Diggers have been around as long as there have been snowboard camps, maybe even longer. In the olden days, diggers woke with the sun, rode in horse-drawn buggies up to the mountain, hiked in their tennis shoes up to the camp (boots and chairlifts weren’t invented yet) and then created their own piles of snow and hand dug jumps and halfpipes. Sometimes they would even fashion rudimentary rails from rocks and tree branches that they found.

Ok, so maybe things weren’t that rough, but the art of being a digger has changed over the years. Salt monkeys and snowmobiles have taken some of the grunt work out of the job, but diggers are still some of the most important members of the camp staff. Without them, there would be nothing to ride.

Of course, with such an important profession comes great responsibility. It takes an extra special person to be a digger. And in 2006, if you were to be a digger at Windells Snowboard Camp, your day might go something like this:

6:30 Get up
Diggers must start their day extra early to get every thing done that needs to be done so the campers can have the best on hill experience. But if you’ve had a rough night, sometimes the wake up time will be pushed back until the bus rolls back around about 45 minutes later.

6:45 Breakfast
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so the head down to the mess hall around this time, where they enjoy a fine selection of camp food ranging from eggs to sausage to tater tots. Please note that tater tots can be served for any meal. During this time diggers also make a lunch to bring on hill and make sure they have anything else they will need during the day.

7:23 Head back to the Ark
Diggers at Windells live in the Ark. Like the ship it is named after, the Ark is rather ancient. After the Digger Van leaves camp, it heads back to the homestead to pick up anyone who couldn’t get up for breakfast or collect forgotten items. Once the van leaves the Ark the second time however, there is no going back for any reason.

7:32 Gas up and get Digger Dogs
About 5 minutes up the road from Windells is the Thriftway and gas station. This is a daily stop for the Digger van. Here they get gas for the snowmobiles or the van, as well as purchasing daily supplies for Digger Dogs, which we will discuss in detail later on.

7:48 Drive to the mountain
It is about a 30 minute drive from Windells to the mountain, and it is a perfect time to catch a quick nap. The diggers have a fun game they play when people fall asleep, however. As soon as someone notices that a few people have nodded off, the driver will swerve and slam on the brakes, as everyone else shouts and yells, as if they are about to crash. This will jolt the sleeper awake, and sometimes freak them out (although by mid session everyone has come to expect it.) But “fake crashes are still done at least once per drive.

8:20 Get to the parking lot
After a fun drive, the van pulls into the parking lot of Mt. Hood Timberline. It is here that on this particular day, two members of the digger crew realize they have forgotten their boots. Since they have blown it so hard, the crew decides they must make due with rental boots for the day. This is reminiscent of another digger tradition. If someone passes out in Government Camp the night before, and must be picked up on the way to the mountain in the morning, they must wear the most ridiculous outfit that the rest of the crew can find to bring them that day.

9:03 Arrive at camp
The digger crew rolls into the Windells area around an hour before the campers. This way they have time to set everything up. The first hour of the day is the busiest and hardest, so it takes a few minutes to delegate all the duties. This is also when Dig to Rides are recruited. These are people who don’t have passes to ride the camp, but are willing to help dig to hit the jumps. This can be a pretty sweet deal, but be rewarned, you will be given the bitch jobs such as repositioning boxes and bringing down the trash.

9:11 Salt and rake the pipe, jumps and rails
When they finally get down to business, there is plenty to do. One person, usually the head digger, will ride around on a snowmobile distributing salt and banners throughout the facilities. The others work hard to shape the lips, reset rails that have melted out, and salt everything.

9:37 Lose first layer
After about a half hour, the diggers are working up a serious sweat, so its time to lose a layer. This step in the day can vary depending on the temperature and the amount of work that needs to be done. But according to 2006 assistant head digger Pat Fenelon, it’s all worth it. “It’s sweet because you get to make stuff exactly how you want it. That’s what being a digger is all about.

10:01 Campers arrive
When the campers start to roll in, it means the diggers should be almost done. Sometimes a few obstacles will remain closed as they require some extra TLC, but pretty much, its time for a rest.

10:12 Break time
The diggers finally get to relax, hike back up to the top, drink some water, and admire their handy work.

