Frodo' Macfarlane
Colby James West
Diggers. Liam Casey...
Corey Vanular, campers and the air bag...
Chug and his chair...
...plus another gratuitous shot of Trennon Paynter owning the bag, along with his offering to the glacier, Trennvision, a mirror he installed on top of the A-frame to help watch the landing...
Frank Raymond in the Trennvision.
Close to 20 young ladies came to town to learn how to strut their stuff from the wonderful women who are Sarah Burke, Rosalind Groenewoud, Meg Olenick, Kristi Leskinen, Olympian Kristi Richards and future Olympian Chelsea Henitiuk.
Sarah Burke, Meg Olenick & Dara Howell
In addition to movie nights, manicures and other pampering, the girls got their own private shoot one evening in Momentum's elaborate main lane after the lifts stopped turning.
Dara Howell with a flatspin 5 and the glacier all to herself.
And while the girls took care of business on the rails and A-frame, a few of the boys hung around to score some shots on the two-jump line in the old High North lane before Chris Turpin and his merry band of diggers made some astonishing changes to the features.
Rory Bushfield and his new invention for the glacier.
After deciding that the super sized A-frame wasn't going as well as planned, the gang tore the whole thing down and built a large step over reminiscent of last year's classic jump, along with converting the true table up top into a step over as well...all in two days.
The new Momentum step overs. Mad props to their hard-working, back-breaking diggers who somehow managed to re-construct these new behemoths in two days. Stay tuned for all the imminent shenanigans...
Momentum also commemorated the arrival of summer in a big, big way with the most delightful event of the week, the Splashdown water ramp competition.
10 pros and 10 campers from both Momentum and COC donned wetsuits and took to the ramps in front of two riske go-go dancers and a tanned crowd of 100+ people who came out to cheer them on amidst the gorgeous weather.
Colby James West
Mizz & Milk
Olympic gold medalist Alex Bilodeau, Sarah Burke and Mike Douglas were on hand to judge the event, while Luke Van Valin provided entertainment both on the mic and via his bronzed appearance.
The Judges. Alex Bilodeau, Sarah Burke & Mike Douglas.
The One, The Only...Luke Van Valin.
Highlights from the event (which included three categories: Best Trick, Spin to Win, and the 'Fun Jump') included Mike 'Mizz' Henitiuk's triple backflip and straight air claim that was unquestionably the biggest air of the day...
Mike Henitiuk, mid-triple backflip...
...and the claim!
Mike 'Milk' Riddle putting a couple of double cork 1620's to his feet...
AJ Kempainnen's expected brand of technicality on every jump, including an uber-tweaked double cork 1260 that we hope to see from him on snow next winter...
Justin Dorey and Matt Margetts' unnatural and switch doubles and front flip claims that were so big they overshot the air bubble-cushioned landing...
...and Joe Schuster dropping in last for a massive spread eagle butt drop to the delight of the crowd...
Joe Schuster, en route to an enema.
In the end, Mike Riddle picked up the win for Best Trick in the pro category with his dub cork 1620, scoring himself $500 and a GoPro that's he been sporting on the hill ever since, and Blake Cameron took home a brand new pair of 2011 Salomon Suspects after laying down the Best Trick (a double flatspin) in the camper category. Dara Howell also scored some swag for Best Trick amongst the ladies with a rodeo 7, while camper Reid McEachran prevailed in both the Spin to Win and Fun Jump categories amongst his peers, and veteran Trennon Paynter beat out all the big boys in the Fun Jump pro category with a front flip and a half where he dove into the pool. What a day.
Mike Riddle & camper Blake Cameron take home the goods.
Summer is here in Whistler, and there's much, much more to come. To the campers who've come and gone, thanks for all the good times, and to ones about to arrive...get stoked.
Stay tuned for more updates from Camp of Champions and Momentum in Whistler, BC, including coverage on Voleurz' sure to be banging sunset shoot at COC. Be sure to check out their Twitter page at twitter.com/voleurz on Wednesday night, as the Voleurz Family will be doing a unique play-by-play of what's going down.
Camp of Champions Session B
Momentum Session III 2010 from Momentum Ski Camps on Vimeo.