Eating Crow -“Summer” Snowboard Camp Does In Fact Exist

As parent of both a younger child and adult children, I readily admit that when one of my adult children says, “Mom you were right about . . .”, I relish it.  While I have never told them, “I told you so“, I will cop to the fact that my inner 11-year-old is doing a hokey, “Neener neener, I TOLD YOU SO!” dance.  It’s better if you don’t try and picture that in your head, just know that it happens.  However, rare is the occasion when one of my kids, when they’re still little, gets a chance to serve me a fresh plate of steaming crow . . . until today, when it comes to the existence of summer snowboard camps.

I’ve written a lot about Gaby’s love of snowboarding and how much it’s done for her self confidence and overall outlook on life.  Even when our local resort closed for the season, we hauled butts and board up to Mount Snow in Vermont and let her shred until there wasn’t any snow left.  And even now, she’s asking about “sandboarding” just so she can feed the need, so to speak.  Um, sorry grom, I’m not hauling my big ass up sand dunes in order to watch you throw yourself back down, and end up with sand in places that are better left unmentioned. I’m down with risking frostbite five months out of the year. Sand-burn? Nope.

Of course, I say that now, but God only knows what we’ll end up letting this kid talk us into, eventually.

Anyhow, back in late February, right as I was trying to defrost from another two hours spent in sub-zero temps watching her work on her C turns, J turns, traversing, and her own special brand of stopping called the “Butt-side full stop” (which she mastered), Gaby mentioned something about summer snowboarding camp.  As I stood in front of the blazing fire in the lodge, checking my nose and fingers for signs of frostbite, she kept telling me how cool it would be to shred when everyone else was slapping mosquitoes and slathering on sunscreen. I rolled my eyes and told her that I hadn’t heard of any snowboard camps on the east coast and that there probably weren’t any in North America (because of course, I’m mom, and I know everything!), in the summer, and she’d most likely have to go somewhere in the Swiss Alps to get her shred on while everyone else was lighting off Fourth of July Fireworks. Can I tell you a little secret?  The entire time she was going on and on about summer snowboard camp, that song from “Frozen“, the one  that Olaf, the snowman sings? Yeah, “Summer“, was playing on repeat in my head!

Mom!  I’m serious, one of the instructors was telling me about summer snowboard camp! It exists.  Can I go? There are camps in America!

I can’t remember what I said in order to direct the conversation elsewhere, but eventually I got her focused on something else. It’s not that I don’t want to foster her enthusiasm for the sport of snowboarding – because let me tell you, this kid doesn’t need anyone to do that.  In between giving herself manis and pedis, stringing Monster High dolls through-out the house in some sort of distrubadorable obstacle course for either her parents or her cats, she lives, eats and breaths snowboarding.  Even now, in June when it’s starting to get muggy, buggy, and miserably hot, she’s already looking forward to the 2014-2015 shred season, and she’s constantly reminding me of all the things she’s doing now (skateboarding, roller skating) that keep her in form and ready to hop on her board the minute the snow falls. It’s just that at the time, when she was going on about snowboarding camp, I wanted to envision something else other than the current snowmageddon we were living through.

Snowmaggedon car Feb 2014  UTO

If I’m being completely honest, I’m also a little nervous about the whole “sleepaway camp” topic.  We backed out of letting her go back home to Maine this year to a summer camp up near Camden because I wasn’t ready to let her go. Yes, I obviously have issues when it comes to this, but considering the fact I lost a child while he was in the care of another person who wasn’t family, are you surprised? I know it’s been a long time since all of that happened, but I’m still just a tad apprehensive.

So, fast forward to this morning.  I’m sitting here checking my email and I open what ends up being a really nice email from an east coast mom who has a kid who snowboards and came across Barking Mad. She started reading right about the time I started writing about Gaby riding. She asked me if I knew anything about snowboard camps, in particular High Cascade Snowboard Camp, which is right here in the good ole U. S. of A, in Oregon. Not just a snowboard camp but a summer snowboarding camp. Naturally, I Googled the camp and spent more than an hour absolutely immersed in their awesomely comprehensive website.  I Googled other camps and came across Transworld Snowboarding’s list of the best 2014 summer snowboaring camps, and High Cascade was at the top of their list.  After checking out the programs that High Cascade offered for groms (Gaby’s age bracket. The grom program actually starts at 9, which will be perfect for next summer, as Gaby won’t be 9 until this coming December) I decided to phone HCSC and ask several million a few questions about their program, including supervision of the littler kids, and try and get a more detailed picture of what each day of camp is like.