10:15 Fire up Digger Dogs
Break time doesn’t last long though, because now its time to fire up Digger Dogs. Digger Dogs are a Windells tradition that dates long before any of the current crew has been working at camp. With a portable gas grill, some hot dogs, buns, sodas and condiments, the Windells diggers keep campers full and happy on hill, grilling up hot dogs to order. The 1080 combo is a popular meal choice, consisting of two hot dogs and two sodas for $5. The campers certainly eat their share of Digger Dogs, but it is the diggers themselves who consume the most. An average digger eats at least one hot dog per day, or about 100, per summer, each. That means that over the course of a summer, some 1200 Digger Dogs are consumed by the diggers themselves.

10:15-2:30 Ride, Rake and Regulate
While the campers are enjoying snowboarding, diggers get the chance to ride as well. Truly, diggers have the best job for riding at snowboard camp. Once they have fixed everything up, they get to ride all day, and spend the most time on hill out of everyone. Accordingly, diggers are usually some of the most passionate snowboarders you’ll meet. Don’t think they just slack off all day though. Diggers also help make sure everything stays good and fast, as well as regulating poachers who may try to sneak into camp.

2:30-3:30 Shut down camp
When things start to die down, its time for diggers to get back to serious work. The mountain officially closes at 3:00, so it is their job to kick out any stragglers. Then they take down banners, remove any obstacles that would get in the way of groomers and salt everything, again. They break down all the tents, collect the trash left on hill by campers, look for left bags and jackets, and then organize everything for the next day. After camp is completely shut down, they take one final run all the way to the parking lot.

3:30 Parking lot relaxation sesh
In the parking lot, its time to kick back and take off their boots. The Windells diggers installed a basketball hoop on the back of the van, and some heated sessions of basketball go down, however, they are not very good.

3:45 Digger hate sesh
The parking lot is also a time to debrief on all the haters they have come across that day. Diggers get a lot of flack from other people at the camps, who don’t like the jumps that day or whatever. So there is a daily discussion of who hated that day. The diggers don’t hate back though. The summer of 2006 is all about love.

3:55 Leave the mountain
Eventually, some one takes the initiative to get in the driver’s seat and round everyone else up so they can head down to Gov’y.

4:05 Volcano Cones!
In Gov’y is one of the biggest treats of the day, Volcano Cone. Using their Digger Dog profits, everyone gets an ice cream treat as a reward for a job well done.

4:20 Drive back to Windells
The drive down the mountain usually includes a few more people falling asleep, so accordingly, some fake crashes. The diggers have another tradition of guessing what the temperature on the Dairy Queen light up board will read. On this day it’s 88, and no one guessed it right.

5:00 Nap time
Back at the Ark, its time to rest. There is the obligatory MySpace check, and it’s also a good time to take a nap that won’t be interrupted by a fake crash.

5:45 Dinner
The diggers head back to camp for dinner on most nights, and all sit together at a picnic table in the grass. Dinner is a good example of what being a digger is really about—togetherness. It’s also a good time to give each other flack and enjoy the evening’s fine cuisine.

6:30 Evening recreation
After dinner the diggers will sometimes break apart. Some opt for more old school activities like skating, while others enjoy paintball or video games. For those of age, it may be time for some liquid refreshment, then it’s off to bed, happy and fulfilled. Being a digger is a serious commitment, with 8 days like this a session, but for people who love to shred, there probably isn’t a better way to spend a summer.

To get the photos: you can click the individual link in the right column, or click the Photo link on the left to browse our ever-growing collection of photos. ats of the day, Volcano Cone. Using their Digger Dog profits, everyone gets an ice cream treat as a reward for a job well done.

4:20 Drive back to Windells
The drive down the mountain usually includes a few more people falling asleep, so accordingly, some fake crashes. The diggers have another tradition of guessing what the temperature on the Dairy Queen light up board will read. On this day it’s 88, and no one guessed it right.

5:00 Nap time
Back at the Ark, its time to rest. There is the obligatory MySpace check, and it’s also a good time to take a nap that won’t be interrupted by a fake crash.

5:45 Dinner
The diggers head back to camp for dinner on most nights, and all sit together at a picnic table in the grass. Dinner is a good example of what being a digger is really about—togetherness. It’s also a good time to give each other flack and enjoy the evening’s fine cuisine.

6:30 Evening recreation
After dinner the diggers will sometimes break apart. Some opt for more old school activities like skating, while others enjoy paintball or video games. For those of age, it may be time for some liquid refreshment, then it’s off to bed, happy and fulfilled. Being a digger is a serious commitment, with 8 days like this a session, but for people who love to shred, there probably isn’t a better way to spend a summer.

To get the photos: you can click the individual link in the right column, or click the Photo link on the left to browse our ever-growing collection of photos.