Summer’s here, and strange as it may seem, for your typical park rat it’s the best time of the year to be going on a snowboard trip. The sun is shining, tourists are long gone, the snowpark is slushy and super fun, and once you’re off the mountain you have long days left to skate bowls, swim in lakes and generally be young, free and high on life.
What are you waiting for?
North America and Europe are your two choices for summer snowboarding in the northern hemisphere, and they have very different approaches to summer camp.
The US and Canada has a strong summer camp culture, where it’s traditional to send your kids away and have someone else teach them important life skills (like snowboarding). Compared to Europe, North American camps are the whole package: well supervised with private snowpark, on-mountain coaching, off-mountain counsellors, and a lot more expensive.
In Europe, where camp culture is less developed, the setup tends to be less about kids going away to camp, and more about young adults travelling to public summer glaciers. So while ‘camps’ do happen, they tend to be way cheaper with less supervision, coaching and scheduled activities.
Camp Of Champions, Whistler, BC, Canada
Located in the world-famous resort of Whistler, COC has the biggest summer snowpark in the world, the best quality snow, great coaching, and, compared to Mt Hood, much longer riding days. So, if riding your snowboard all day is your main reason for going to camp (which it should be), then sign up for Camp’O’Champs.
Opening dates 2014: June 29 – July 24
Mt Hood, OR, USA
Mt Hood is the classic summer camp for American shredders, with three options – a public park and two private camp parks, belonging to HCSC and Windells.
High Cascades Summer Camp is 100% snowboarding, has been running since 1989, so it’s kinda the daddy camp, with a full sized halfpipe and two dedicated terrain parks. HCSC is also closest to the slopes, but being a government camp, it’s also highly supervised, if you know what we mean. HCSC is also the summer home for some very big name US pros, so if you fancy being taught how to boost airs like Kelly Clark or tweak like Sage…
Opening dates 2014: June 16 – August 12
The ‘other’ Mt Hood camp is a more broad-based camp, with a ton of after-riding activities and with its new ‘Concrete Jungle’ skatepark, it has the most amazing skate facilities. On the plus side, it’s a more relaxed, fun vibe than HCSC. On the minus side, it’s more expensive, and has skiers and little kids clogging up the snowpark.
Opening dates 2014: 11 June – August 12
Woodward Camps, CO, USA
Woodward has two way more general sports camps based at Boreal and Copper in Colorado, with amazing skateboard facilities, foam pits, trampolines and even cheerleaders… which has to be a good thing.
Opening dates 2014: June 15 – August 9
Europe is blessed with a bunch of glaciers that offer summer park riding, including Hintertux, Stubai, Tignes, Zermatt/Cervinia, Saas Fee, and Val Senales, but here’s our top three for summer snowboarding that comes with a real summer camp vibe.
Les Deux Alpes, France
Europe’s biggest snowpark setup, with lots of fun off-mountain activities and also one of the cheapest options for independent visitors. There are also a variety of small camps you can stay with, such as Girly Camps and Onyx Camps.
Opening dates 2014: 21 June – 30 August
Nestled in a beautiful corner of western Norway, Folgefonna has a ‘real’ freeski and snowboard camp with younger campers, coaching and plenty of off-snow activities. Being near the coast, it’s frequently foggy, so bring your fishing rod and skateboard – the (indoor) skate bowl is rad!
Opening dates 2014: 6 June – July 6
‘Dachy’ is the favourite of German, Austrian and Baltic shreds. With a fun park shaped by the QParks crew, it’s open all spring, summer and fall.
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