Freestyle athletes can hit the slopes in Colorado even in the summertime, thanks to Copper Mountain. The ski area has brought Colorado onto the summer training scene with Woodward, an indoor/outdoor ski-and-snowboard training center.
The jumps and rails of the resort’s Catalyst Terrain Park are covered with snow and with athletes, even though wildflowers are blooming just a few steps away. The indoor facility is also busy with dozens of skiers and riders of all levels, from beginner to pro. And that’s grabbing global attention from the current and future leaders of the sport.
Now in its second year, Woodward is expected to serve a total of 450 campers this summer — triple the number that used the facility during the 2009 summer camps. Since its opening in February 2009, almost 10,000 people have developed their skills at Woodward for a total of about 25,000 sessions. The average age of a Woodward guest is 15, but the training center has hosted guests from 8 to 53.
Woodward at Copper is an off-shoot of the original Camp Woodward, located in Pennsylvania, it is a state-of-the-art training center known worldwide in gymnastics circles. Top-level snowboarders have been taking advantage of Camp Woodward’s foam pits, tumbling strips, spotting belts and trampolines for years. With the opening of the Copper location, athletes can now train in the gym and on the slopes in one location.
The 35-foot-tall indoor jump replicates the largest jump in Catalyst Terrain Park. But instead of landing on snow, athletes gently plop down into a pit of thousands of bright blue foam cubes. Launching tricks into the pits and on trampolines before taking them to snow gives athletes a head start on critical aerial awareness and timing. This changes the learning process from “the huck-and-hope method” to a safe progression that begins with fundamentals and builds from there.