Mount Hood is a special place. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. There’s something about putting on snowpants and lacing up boots when it’s 70 degrees out. Something about enjoying consistent bluebird days and soft, hero snow. Something about coming down from the hill, taking off your gear and sitting on the pavement of the Timberline parking lot. There’s just something magical about snowboarding in the summer. Surely, standing at the top of the Palmer Snowfield looking out across the hazy sea of PNW forestland before heading down into volcanic rock-flanked parks that amplifies the dreaminess of snowboarding at High Cascade.
For me, like many others in the snowboard industry, I gained many of my closest friends while working at summer camp. Christine Savage, my partner in Beyond the Boundaries Women’s Snowboard Camp, and I met the first time I visited Oregon. And while our stamina for nights at Charlie’s has drastically decreased, our excitement for snowboarding at Hood has never waned. Christine and I have been coaching together for over a decade and for the last four years have run BTBounds weekend park camps and international trips specifically for women. Since we started, we have wanted to hold camp at Hood and this year, everything aligned for our first-ever week at High Cascade Snowboard Camp. This, in itself, was really exciting for us, and then to add to things, BTBounds at High Cascade was our first camp since everything shut down in March of 2020. Heading to Oregon just before July 4th for Session 2 at HCSC, we were hyped.
While Beyond the Boundaries started years ago as a way to help get more women into the terrain park, over the years it has evolved into a much more holistic approach to becoming a stronger snowboarder while making friends with like-minded individuals, all while building confidence, community, and exploring new places. At the heart of the program is the staff, coaches and support crew who welcome everyone into the fold and break down tricks and fundamentals in a way that’s accessible and helpful for adults. We really wanted to blow our first camp back and first camp at High Cascade out of the water, so an all-star staff was assembled for the week: Kelsey Boyer, Ashley Giangregorio, Jen Chang, and Alexis Roland. On top of that, two very special guest coaches joined us for their first BTBounds, Hana Beaman and Patrick McCarthy. 686 has been supporting BTBounds nearly since camp began and they went all in to make BTBounds Week at High Cascade hugely amazing. Both Hana and Pat have been spending summers on the glacier for a long time and they were eager to share their experience with the ladies. They jumped right in on the jumpline the first day, helping everyone with speed, pop, and grabs. Of course, Hana brought her infamous karaoke skills and on-hill microphone, too. To have this crew all together at camp was really something special. Additionally, Burton, Nitro, and L1 linked up with camp to support the week in big ways, too, further adding to the first-camp-back splash.
We arrived in Govy on Sunday, July 4th, joining High Cascade’s adult camp and graciously taking over an entire floor of Boardwalk. Boardwalk is a bit of a summer camp institution, in terms of lodging; it’s been housing High Cascade campers for years, nestled in tall trees just off the main drag of town. Each floor has a giant deck, perfect for relaxing and airing out soggy gear, and the HCSC dining hall, run by the amazing Ari Morrone, is on the bottom floor. We immediately were greeted by Dylan Hopkins and Shayne Dunn, two of the most excellent and easy-going dudes, who run adult camp. Huge thanks go out to those two for welcoming us and helping us with everything throughout the whole week!
Then, thirteen ladies joined us at the first BTBounds at High Cascade! They moved into their summer camp bunkrooms, unpacked their snowboards, and opened up packable Burton duffel bags loaded with gear from 686, Burton, Nitro, L1, Sun Bum, Blackstrap, Wend Wax, and so much more, curated to enhance their week of warm weather boarding. We were back!
Summer snowboard camp has a relaxing, Ground Hog Day-esque feel to it: wake up, eat breakfast and pack a lunch, head up to Timberline and make your way to the park. Then ride, hike, rope tow, and repeat until the end of the day, when it’s time to head down to the Tline parking lot to shed gear and lounge for a second. Head down to Govy to relax, stretch, skate at the Wy’East campus, etc.—and grab a Volcano cone when you have the chance, too.
The first day on hill, the crew welcomed this routine. From the first turns, it was clear that everyone was so hyped to be riding together, but we really wanted to celebrate the first BTBounds camp back after having to put everything on pause last season. The first night, Hana and Pat surprised the group with an outerwear giveaway of Oprah Winfrey proportions, kitting out everyone with fresh 686 gear. Then, the mic came out for a karaoke party that echoed through the streets of Govy (the ladies closed out the evening with a memorable rendition of “Tiny Dancer” that brought down the house). The tone was set for the week.
By Wednesday, day three on hill, we were in the glacier groove. It was Pat’s birthday (HBD, Sarge!) so we started off with a cake and candy and then met up in the parking lot with Burton photographer Gabe L’Heureux to document the day. Gabe is an incredible lensman, so getting to shoot with him was a cherry on top of the week, for sure. We were joined also by the Burton marketing team, Chelsea Waddell, Meg Procter, Matt Bothfield, and Morgan Bennett, and started things off with an ollie clinic led by Christine, as the ollie is foundational to learning so many new tricks. Then, another surprise: Mark McMorris, Zeb Powell, Nora Beck, and Rob Roethler linked up for a Palmer lap, finding sidehits and slashing the whole way down.
