Friday is quickly becoming a day I look increasingly more forward to with each week, as besides the obvious factor of it being the last day of the modern work week, I have really enjoyed putting together “Throwback Fridays.” While previous weeks have served more as just a time to dig up old, sometimes funny, moments from skiing, this week in honor of summer I want to take a moment to dedicate this edition to High North Ski Camp.
Before the trifecta of Windells, Momentum Ski Camps, and Camp of Champions took over the summer ski camp scene, High North Ski Camp essentially ruled the Whistler glacier. Smaller in size than most ski camps, High North was run by the ski legend Shane Szocs and his wife Amanda. These two, along with the entire staff, ensured that every camper had the time of their lives, and limited their camp to roughly 60 campers per week. The extra attention, combined with the best coaches and pros, made High North one of the best ski experiences anyone could ever dream of.
Shane and his wife Amanda announced Summer 2007 would be the last summer the camp would operate. The Szocs’, being the caring souls they are, adopted two Ethiopian children, and wanted to settle down to adapt to the changes in their lives. Additionally, they were looking at being forced to significantly increase the price of camp to keep it going at the same level, a price which they felt was too much to charge.
I hold a little bit more of a personal sentiment for the camp, as without the camp, I can pretty much guarantee I would not be the person I am today. I only had the pleasure of attending High North Ski Camp once when I was 16-years-old during the Summer of 2003, but I can confidently say it was one of the best weeks of my life. Growing up in Pittsburgh, I had limited ski options during the winter. My terrain parks weren’t exactly well-built at the time, and the short season combined with my youth made it hard to progress my skiing quickly.
Somehow, I convinced my parents it was a good idea to send me to High North, and found myself in Whistler that summer. After being coached by the likes of Mark Abma, Chris Turpin, Pep Fujas, and Shane himself, my skiing exponentially increased over those 7 days of skiing the Horstman Glacier. I went from tossing sketchy 360s to confidently airing the medium-sized jumps, and even stomped a hideous pencil 720. While the tricks were fun to learn, it was the confidence I gained during the week that sticks with me to this day. High North allowed me to find my true passion, skiing. In turn, skiing has since gone on to not only provide endless amounts of fun, but also multiple jobs, a loving girlfriend, and confidence that transcends beyond the slopes.
So thank you High North, Shane, Amanda, and everyone who enhanced my camp experience, even 7 years after my camp experience I still cherish the memories.