They even have a program called HCSC Girl which is tailored to . . .

. . . encourage girls in a supportive snowboarding mini-all-girl-world within the friendly confines of a co-ed camp.

Gaby is all about encouraging more girls to get involved in the sport of snowboarding because right now there’s this massive disparity between the number of guys who are out there stomping out the big tricks and catching major air vs. how many girls are doing the same thing. Check out any snowboarding team and the boys always outnumber the girls.

After spending about 25 minutes on the phone with Chelsea from HCSC, and finding out that there are other parents I can talk to from my part of the country, who have sent their kids to summer snowboard camp out there, and then Chelsea taking the extra time to make sure she had complete information for me to help put my mind at ease, I feel pretty confident that this is definitely some place we want to send Gaby next summer.

Of course, when Gaby got home from school and I told her about HCSC, she was pretty good about not rubbing it in, and not once did she utter the dreaded, “I told you so!” While she wasn’t real thrilled about having to wait until next summer to go, she knows she still has an entire shredding season in front of her, where she can feed her inner yeti.

Gaby at Carinthia Mount Snow hitting boxes UTO

The best part? I have an entire year to stockpile Xanax in preparation of letting her go across the country (did I mention this also means she’ll be flying solo, across the country?  HOLD ME!) to sleepaway camp.




I’m Audrey, the voice behind Barking Mad, a freelance writer and photographer, and owner of Barking Mad Media, LLC. In another life, my “voice” (they call it “air talent” nowadays) could be heard on Clear Channel and Entercom ( KISW, KJR, KHMX, WCOL, WNCI, and several other large-market commercial radio stations) radio stations around the country. I'm married to my lifelong British pen-pal, and have 4 beautiful children. I hope you’ll join me as I embark on a poignant personal journey to lose 225lbs and in the process, gain my life back. I also write about surviving the loss of my 2-year-old son, Joshua, coping with the subsequent depression, and morbid obesity.

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  1. Jessica says:

    We live in Kentucky with very little snow, that camp sounds like so much fun!

  2. It is hard. Johnny did his first over night camp last summer. It happened unexpectedly (we were told there rooms were full when we signed up and there ended up being a spare bed in one of the dorms). He went from day camper to overnight in 10 mins. So I never got to freak out. He’s excited knowing he’s staying overnight again next year.

  3. How awesome that you found a summer snowboarding camp. I didn’t realize they existed either. She will love it next year if you do enroll it. :)

  4. I can certainly see your concern. It is so hard to let our kids go off to these places alone. You will always have these feeling. I was nervous just leaving my daughters alone for a short time when they were little just for girl scouts. Yet once my one daughter was 18, she flew across the country alone. I was just as nervous and anxious that she would arrive safely, as if she was little all over again. I still worry all the time about her living so far away from me.

  5. I’d be just as nervous. My kids have never been to a summer camp before.

    • Mellisa,

      Gaby hasn’t either. We were going to send her to a camp not far from where we’re from in Maine, but I couldn’t do it. I just wasn’t ready to let her go – THIS year. I think SHE is more than ready though.

  6. That sounds awesome! I would be scared though,

    • Kat,

      I’ve got an entire year before she goes – I like I said, I’ll be stockpiling Xanax . . .unless of course I decide to go to camp too! Yep, they have adult programs too! :-)

  7. I never would have thought that such a thing existed! I loved skiing as a kid but have never been snowboarding!

    • Diane,

      Give it a try one of these winters! Especially if you skied as a kid, you might find it pretty easy to learn to snowboard. I tried skiing once and it was more than I could manage with a ski on each foot and pole in each hand. Snowboarding was not exactly easy to learn (and this was 20 years ago) but for me, much easier than managing my flailing arms and legs! *lol*

  8. I wouldn’t have thought there was a summer snowboarding camp either!
    Hoping to send my youngest (now 14) to camp for a week next summer. We can hug each other the whole time they’re gone.

