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Ben Rice gets slashing at HCSC. Photo: Eddy Densow
April Fools Day is hands down the worst day ever on the Internet. You can’t believe anything you read and if you do, well, you’re a fool. So when the press release about High Cascade and Windells merging dropped, you savvy readers pretty much wrote it off as a joke. But guess what? It wasn’t. The formerly separate camps will operate as one entity this year, and we we’re able to catch up with Windells Founder Tim Windell and We Are Camp CEO Kevin English to get the real scoop.
So, this wasn’t an April Fools joke?
Nope. No joke. This one is for real! The timing just coincided with April 1 so we thought we’d have a little fun . . . and fun is our business.
How did this go down — hostile takeover or amicable merger?
We’ve been talking about something like this for years. It’s just a natural to quit battling each other, recognize the tremendous assets the camps have together and go out and tell the world about what Mt. Hood has to offer. By Windells and HCSC partnering, we suddenly have more lifts than all the other North American summer camps combined. Our terrain park footprint at Timberline Ski Area on Mt. Hood has become larger than most winter resort parks and the availability for diversity within these parks will be unmatched: Mt. Hood has lift accessibility to snow 12 months a year. The two high-speed quads give us access to over 2 miles of runs during the months of June and July and a mile of riding in August, September and October. Over the years many camps around North America and the world have tried to replicate what happens at Mt. Hood but it’s never even close and after trying other spots, people always come back to us at Mt. Hood. We consistently have the most snow, biggest and most accessible snowfields, and the most sunshine. It’s almost too obvious.
What should you expect? Pure joy. Brandon Cocard. Photo: Greg Fuery
What changes can we expect for this summer? Should kids who’ve already signed up for camp be concerned?
Campers who’ve already signed up will be stoked because the camp they signed up for won’t change except that HCSC campers will have structured access to skate and explore Windells’ amazing campus while Windells campers will have access to the 22’ SuperPipe and Lap Park. HCSC and its Main Park will always be 100% snowboarding!
What’s the vision, will HCSC continue to operate in Gov’y and Windells in Welches?
Our vision is to provide the best camps in the world. Our campers range from 7 year-old groms to 65 year-old doctors so as we work toward the future our campers’ needs and experience will always drive those decisions. With that said, Govy will play a crucial role with HCSC for years to come as it’s only 10 minutes from the snow. Windells also owns 53 acres of land that is poised for development. The future is bright and the possibilities are endless!
Want access to this? Go to either camp and you’ve got it.
Who will be the official owner of this new-found super camp? What will it be called?
We Are Camp, LLC is going to be the official parent company which will be owned 50/50 by Windells and HCSC. More than just a name on lawyer papers, it’s statement in and of itself in that Windells and HCSC have been providing snowboard and ski camps longer than any other camp in the world. When people in skiing or snowboarding talk about going to “Camp,” they are referring to HCSC and Windells. We are it and it’s as simple as that.
Tim, will you remain involved on any level? If not, what’s your plan?
Kevin will go forward as CEO and I will be on the board of directors for We Are Camp. I intend to work on a consulting basis for at least a year and I am sure I will continue to work with the Gateway Parks projects that will be launching on-snow urban terrain parks in Chicago, Indianapolis, Brooklyn, Toronto and another in Boise Idaho next year. Both brands will be discussing programming for these parks in the months ahead.
You’ll have to share the 22′ pipe with skiers, but who cares? Luke Mitrani p Eddy Densow
Will the staff be condensed?
No. We don’t have any plans to condense staff. Windells and HCSC both have such tremendous staff and managers that it would be foolish to just start hacking. The staff provides the experience and culture unique to each camp. Without them, people may as well just go to a ski resort.
Most importantly, how will you handle the skiers?
Skiers are a huge part of the Windells business and Windells has done such an amazing job with the ski camps. Windells practically invented the free ski camp category back in 1998 and you can see results of that program in Olympic medalist Nick Geopper who is a Windells Academy Alumni. It’s amazing. So Windells Camp will push even harder on the ski camps to provide, hands-down, the very best freeski camp in the world. For High Cascade, HCSC has never done skiing because HCSC owners and management are passionate life-long snowboarders. It’s never been about not like something (skiing); it’s about loving something else (snowboarding). And passion is the key to any of this.
Hooray for summer camp! Dylan Thompson, photo Erik Hoffman.