That afternoon, the coaches led a progression session in the pipe that culminated in a follow up the next day, the Burton Feel Good Jam. It was really amazing to see the ladies’ growth over just two days spending time in the halfpipe. For some of the women, it was their first time dropping in, for others, they were working on getting higher up on the walls, airing out, or learning handplants. The 686 and Burton crews provided inspiration and instruction. Forest Bailey joined in. Bistro was putting down handplants. Meg was airing out. Pat was sending big, bday frontside airs. Gabe was taking photos. Ari Morrone came by and she and Hana had a plant session with Jess Tennyson. By the second day, the upleveling of confidence, speed, and height was really amazing!
By Thursday night, everyone was riding high from learning new tricks, getting more confident with existing strengths, and spending time with the crew. While the week wasn’t over yet, the experience so far really came together at an incredible dinner party hosted by Burton at their house just a few steps away from Boardwalk. As the sun lowered in the sky, we joined the marketing team for a dinner made by the incredible chef, Paige Common. Wine was poured and Fat Tire beers were cracked as the group enjoyed an unreal spread of hors d’oeurvres before digging into the main course, a spread of salmon, corn, potatoes, and perfectly crispy tofu. The flavors were unreal, each ingredient honored and elevated—the perfect culinary pairing to week spent hiking in the park.
As I mentioned earlier, one of the hallmarks of Beyond the Boundaries is the supportive environment, created by both the coaches, guest pros, and campers. Falling and flailing is a natural part of learning new things and so it’s mandatory for camp to be a place where people feel like they can really put themselves out there. During the Burton dinner, we gathered in the living room to commemorate the rad things we had seen others in our group do the past few days. This part of camp is really special and it was, again, amazing to bring it to High Cascade. Christine and Kelsey gave out prizes, too, for learning new things during the Burton Feel Good pipe jam, including a brand new Burton Feel Good snowboard (congrats, Bekah!). The evening ended with Matty B hoping on the t-shirt press so everyone could make one-of-a-kind BTBounds x HCSC x Burton t-shirts.
Friday was the last day on hill, but we had a little more up our sleeves. Alexis Roland first joined the BTBounds coaching crew right before we had to hit pause and she was immediately in the mix. Nitro Snowboards got her out to Hood to join us for the session and we couldn’t have been more excited—her abilities on rails are matched only by her passion for sharing snowboarding with others. Co-head coach, Ashley Giangregorio is a new addition to the Nitro team, too, and so on Friday, they held a BTBounds first, a proper rail jam. We generally keep things non-competitive at camp; we want everyone to learn, feel comfortable, and progress, but Ashley and Lexi introduced the rail jam as another point of learning—how to ride under a little bit of pressure, land your tricks when it counts, and have a good time. Hana gave Lexi the mic and grabbed a GoPro to film the ladies and for an hour, the Nitro No Mercy rail jam (named for the Nitro Mercy snowboard) went down.
Over the course of the week, we had sessioned different jibs, from flat bars to side-approach down rails to DFDs and the rail jam really brought everything all together. Plus, anytime you get Hana’s karaoke mic involved, things really go up a notch! The group became more comfortable with their presses, frontboards, boardslides and more, all while hiking together in the Timberline park.
Friday night, it was time for celebration. We had spent five days learning new things in the Timberline park. We had skated the Concrete Jungle and hung out in BOB, the Building Out Back on High Cascade’s campus that has an indoor, concrete skatepark, trampolines, and more. We had tried new boards from the HCSC demo center and picked t-shirts in the camp store. Skyway, an amazing restaurant with the coolest outdoor zone in the area, was the place for our celebratory, final dinner. Drinks were cheersed, mac and cheese was devoured, and Hana gave out two very special awards, a brand new Ride snowboard—the same model she was riding—and a glittering, bedazzled karaoke mic. Kari earned the board for her determination, progression, and always-on-point wit, and Lindsay, whose karaoke skills wowed everyone, took home the prestigious microphone.
After dinner, we closed out the week in one of Hood’s most majestic spots, Trillium Lake at sunset. Lexi and Ashley wrapped everything up with awards from the Nitro rail jam, handing out prizes from L1 and a Nitro Mercy snowboard (congrats Patti on the new board!). A few photos in front of a picturesque Mount Hood and Beyond the Boundaries Week at High Cascade was a wrap.
Thank you to Gregg, Anna, Bobby, Ari, Dylan, Shayne, and everyone at High Cascade for welcoming us to summer snowboard camp! Thank you to Timberline Freestyle for the fun park! Thank you to Pat, Hana, Brent, and the crew at 686; Chelsea, Meg, Morgan, Bistro, Gabe, and crew at Burton; Bob and Ryan at Nitro; and all of the sponsors that help to make BTBounds even better: Blackstrap, Saga Outerwear, Sun Bum, Wend Wax, Thread Wallets, Native, Nikwax, Boiron, Stamina Pro, Umpqua Oats, Lilly’s Foods, Alden’s Organic Ice Cream.