The Outside: Obvious, I know, but until you find yourself in the mountains of Oregon walking down the narrow pathway to breakfast with greenery spurting out on either side and that sharp morning smell of the wild forest in your nose do you realize that everyday life just isn’t like this—at least for most people. Then the fact that the rest of your day is spent doing things outside—because there just isn’t anything to do inside here—like swimming at Lake Trillium, hiking to waterfalls, skateboarding (both Windell’s and High Cascade have amazing skate facilities), trampoline jumping, mountain biking, and oh, yeah, snowboarding. I mean, it stays light out until at least ten o’clock here, so don’t think an entire day of riding is enough outdoor activity. You’re doubling and tripling up on activities until you fall asleep unshowered and exhausted, just to wake up and do it all again.

The same old empty questions asked again and again: The Oregon summer camps are reunion time for pro snowboarders from around the world, and they’re rivaled only by tradeshows in the amount of empty questions asked in the interest of industry small talk. When did you get into town? How long are you here for? Where are you staying? Sure, people are curious about this stuff, but they’re more or less just trying to make conversation—which is the way it goes with small talk—but for some reason it’s particularly repetitive here at Mt. Hood, because you might have the same conversation upwards of ten times on a short walk through Government Camp. However, instead of being annoying, it’s actually kind of comforting, like the happy routine of answering the same old twenty questions on a visit to your grandparents’ house.

The snowboarding: Yeah, I said it, the snowboarding. The public park at Timberline gets better every year, and the camps have this summer riding thing down to a science: rake, salt, set, shred. Get out there early for a mellow superpipe session or spend the day hiking that one rail you can’t master with a grim look of determination. Do whatever you want, ’cause there’s no pressure to do anything else. It’s summer—and you’re snowboarding!