words and photos by Mary Walsh
While 80 degree weather doesn't seem to beckon for you to pull on snowpants, the fact is that warm temps, sunglasses instead of goggles, and hero snow are a combination relegated only to the waning days of springtime in most parts of the world, so the opportunity for riding in the warmer months is a cherished opportunity, despite the fact that the previously mentioned snowpants might not even have vents. Summer snowboard camp is a magical thing.
At the end of June, I headed to Northern California to spend a week at Woodward Tahoe, a summer camp that boasts an ultimate list of activities: snowboarding on a well-salted, lift accessed park lap; skateboarding at any of the multiple outdoor parks via a winding, concrete lap through the woods; traversing the enormous indoor landscape of trampolines, spring floors and skatelite-covered transition; and of course, traditional camp activities maxed out for grom crowd, including a blob launch in the Woodward lake, all sorts of bikes and wheeled things on which to cruise, and evening favorite, dodgeball.
Tahoe's most recent winter was a momentous one; weather patterns unleashed feet upon feet of frozen precip on the Sierra and so the summer slush was deep at Woodward. Along with the groups of snowboarders and skiers lapping the park, Stefi Luxton, Danimals, and filmer Jake Durham were in town for Ride Snowboards. Kjersti Buaas was boarding with the Zeal crew and Lenny Mazotti, Jared McDaniel, Tyler Lynch, and Fancy Rutherford were at camp for Flux. Fancy was also joined by Christine Savage and Danyale Patterson, who were filming for a new Too Hard edit. The Tahoe crew was thick, with Brady Lem, Nial Romanek, Kai Ujejski, Taylor Elliot, Ian Daly, Riley Nickerson, Joey Leppien and more cruising throughout the week.
While skateboarding and snowboarding are what quickly come to mind when thinking about Woodward Tahoe, the camp is also home to a burgeoning digital media program, which offers campers with budding interests in being behind the lens an opportunity to learn from professionals in a location loaded with action to point their cameras at. Kids flock to Boreal with DSLRs and GoPros in hand and spend the week on hill and in the skateparks stockpiling shots for edits and slideshows that they present at the end of the week. Especially cool is the weekly sunset shoot that the campers get to take part in. In the afternoons, the digital media crew logs footage in a zone outfitted with iMacs and the Adobe Suite. Hanging out with the campers in the digital paradise I couldn't help but wish I had access to lightroom when I was in middle school. To see the excitement for creating things overflowing within that workspace was something really cool.
As is always the case with summer snowboard camp, the week flew by way too quickly. I'm already looking forward to next summer and it's only July. If you're interested in heading to Woodward to check out how awesome it is for yourself, you can get all the info here: Woodwardtahoe.com.
Thank you to all the digital media campers, it was awesome to hang with you guys, and to the epic Woodward Tahoe crew, Matt, Missy, Tucker, Casey, Sam, Lane, Mizl, and the rest of the park staff—you guys rule.