On a Tuesday morning in late June, the Aspen Valley Ski and Snowboard Clubhouse is bustling with kids. It’s not an unusual scene for one of the Roaring Fork Valley’s largest youth organizations.
But it’s summer, so the tools of the trade are a bit different. A group of young girls is wielding paintbrushes; a posse of teenage boys is decked out head-to-toe in mountain bike gear.
But, over in one corner of the building, the skiers and snowboarders gather. For them, winter is still in season. They have skis and boots, helmets and goggles.
Just down the I-70 corridor, the scene is much the same, as more than 100 kids descend upon Woodward at Copper with their chosen mode of transportation for a week of summer camp: mountain bikes, BMX bikes, scooters and, yes, skis and snowboards.
The reason is simple: Here, in Colorado Ski Country, winter never ends — or at least the games we play on snow (or to ready ourselves for another season of sliding down snow) never really end.
In Aspen, AVSC holds day camps all summer long with skiing and boarding in mind. Up until the most recent weeks, a small strip of snow was pushed and groomed and manicured to perfection on the front side of Buttermilk. Here, young skiers and riders practiced the tricks of their trades, pulling 360s, frontflips and other moves into an air bag — much to the delight of passing motorists, who could catch a glimpse of these antics as they made their daily commute to work.
Now that the snow has melted, the skiing action has moved to the trampoline. A recent Saturday morning saw a handful of kids jumping, twisting and flipping out on the club’s SuperTramp — a 14-by-14 foot canvas of fun (and one of less than 10 such supertramps in the world today).
At Copper Mountain, part of the mountain is still skiable. Like Aspen, the snow-moving crew has created a winter wonderland in the heat of summer by meticulously moving the white stuff around. There are boxes and rails, jumps and a giant air bag for skiers and snowboarders to ply their trade. Under the direction of dozens of coaches, campers — both overnight and day camp options are available for kids ages 8 to 18 — learn “progressions” with their personal end-game always in sight, whether that’s mastering the rainbow rail, conquering a 360 or nailing a backflip.
And when the snow gets too slushy to ski, it’s off to the Barn at Woodward. It’s like AVSC’s SuperTramp times six — and on steroids. There are tramps of all sizes, some with foam pits to flip into, some with pads to bounce off of. There is also an entire indoor pump track and ramp system, where skiers and boarders can strap on parks skis or park boards (think skis/boards on roller blades) and work their way from small ramps to small jumps to huge leaps into foam pits.
In short, it’s an endless winter. And for kids of all ages who just can’t get enough of skiing and boarding, it’s why we live in Colorado.