Living in the heart of the current mecca of snowboarding Summit County we have a lot of advantages that most riders don’t. Our resort season typically starts in early to mid October and ends the first week of June. Even during a bad snow year, it’s above average compared to most other places. Once the summer hits there’s still patches of snow we can get to relatively easy to get our shred on! And now we have the Woodward at Copper training facility. So what happens when two snowboard bums clinging to their late twenties embark on an adventure to progress their riding abilities?
The idea to hit Woodward came about when Darren said he had that bad itch we all get when we have to shred. After a couple days of debate, he booked us the One Hit Wonder training and followed it up with the Drop In session . Total cost for the two session was $90.75. Not bad seeing as we banged out the mandatory training and then got close to two hours to try out some stuff. Darren had this to say about the cost of everything, ” First of all, I gotta get this off my chest. Woodward was the best and most fun $90 I have spent in a while. Even better than that one time I hired a driver to drive me around Breckenridge for 30 minutes.” Plus for future sessions we’re all set and won’t need to retake the training class.
Our training class was filled with five people ranging in age from 13 to 38 and Eric our instructor was on the ball with both terminology and training. The basic run down is you start off with some stretches to get yourself loosened up for a quick break down in simple gymnastic principles. After that you head over to the trampoline to practice a few different falling down positions and then huck yourself into the foam pits. The final section is showing you the fundamentals of riding on snow flex. So first you start by doing the falling leaf on the jib line to get a feel of what it’s like and work on your drop in, then you work your way up to the smaller drop in for the jump line. The whole time the instructor Eric was giving us pointers on how we should drop in or adjust our body posture. This whole class takes an hour and forty five minutes but is well worth it to get these fundamentals on lock. If you’re trying to avoid being grouped with kids hit up the earlier class at 2 p.m. on a weekday.
Snowflex is a lot like riding really grippy spring snow. It’s definitely a very different texture to ride on and takes a little bit of adjust-ability. Our instructor told us that it typically takes people a session or two before they grasp how to ride it. I’m not going to lie I ate shit on it while doing the falling leaf, luckily I was wearing snowboard pants and a long sleeve. The older guys in the One-Hit Wonder class after us didn’t fair as well in their t-shirts and lack of gloves. Don’t worry about tuning your gear though you’re going to be pointing it at whatever feature you want to hit, but if you do need an added boost squirt some water on your base.
After the class had wrapped there was a fifteen minute break before the Drop In session began at 4 p.m. After drinking some water and cooling down it was game time. The deal between the two of us was whoever lands a Rodeo first has to buy the other one dinner. With this in mind I set out to send it hard from the get go of our session on the big jump, while Darren hit up the trampolines to work on spins and perfect his air awareness. But we both had the mind set of whatever we were working on that we had to send it hard!
Let me tell you that standing three stories up in the air on one of the steepest in runs I’ve ever been on has a level of trepidation I haven’t experienced before, add to the mix the fact I ate shit just slide slipping it to get the feel the first time I rode down the slope. In a situation like this lots of things go through your head, but knowing that I was landing in possibly one of the safest environments for this type of training I just pointed it and went. Straight lined it and popped and threw a bs shifty and collapsed into the pit. The spotter threw me the rope and I climbed out. That’s one thing you will notice is that there’s spotters for everything to make sure the flow is going smoothly and that you’re being safe. After climbing out Colin was able to give me a few pointers and asked me what I was going for next. I told him an underflip. Now it’s been probably 12 years since the last time I even attempted an underflip off a crudely built kicker in a hidden area of Holiday Valley Ski Resort. Needless to say I ran up the numerous stairs and strapped in, practiced the way I was going to drop my shoulder,counted to three, and dropped in. As I hit the lip of the jump I closed my eyes dropped my front shoulder back and let gravity do its work. When I opened my eyes I was in the foam pit and Colin was telling me I almost had it. He then proceeded to give me a few more pointers on how to better drop my shoulder and where to grab to stabilize myself.
Meanwhile Darren was killing it on the trampolines, practicing spins into the quadruple digits. The beauty of this place is that you aren’t limited on just one way to train. For some trampoline training helps build awareness, while with others they’re more apt to take the head first approach and dive right into shredding the snow flex. As I had climbed back up to the top of the drop ramp I bore witness to Darren and some kids sending it from the trampoline into the foam pit, doubles were thrown down hard. It was this second attempt at an underflip that everything clicked for me and as I dropped in and pointed it I realized I had this. Coming off the lip I dropped my front shoulder, grabbed melon, spotted my landing and brought it around and poof blue foam blocks exploded but I had landed it on my feet. Not bad for a guy who is going to be turning 27 later this year.
At this point it became evident that the general vibe of the place is to have fun. There were no attitudes, people hating, or any general disrespect. Everyone was there to just have a good time. Darren mentioned to me on the car ride home, “The best thing about this place, we’re all here for the same reason: to get better. There’s no hating. Doesn’t matter if you’re working on some dub rodeo or just trying to get that notion of being in the air down: it’s all straight. Everyone is helping each other out.”
If you’re in Colorado this winter or you live here I highly recommend this place to anyone. I haven’t had this big a smile while trying new stuff in such a long time. Don’t stress about the age factor either as my partner in crime says “If you’re the 10-year-old with Olympic hopes or some washed up 27-year-old trying to learn a few tricks, Woodward is the ticket my friends.” Sorry for the lack of photos at this time but there should be some video coming soon enough.