It’s been an eventful first three days in Whistler for Newschoolers week at Camp of Champions. In between late nights in the village and long days on the glacier, we found the time to catch up with old friends, meet a host of new campers, and get tuned in to the one-of-a-kind Whistler lifestyle.
On Monday afternoon, on our way down from the Horstman glacier, Khai Krepela explained that the easiest way to remember how good it is to be a skier is to “go and do a normal person’s life for a week.” When you come out of it, you realize “all your problems are bullshit,” he said. Halfway through session B at Camp of Champions, 2015, Khai’s philosophy is proving accurate.
For the first two days, the mood was mellow but appreciative. Smoke from forest fires raging to the north and south of Whistler is blanketing the entire valley, and on those days the sun glowed a surreal orange, casting a pastiness across the glacier that reminded us all of Mars. In anticipation of the week’s coming melt, COC’s rails were dug in as deep as they could be. By Saturday they’ll be as high as street rails, but the measure has kept a lid on the most adventurous rail skiing so far.
Visibility is limited | Photo: Peter Matlashewski
Khai and fellow Newschoolers invitee Will Wesson sessioned a flat tube and a down rail for most of the day Monday. Will is rational about getting shots. On a smoky day, he tells it as it is: “fast and low. Go skateboarding.” When the rails are simple, he stated, there’s no need to get technical. Furthermore, it’s hard to differentiate one down rail from the next; it takes a feature you’ve never seen before to really initiate a creative response.
Photo: Tom Pietrowski
Jarred Martin Tail 360 | Photo: Peter Matlashewski
Despite the first-day discouragement that seemed to spread out across the glacier, campers were still throwing down in the COC lane. One of Jarred Martin’s kids, Benny, laced a clean switch 270 on 270 out in front of the NS crew. There are two Eric’s in his group, and they both slay as well. They gave Jarred shit for showing up on the NS snap story the night before. Sandy Boville is also at the helm of an impressive crew of kids, who, aged 14 to 15, are evidence of the reality of park skiing these days, as if anyone needed reminding.
Sandy with a Couple campers | Photo: Peter Matlashewski
Photo: Tom Pietrowski
By this afternoon, the rail lines had melted down to a more recognizable level. We dragged or sorry asses up to the glacier just in time to help the Spy Optics team finish their product giveaway. Bishop screamed words of encouragement at the campers, who did their best lip blind 2’s, switch 50-50s and 630s out. Looking around, the COC lane was a blur of colour and activity. Campers were sending every possible air and rail line; the Gnu snowboard team, and maybe some guys from FootyFiend, spent their third consecutive day hiking the down rail and double kink; Maude’s girls already showed how much they’ve progressed in three short days. Mostly, everyone seemed to be having a good time, and that is not an exaggeration.
Tuesday's Sunset Shoot | Photo: Peter Matlashewski
So although the sky is tinged a sickly brown, and it sometimes feels as though we’re skiing on Tatooine, no one is too concerned. The problems you have here are bullshit. It’s 30 degrees, there’s snow on the hill and a hundred or so lucky souls are shredding an excellent park lane, swapping stories and slapping high fives. And therefore, for the record, you can be sure that all is well in Whistler.