  9. Mama, you did great amounts of research and it sounds incredible. What a gift that will be for her. She will be in her element and LOVING it.

    • Liz,

      I STILL feel like I have a million questions! I can talk to other parents who sent/send their own kids and I think that will help calm my nerves down a bit too. You’re right though, Gaby’s going to be in her element and I imagine she won’t be ready to come home after 8 days. I can’t help but be excited for her though.

  10. What an amazing adventure for your little one! I don’t even want to think about snow LOL I would be freaking out about sending her across country too, you’re brave!

    • Amanda,

      I’m not sure if I’m brave or just well medicated! *lol*

      But seriously, Gaby is just off-the-chain excited about going, and I know she’s going to have a blast!

  11. She is going to have SO MUCH FUN!! I know it’s not easy to let go (I haven’t sent my kids to sleep away camp!) but it’s good you are doing it!

  12. OH wow, that sounds awesome! You know… this time next year, my (then) 16 year old will be in EUROPE on a 2 week trip, and I think i have a little anxiety over it. My 10 year old son is going down the road to camp in a few weeks, and I’m totally ok with it! Haha! Good luck, mama!

    • Lisa,

      My husband is from the UK and I’ve both lived and traveled over there and love it! I hope your teen has an absolutely amazing time! Oh, and while I don’t like the stuff, be sure and tell your kiddo to bring you home some European milk and dark chocolate. You’ll never ever eat the American stuff again! 😉

  13. Eeks. Sleepaway camp? I don’t know that I’ll ever be prepared for that and my girls are 9 and 11! Kudos to you for encouraging her with her passion and even preparing yourself for the camp that will help her excel even more.

    • Nicole,

      I really never imagined myself being able to let Gaby go. I know it will be good for her though and even more than that? I think it will be good for me, to sort of help me regain trust in the outside world and have faith that everything is going to be OK.

  14. Oh what FUN! I am a TERRIBLE skier and have only gone once… hense why I am terrible. However, I think this looks like SO much fun! :)

    • Rachel,

      They even cater to adults who have NO experience! And there isn’t anything they leave out. I’m really excited that we chose this camp for her. I think Gaby is going to have the time of her life!

  15. Wow, I had no idea! That’s fantastic! Stock up on the Xanax, mom! 😉

    • Lisa,

      I am…also taking an earlier suggestion from someone upstream and am going to be stockpiling wine as well! *lol*

  16. A summer snowboard camp … who would have thought?!

    • Beth,

      I feel pretty silly that I was so surprised by the fact that we do in fact have SUMMER snowboarding camps in the US. It looks like it’s gonna be totally awesome though and I’m a little jealous I’m not going.

  17. Oh wow! It sounds really cool but I understand your hesitation, i would be a bit freaked out too.

    To this day I always tell my mom how frustrating it is that she is always right. She has always been right LOL

    • Kim,

      I’m sort of beyond freaked out and into the realm of having to remind myself to breath, every time I think of Gaby not only getting on an airplane by herself, but being away for EIGHT ENTIRE DAYS, my lungs suddenly cease to work. I’ve got an entire year to reign it in. *lol*

  18. I can’t imagine sending my kid across country for camp. I’d have a hard time doing that one. This camp does sound cool though.

    • Crystal,

      A snowboard camp is definitely something we could use on the east coast, but I don’t think we have any mountain ranges that still get decent powder this late in the year, and into the summer too, which surprises me.

      The cross country thing makes me anxious but I’m sure Gaby will be fine. I think someone needs to reassure me that *I* am gonna survive!

  19. Jessica says:

    I sent my son across the country last summer. He flew Delta, and they were pretty awesome about getting him there without misplacing him. He had a blast, and he could not stop talking about it when he got back home.

