Woodward at Copper: The Coolest Summer Camp on Earth
Our boys had a great summer in 2010. Why? Because it was the first summer that they each went to sleepover camp. Although they didn’t go to camp together, they both went to the same freestyle skiing camp: Woodward at Copper.
Woodward at Copper is a relatively new, year-round addition to the winter sports offerings at Copper Mountain, Colorado. Opened in 2009, the centerpiece of Woodward at Copper is The Barn, a 19,400 square foot indoor terrain park and training facility. Woodward at Copper provides training in freestyle (park and pipe) skiing and snowboarding for athletes of all levels, from beginner to pro.
And while you may be wondering why you should care about summer camp when there is still a lot of snow on the ground, experienced moms will tell you that now is the time to sign up.
WHY WOODWARD AT COPPER IS THE COOLEST CAMP ON EARTH – A CAMPER’S PERSPECTIVE
1. Snow. The Woodward camps run from June through July. And, yes, even in late July 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 else 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 camp 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. With “down-time” activities including Go-Karts, bungee trampolines, diggeling (downhill kick-biking), a climbing wall, skateboarding, free gym in the Barn, bumper boats, tie-dying and s’mores ‘round the fire, the camp staff keeps everyone busy and entertained even 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 – with supervision.
6. 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 our 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, the Northeast, Singapore, Australia and France 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 much fun 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 EARTH — 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.
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 that gives them a soft landing and even more confidence before they progress 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, Camp Director Ben Brown 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 from staff to parents 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 last summer. Mt. Hood has Windells. They are probably very cool camps, too. But for those of us in Colorado, Woodward at Copper is by far the most convenient. And judging from what I saw, it just might be the coolest.
When You Go….
Woodward at Copper is currently taking registration for this summer’s camps. Plan ahead and register before April 15th for a $150 discount.
More information on summer camp at Woodward at Copper can be found at their website. In addition, the Barn is open year-round with Winter Day Camps, One-Hit Wonder introductory sessions and drop-in sessions. Once you’ve been to camp or taken a One-Hit Wonder session, you can drop in and use the Barn during an hour and 45-minute session, seven days a week.
In addition to summer freestyle skiing and snowboarding camps, Woodward at Copper also offers summer skateboarding camps and cheerleading camps. Again, check out the Woodward website for all the information.
(video courtesy of the Woodward at Copper YouTube channel)
Kristen Lummis lives on the Western Slope where the powder meets the red rocks. While she is passionate about skiing, her true passion is for her family. She blogs at braveskimom.com and New West Snow Blog.