Our boys had a great summer this year. Even with school in full swing and Labor Day behind us, they are still reminiscing about what a great summer it was. Why? Because it was the first summer that they each went to sleep-over camp. Although they didn’t go to camp together, they both went to the same camp: Woodward at Copper. And let me tell you, we think it is the coolest camp on the planet.
(video courtesy of the Woodward at Copper YouTube channel)
WHY WOODWARD AT COPPER IS THE COOLEST CAMP ON THE PLANET – A CAMPER’S PERSPECTIVE:
1. Snow. The Woodward camps run from June through July. And, yes, even in late July in Colorado, campers are on the snow every morning. The terrain park is in place and ready to go, with rails, boxes and jumps. But if you want to use the park, you gotta be a camper.
2. The Barn. When campers are not training on the snow, they are training in the 19,400 square foot Barn. Six olympic grade trampolines, 23,000 cubes of foam in three huge foam pits, a 35 feet tall snowflex jump, a quarter pipe, a spring floor: there is a bunch of cool stuff in the barn, most of which I cannot identify by name. If you are curious as to what is in the Barn, click here.
3. Top-Level Coaching. Our sons went to two different sessions, but each had the same coach, Kim. Yeah, she’s medalled at the X-Games. She’s darn nice too. And, during each session, a couple of pro skiers are in attendance to work with and inspire campers. Our boys met Colby West and Chris Benchetler. The cool factor of meeting these top-level athletes, working with them and collecting swag from their sponsors cannot be overestimated.
4. Free Time. Go-Karts, bungee trampolines, diggeling (downhill kick-biking), climbing wall, skateboard, free gym in the Barn, bumper boats, tie-dying, s’mores. The camp staff keeps everyone busy and entertained when campers are not working on their skills.
5. The Cage. Woodward’s retail store in Copper Mountain, the Cage also has foosball, ping-pong and a mini-bowl for skateboarding where campers can hang out during free time. For my boys, it was like the basement they’ll never have. For me, what is better than teen-age hang-out time with supervision?
5. Rooms with bathrooms. Yep, this was a big plus for my guys. Campers are housed two to a room in the EDGE building, which is rumored to have once been a Club Med (as hard as this is to believe, I think it is true — there is even an old Jim Carrey movie about it). Rooms are small and utilitarian, but they each have a bathroom with a door. The EDGE building also has a big common area with internet, video games, arcade games and the camp cafeteria.
6. Friends. For the two sessions are boys attended, campers came from all over the world. Many were, of course, from Colorado. But there were also campers from “everywhere with mountains,” according to my youngest son. He then clarified that there were almost as many “Lake Tahoe-ans” as Coloradans. Miami, Singapore, Australia, France and the East Coast were also represented.
Our youngest went to a camp for 8-12 year olds and our oldest went to a camp for 10-18 year olds. My guess is that at the second camp most of the campers were between 13-15, but all ages were represented. Boys outnumbered girls, but the girls were having just as good a time as the boys. At the end of camp, cell phone numbers had been exchanged, friends had been “friended” on Facebook and plans had been made to meet up during the winter.
WHY WOODWARD AT COPPER IS THE COOLEST CAMP ON THE PLANET — A MOM’S PERSPECTIVE:
1. It is safe. Yes, even with 35 foot jumps, simulated cliffs and thin snow (it is summer, after all), Woodward is safe. Our sons spent the winter “hucking and hoping” in terrain parks. We looked at camp at Woodward as an investment in their safety. The coaching is excellent and there are trainers on site to help with injuries (and our oldest did tweak his back one day and his knee the next).
2. Learning is progressive. Your son or daughter will start learning a new skill in the Barn on the trampolines. Once they can do the skill on the tramps, they can move to the snowflex. Once the coaches deem them ready, then they can take the new skill to the snow. Out on the snow, when conditions allow, there is a giant airbag which gives them a soft landing and even more confidence before progressing to cold, hard snow.
3. Friendly, fun staff. We made four trips to Woodward because our kids were in different camps. Each time we dropped a boy off, Ben Brown, the camp director, was making the rounds, meeting parents and campers, answering questions and generally making everyone feel comfortable. From what I could tell, he set the tone for his entire staff. Everyone was helpful and friendly. Our boys thought so too. Email communication throughout the week was excellent and camper safety was a clear priority.
Woodward at Copper is not the only summer freestyle ski camp in North America. A couple of boys from our town went to Momentum in Whistler this summer. Mt. Hood has Windells. They are probably very cool camps, too. But if you are in the Rocky Mountain region or coming from the East Coast, Woodward at Copper may be the most convenient. And judging from what I saw, it just might be the coolest.
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