    As for me, I was a freakin’ nervous wreck until he called to let us know he was there. I followed the plane on a flight tracking site, even though it was late and I had to get up for work the next morning. I do believe I was more panicked and nervous than he was. 😛

    • Jessica,

      How old is your son? It’s nice to know that Delta took really good care of him. I guess, now that I think about it a little more, I’m going to have to reach out and ask people like you, who have done this before (and SURVIVED) which airline they used and what the experience was like. Until then I’m going to practice deep breathing exercises I learned ages ago in childbirth classes, because the Xanax is not going to stockpile itself!

      • Jessica says:

        He was eight when he flew out by himself from Chicago to San Francisco. He was the first one on board, and he said that the flight attendants made sure he was comfortable and okay with the flight. I guess they liked him, because he came home with two sets of Delta wings (pins), two blankets (!), and he got to meet the pilots. 😀

  20. This camp sounds so cool!! I can’t imagine sending off my baby alone across the country, though. I would be stockpiling the Xanax as well. 😉

    • Arena (I LOVE YOUR NAME!),

      Yep, the whole, “across the country” thing has me a little anxious. However, they have snowboarding camps for mom and dad too! When I mentioned this to Gaby she rolled her eyes and then asked me, “Mom, are you serious? REALLY?”


      Maybe, just maybe.

  21. That sounds like an awesome opportunity for Gabby! I can’t imagine loosing a child, let alone while that precious one would be in the care of someone else and my heart goes out to you, I completely understand your resisting sending Gabby away to sleep away camp but I applaud your courage in deciding to do so. I send my then 6 year old to spend 6 weeks with m,y parents last summer and she flew unaccompanied all the way from LA. I cried so hard when she left but she was so proud and stoic I knew it was the right thing to do. She did amazing and the flight attendants complimented her profusely on her good behavior. I breathed a huge sight of relief when my parents called and I could hear her precious little voice on the other end of the phone.

    • Valerie,

      This is pretty much where I am right now . . . I almost *think* I’m more concerned about the flight, and making sure she can get a nonstop from where we are in NY to PDX on the west coast. Once she lands in PDX the folks from High Cascade take it from there and don’t loose sight of her for the entire time she’s with them. I was pretty impressed by the lengths they go to when it comes to supervision.

      Granted, I really really would like to go out and check out the camp and sort of spend a day up there watching how the program works (I’d LOVE to be able to write about it as well, from a first-hand perspective), but finances don’t allow for that right now. Plus, millions of parents do this every summer, why can’t I? She’s going to be 9, she a smart kid, and I know that when they fly unaccompanied, flight attendants are never ever far away. I’m pretty sure they’ll let us wait with her at the (outgoing) gate as well, being that she’s unaccompanied.

      I just get really nervous thinking about her being completely out of my care for 8 days, let alone doing it on the other side of the country . . . but I’ve got to tell ya, her excitement level is THROUGH THE ROOF at this point! Seeing that smile and knowing she’s gonna have a blast helps when it comes to peeling me off the ceiling, so-to-speak.

  22. Great discussion

  23. I think you need to add lots of wine to your stockpile list. I’d be just as nervous to send my child away, even if it’s a super cool camp!

    • Jen,

      I wonder if wine sales increase around this time every year with bajillions of parents sending their little ones off to sleepaway camp all over the place? *lol* They’re either calming jittery nerves or celebrating!

  24. Wow that sounds awesome! I’m debating sending my daughter to girl scout camp next summer by herself. She’s 7 right now. They actually have a shorter camp week for girls her age but I’m not ready this week. My parents sent me away for two weeks each summer to camp and I loved it. They didn’t have to send me across the country for it, though.

    • Paula,

      I can empathize with feeling not ready. I was absolutely sure when we booked Gaby for summer camp back home in Maine (which is only 4 hours from where we are now), that I could do it. I’m pretty sure she would have been OK this summer, but I wasn’t ready. I hate feeling like maybe I held her back. Thankfully she’s been cool about it, but it’s time for me to grow up and let her spread her wings a little.

      I went to summer camp when I was a teen, but it was never more than 4 hours from home and we had to put our own tents up and literally “rough it.” I loved it though. Horseback riding, innertubing in the river, and just having fun with friends. To this day I still can’t put up a tent on my own, but I’m the best damned campfire-marshmallow-roaster on this side of the Mississippi! 😉 I know for a fact I picked up those mad skillz at summer camp! *lol*