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Shredding summer snow at Copper

Cody R. Olivas
Copper Mountain, Colorado

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colorado — It might be July, but people are still shredding snow at Copper Mountain, Colorado — hucking back flips and Lincoln Loops, truck-driver 3s, corked 7s and 9s, Japan 180s and every other trick they can tweak their body into.

Yes, it’s true, a few people are still pushing their limits on planks and they’re doing it at Copper Mountain. The ski area just started running the Woodward at Copper summer camps – the first indoor/outdoor ski and snowboard camp on the planet.

The camp, which is coached by a grip of professional skiers and riders, is a one-two punch. Campers first learn how to do tricks indoors on trampolines and snow-flex ski-jumps with foam landings in Copper’s “Barn.”

“It definitely helps – it gives you air sense so you know where you are in the air,” camper Jackson Buscher, 15, said.

“It’s the most epic playground you’ve ever seen,” camp counselor Brittany Adam said. “Everything you ever wanted as a kid is there.”

After the mini-shreds start getting their new tricks dialed-in in The Barn, the next step is to take their new moves to Copper’s summer edition of its Catalyst Terrain Park. After the ski-season, all the snow on the mountain is pushed into the park, forming a mini glacier to withstand the summer heat.

In the park, campers can land on a giant air bag and when they feel confident they can eventually move up to landing on snow – the only option most people have.

“Summit County has been a park mecca for a while, but this place is going to blow it up,” coach and Copper team member Dave Zweig said. ” In terms of progression, this place tops it all.”

Zweig, Josh Sherman, Chad Otterstrom, Taylor Seaton, Erich Dummer and other pros were throwing down tricks left and right at the camp Tuesday, stoking campers out and then helping them learn the moves. Pros TJ Schiller, Pat Moore, Gabe Taylor, Leane Pelosi and others were at the camp’s first session.

“It’s cool, they set the standard,” camper Alan George, 15, said. “If they do a trick you want to learn, they’ll show you how to do it; they’ll teach you in the barn and then you can take it out here.”

Dummer advised one kid not to look down for his grab while spinning. “If you know the board’s attached to your feet, you know it’s gonna be there so you can focus on the spin,” he explained. “I want to lay the foundation so they can take the tricks they have right now and hopefully it will translate into bigger tricks.”

The camp seemed as laid back as a typical day on the snow. People are stoking each other out with a “yeah dude” here and “what kind of spin are you gonna do?” there. Sometimes campers would tell a coach to huck a back flip and, sure enough, a few moments later the coach would be flying upside down through the air.

Most of the tutelage seemed quick, casual and to the point – “three turns from there,” “bend those knees,” or “take that front shoulder and point it down the middle of the box.”

It seemed to be working.

“Yesterday, I did my first front flip ever,” camper Erik Gromicko, 16, said. “I just tried it and now that I got the hang of it I can take it to the snow.”

Nobody had any complaints about the snow either. The crew was salting the in-run a little, but said it had been staying cold enough at night to keep the snow from getting crusty.

“It’s slushy, but I like it,” camper Joseph Johnston said. “It’s still slippery enough to ski.”

Besides, Copper is now one of the few places in the northern hemisphere where people are able to ride in the summer.

“People coming out of here are going to dominate,” Adam said. “Being able to ride in Colorado in the summer is absolutely amazing.”

If nothing else, everyone seemed to be having a good time playing on the snow, sliding boxes, jumping on the trampolines and hucking into foam pits without having to worry if they landed on their heads or not.

“It’s definitely the funnest camp I’ve ever been to,” camper Erik Gromicko said. “I’ve been to a bunch of camps, and this one tops them all.”

Camps will run through July 22 and the mountain is offering a $400 locals discount for Summit, Lake and Eagle County residents for the session that begins Sunday. The camps are for kid’s ages 8-18 and they can register by calling 888-350-1544 until the very last minute.

Kids of all ages can also play in The Barn. More information is available at http://www.woodwardatcopper.com

“It’s the next generation of progression,” Sherman said.

Cody Olivas can be reached at 668-4629 or via e-mail at colivas@summitdaily.com


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