Words & photos by Jeff Schmuck
They say that all good things must come to an end, and that was most certainly the case this past weekend, as the 24th year of Camp of Champions begrudgingly concluded in beautiful Whistler, BC.
Every ending must have a beginning. COC Founder Ken Achenbach welcoming everyone to the final session.
The last week of camp is always bittersweet for those who've stationed themselves in Whistler for the duration of the summer to dig, coach and help provide campers with memories that will last a lifetime, as fatigue begins to set in, bodies begin to tire, and various beaches, campgrounds and other leisurely summer activities begin calling our names. But the end of summer camp is by no means a relief, as while the last week of Camp of Champions is usually the wildest and most fun session of them all, it's also incredibly sad, as there simply aren't enough words in any language to appropriately convey just how much fun summer camp truly is, along with how much it sucks when you have to go home.
And really, why would you ever want to go home when you've got a lane like this to play in?
Heartache aside though, much like the rest of the summer (with the lone exception of the second to last day), it was nothing but sunny skies and sunburn-inducing temperatures on the Horstman Glacier during the fourth and final session of COC, and while many of the coaches and guest pros were licking various wounds after a month straight of charging, the final crop of campers (much like their predecessors) were full of piss and vinegar and throwing down like it was mid-winter...
Liam Casey and his campers hanging out in the rail section at the bottom of the lane, aka Quebec.
High flying camper action...
Getting half naked during the end of session slopestyle contest is a regular occurrence for the campers.
And despite the aforementioned epidemic of fatigue and injuries, the final week of camp generally brings out the best in those who've been here all summer, as once the reality of not being able to ski or snowboard until the winter sets in, things tend to get extra sendy, and in some cases, extra silly...
Austin Ross getting his ski ballet on.
Rob Heule's brother Jay (who rules as hard as Rob does) showed up from Alberta, and the two of them proceeded to destroy the park with some highly creative top-to-bottom rail runs at warp speed...
And speaking of Albertans, Mike Henitiuk (who now resides in
Whistler) stopped by COC after finishing his duties at Momentum to get a
few licks in on the jumps before hanging up his skis till winter.
As did Joe Schuster...
...and Logan Pehota, who was absolutely crushing it all summer long.
A backflip in a sling ain't no thing for Colin D Watt.
The best dressed man on the glacier.
Okay, Liam Casey might have him beat.
Sean Pettit goes snowboarding...
...and yes, he's good at that too.
But the biggest highlight of the week (and potentially all summer) belonged to Max Morello, who gapped from the bottom of the Oakley stairset feature to the wall ride at the top. Stay tuned for the edit to see more.
And speaking of sending it, last week's 'Send It With...Session' featured Voleurz, and if you know anything about the highly entertaining clothing and film company, then you know that their team (aka the Voleurz Family) always come ready to play, both on and off the hill...and play they did.
The Voleurz Family
Darren Rayner shooting Mack Jones' mean-spirited intro for Voleurz'
upcoming film, Kill Your Boredom (stay tuned for the teaser to the
teaser, which drops on Monday)...
Spencer 'Brownspy' Watson in the house!
And now that the lifts have stopped turning at COC, it's time for some well-deserved shout-outs to those who helped make the past month the best year of summer camp yet...
First and foremost, to Bailey Mitchell and his hard working team of diggers, for once again outdoing themselves by building COC's best park to date.
Sheldon Steckman, Max Morello and everyone who pulled a shift in the security tent, for keeping the poachers out.
Rob 'Kinger' Kingwill, for keeping everyone stoked...all summer long.
Head Ski Coach Reed Speedman & Head Snowboard Coach Colin D Watt,
for all their hard work keeping both the coaches and campers in line.
The coaches, for being rad, and showing the campers the best time of their lives.
Ken Achenbach, for creating Camp of Champions and making it all happen year after year. You're the man.
And last but certainly not least, the most important (and stoked!) people at summer camp...the campers!
That's all for Camp of Champions this summer! Stay tuned for the fourth and final COC edit and our last update on Momentum, and we'll see you next year...same time, same place!