So I went up and camped out at Mt. Hood last week. It was 105 degrees in Portland and I was all, “I’m gettin’ outta this heat! But thanks to the greenhouse effect, the mountain itself was damn hot, too. In fact, a weird warm breeze melted several feet off the huge quarterpipe High Cascade built for the Abominable Snow Jam—and that happened at night! But anyway, it was cooler than 105 degrees, so I really couldn’t complain—or if I did, it was probably about the mosquitoes, which Portland doesn’t have, but it has the heat, so it’s kinda a catch 22.

Now, I camped out at Trillium Lake, where a number of other industry folk were posted up, including the likes of Joel Muzzey (formerly of Snowboarder fame and currently of Forum boot designer fame). I know he was there because I saw him peering into the woods by the light of his headlights late one night searching for firewood. Anyway, Trillium is just down the road from the base of Timberline. It’s a sweet swim spot with a bitchin dock and packed campground. The temperatures were such that directly after the ASJ QP contest, half the competitors went straight to Trillium to cool off their carcasses. It was great. And being there reminded me of back in the day when I drove out to Hood from Colorado to shred the glacier. We crashed on the HCSC digger house floor and swam in Trillium Lake every day in place of showering. Good times!

As I was wandering down memory lane, it occurred to me how lucky we are to have fond summercamp memories to look back on. Not everyone in the world does, and I’d like to think I’ll be mining those golden memory nuggets well into my 80s and 90s. The next day at the ASJ halfpipe contest, announcer Mark Sullivan further enabled this train of thought when he started reminiscing about his own summer snowboard camp experience, yapping all about how Midwest legend Dale Rehberg was in his group and Chris Pappas was their coach, et cetera, et cetera.

I started thinking about how every single pro rider at that contest—with the possible exception of some of the Euros—had back-in-the-day memories of snowboard camp awesomeness to treasure for eternity. Waking up day after day to a glorious Oregon morning, riding for hours in the sun and trying new tricks—not giving a shit if you fell ’cause nothing hurts in the slush! Napping off the riding session and then jumping in a lake to get revitalized. Ice cream. Junk food. All the good stuff. Some of the younger riders like Pat Moore and Mason Aguirre probably even had some of the more “mature competitors like Chad Otterstrom as coaches. So awesome.

My point is that if you haven’t already, you better get yer ass to snowboard camp, and soon, because there’ll be a time in your life when you’re old, when your back hurts or your life sucks or you’re forced to live somewhere awful with no mountains to ride within hours. And you will need your precious summer snowboard camp memories just to make it through the dull parade of days. There—tangent over.