Introducing the AvaTech SP1 smart probe.
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Interview by Jason Mousseau
"Digging at High North ski camp was hands down the best 6
years of my life.
When you first start digging, its just for the undying love and passion towards the sport of skiing. Each dig crew is made up of a bunch of people from around the world that just love the sport more than anyone else you can imagine. You work for free, work long hours, party hard, ski hard, and get to build some of the best parks out there. It's an opportunity to make amazing connections, and close friends that you'll have for the rest of your life. Hell if I was going to be picking a crew to go to war with, I know that I'd call on my old dig crew as the loyalty and camaraderie runs ridiculously deep.
You should always remember that your camp experience would suck ass without the hard work of a dig crew. The diggers cluster at the bottom of Wizard chair before 7:00am every morning, and get up there by 8 so you can have a fresh park ready for sessioning when you get there. You wouldn't believe how much the snow melts every single night up on that damn glacier... hah and how hard it is to carry a fucking sound system or generator up the chairlift. With no diggers there would be no ski camp.
So to diggers everywhere, we should all band together and utter a moment of appreciation for those who work their balls off and make our sport better every single day."
Bailey Mitchell, Cam Archer and Carl Fortin can build the best summer park in the world, can shred it like they own it, and probably party a lot harder than most of you. They pretty much have the ultimate summer job, and I know many of you would kill to have a shot at being a digger at Camp of Champions and are wondering how and what it takes to be one of the few.
I sat down with the trio of diggers, and brought my friend Jack, some Dudes and a couple shitty kitties to thank them for working their asses off everyday to keep the campers and coaches happy (and media!).
How old do you have to be to be a camp digger?
Cam: It really doesn't matter. You can be an up and coming skier with a digging job at a summer camp, or you can be a veteran who has pretty much evolved terrain parks as we know it.
Bailey: Being of legal drinking age is usually a good idea though partying is practically a job requirement.
How much are you paid?
Bailey: Fairly good for what we do. It can be hard work, but it's obviously a lot of fun. I'm reluctant to say because our Momentum friends might get jelous.
Cam: I like my pay checks, do you Carl?
Carl: I love it.
Haha enough said.
Carl: We get by just fine.
How often do you get to ride?
Carl: Usually about half a day. In the morning when we get up we shape and salt all the features, do a couple laps, then have lunch. In the afternoon we do a maintenance lap while everyone is eating lunch then ride till it's time to leave; in which we throw a bag of salt and get out of there.
Bailey: It depends on how hard you want to work. Some days we pick a feature and spend most of the day pimping it out for a photo shoot or something, maybe just for fun too.
Cam: Also, the park is groomed every night so there isn't usually too much maintenance needed other than salting and smoothing take-offs.
What are your favorite features?
Bailey: The jump line is really good, the medium jump line is really good, the rail line is really good...
Carl: But what do you hit the most?
Bailey: I'd say the rail line just because there is so much to do. There's about ten options from top to bottom.
Cam: And you Carl?
Carl: Probably the second jump, 60 feet, it's perfect... pretty much all the big jumps and the hips are a lot of fun.
Cam: My favourite feature I must say would be the donkey-dick rail, cause it will give it to you real hard, but mostly because you can spin really nicely off of it. Also the wall ride, the way we had it set up the first week it was perfect- watching Gus toss those 450's off of it was so sick.
How does input for the park design work?
Bailey: All the diggers up there have a large say in what goes on in the park, and if campers and coaches have requests we're all ears. For example a coach asked me to modify the first hip so you could air straight over it. He asked, I did it, and next thing the Oakley team is having their photoshoot on it.
Cam: The nice thing is we have the freedom to work, so if there is something we want done we can just go and do it. We set the rails up to how we want it on the camp's day off, just to how we like it, and if there's any small modifications to be made during the week, its entirely up to us. All we have to do for the jumps is make a grooming request to Steve Petrie depending how the jumps are riding.
Carl: I'm always asking campers on the t-bar "so what do you think of the park", just to get another opinion on the setup, and if they have good ideas, chances are it will happen.
What previous digging experience do you have?
Carl: I have four years in Quebec at Mont Orignal, It's a little hill but they have a good park there. I volunteered there then came to Whistler last winter and worked in the Whistler park and met Freddy, Molloy, and Anto (veteran WB diggers, CoC Diggers), and asked them what are the chances of getting a job at the summer camp? They said if you're doing a good job here then maybe, show me what can you do- it's a very high demand job. At the end of the year I met Steve Petrie and he hooked it up. He said Freddy gave him a good word and they were looking for more ski diggers so I was in.
Bailey: I've had no professional experience before the Camp of Champions, because last year I won the "Make me a Digger Contest" on Newschoolers. Right when the contest came out, we had just finished building a backcountry park right outside of Nelson, BC, so it was really lucky timing. I took some pictures and video and had some luck on my side. So last summer I was a volunteer busting my ass just so I could come back again this summer. Other than that my only experience I've had would be my nine years riding in terrain parks. I know how I like my features; I know how to use a shovel... beyond that it's pretty self-explanatory.
Cam: Lucky for me, Bailey was that guy working for free last year. He was able to come back this year and have some input for the additional ski diggers that were to join the crew.
Bailey: Last summer I was the only ski digger on the crew so it was a little tough making more skier-friendly features a reality, so this year I'm fortunate to have a tight ski digger team to make this shit happen.
Cam: Here I am trying to catch up to Bailey; he's truly killing it. But really I'm in the same boat as him. If you have the mind for it, and you know how to use a shovel, you can make a really good park. Building features on your own in the backcountry is a great way to learn and perfect the skills.
Bailey: Things really came together this year on the skiing side of camp and I'm glad to see how much the ski camp is growing. The ski diggers are doing it up and its getting better and better.
Carl: The crew is super tight and fortunately for us this year Matt Sterbenz from 4FRNT skis hooked us up with a pair of skis each to rock while on the glacier.
Are you too tired to ride after working?
Cam: I don't know, how sensitive are you? You have the Camp of Champions sitting in front of you, you don't get tired.
Bailey: Yah you kind of ignore it until you get down from the mountain.
Carl: Some times you are tired and a little hung-over mind you.
Bailey: Realistically though, you have to wake up at 6 am every day so it can catch up to you. A couple days a week you can stay up till 3 am and survive the next day- not-partying isn't usually an option.
Carl: I like to party.
Cam: I also like to party, throw a lime in that bitch.
check out ESK's new movie "Hat Trick" at IF3 this year!
How do you apply?
Bailey: Be a homie of an existing digger... and be enthusiastic about partying. Nuff said.
Introducing the AvaTech SP1 smart probe.
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