Words & photos by Jeff Schmuck
The good times kept on rollin' last week in beautiful Whistler, BC as summer camp season continued with Session 2 of Momentum and the first of four sessions of Camp of Champions.
The weather for the majority of last week unfortunately left a little to be desired (especially in comparison to all of the sunburns that are being received during the current session), as overcast skies, fog and even a few drops of unwelcomed rain attempted to put a damper on the campers' spirits. But as always, it was not to be, as skiing, smiles and high fives were a plenty on Blackcomb's Horstman Glacier despite the somewhat murky conditions.
Camp of Champions founder Ken Achenbach welcomes everyone to camp in the COC Compound, which has more than doubled in size this year.
A fraction of the COC Compound. Click here for more pics!
Camp of Champions kicked off their 22nd year of operation last week with their first week of action-packed fun, and it's safe to say that things are bigger and better than ever this year at COC. Don't believe me? Well then see for yourself below...
That's big. Real big.
In attendance at Session 1 (which was 4FRNT Week) were a highly entertaining cast of coaches, characters and guests, including but not limited to...
Keltie Hansen and 4FRNT Founder/COC Head Coach Matt Sterbenz
Joe Schuster and one of COC's most infamous campers, 'Master Clit'.
Chris 'C-Lo' Logan
Reed Speedman International Nothing Sensation
Nordica Product Testing Scientist Tucker Perkins
The Wells family: Bruce, Beau, Jossi & Byron
...and last but certainly not least, The Diggers. Much respect gentlemen!
Apprentice & Master: Dan Dougherty, winner of this year's Make Me a Digger contest (and quite possibly the happiest and hardest working man on the glacier), and Bailey Mitchell, head COC digger and winner of the first Make Me a Digger contest.
Although the lack of bluebird skies and abundance of flat light postponed the inevitable slaying of the multitude of jumps in the lane (which is now in full swing this session), plenty of fun was had on the rails and Air Bags, along with a much-loved backflip jump built by Matt Sterbenz at the bottom of the glacier...
Dos Air Bags
The campers getting their grind on...
Nothing beats a good backflip. Nothing.
Also in play last week was the gigantic hip at the bottom of the lane, which is consistently one of the finest features at Camp of Champions, as demonstrated above by the man with the most glorious hair in skiing...Banks Gilberti.
But perhaps the biggest highlight of the week was the exploits of Jossi Wells and Max Hill, who teamed up to tear the glacier to pieces in both Camp of Champions and Momentum's lanes...
...NOT a trendwhore." - Max Hill
Over at Momentum, things kept on trucking and then some amidst their all you can ski buffet of features with their second of five sessions, as John Smart's ever energetic and hard working diggers (led by the legendary Chris Turpin) have morphed the lane into the most exciting it's been in the 20-year history of the celebrated camp...
Momentum filmer Steve Horton GTS'ing Joss Christensen's double flatspin on the a-frame stepover, which is directly followed by a medium-sized table top this year.
Much like at COC, rails were the name of the game during Momentum's second session, although be sure to stay tuned for some seriously eye-popping shots of all the shenanigans that have been going down this week on the big jump in our next update.
Peep the step over and 22-foot superpipe and air bag in the background.
Rain or shine, campers have been flipping out (or over) the finely tuned rail section...
And speaking of flips, there's no better place to do it than into one of Momentum's two Air Bags.
The first one is set up at the bottom of the lane, and is unquestionably one of the most popular features at camp...
...while the second sits ominously at the bottom of the 22-foot superpipe, where some of halfpipe skiing's finest athletes (like Brita Sigourney, pictured above) can be found preparing for the upcoming contest season and the 2014 Olympics.
Wing Tai Barrymore
And since we're on the subject of athletes, Momentum isn't short of talent either, with one of the most formidable line-ups of pros outside of a Dew Tour stop, including Josh Bibby...
The many faces of Alex Schlopy...
... plus James 'Woodsy' Woods, Simon Dumont, Colby James West, Ian Cosco, Mike Riddle, Mike Henitiuk, Riley Leboe, Paul 'B-Paul' Bergeron, Sarah Burke, Rosalind Groenewoud, the iconic Dave Crichton, and the recent arrival of none other than Tom Wallisch.
That's all for now from Camp of Champions and Momentum in Whistler, but stay tuned for another update first thing next week, along with the launch of a brand new video series here on Newschoolers called The Chairlift Diaries, which will feature video interviews with your favorite athletes while we ride the lifts with them. Until then, enjoy the following ski porn...
Camp of Champions Session A
Momentum Session 2