The Pacific Northwest is one of the best-hidden treasures in the United States. From Montana to the coast, there are a wide variety of outdoor things to do, but what sets it apart from everywhere else is having a mountain range penetrating through major cities. That is always a recipe for incredible street obstacle terrain. Cities like San Francisco and Portland have gigantic differences in elevation from one area to another. Because of that, concrete usually can be found filling in large gaps creating glorious spots.
Furthermore, arguably some of the best concrete skateparks in the world can be found hidden in these cities. There are roughly 100 skateparks within a two-hour drive of downtown Portland. Half of those skateparks are custom-created concrete jungles that have creative lines unlike any other skatepark in the world. And if you’re standing downtown, you have five skateparks within a 20-minute drive, including the Mecca that is Burnside and, my favorite, Tigard.
I haven’t gotten to what really makes this part of the world stand apart. About 45 minutes outside of Portland stands “the most likely of all volcanoes to erupt in Oregon”: Mt. Hood. It’s the highest of all mountains in Oregon, and its elevation makes it a perfect spot for a ski resort. But this isn’t just any ski resort: It’s the only place in the continental U.S. where you can ski and snowboard year-round.
Because of this anomaly, Mt. Hood is a bucket list area for the die-hards out there. It is easy to immerse yourself in the area and find things to do, but there is an incredible camp that is available to help you get the full potential out of your Northwest trip.
Windells is the name of the campus that burrowed at the base of Mt. Hood, just out of reach of the majority of the snowfall. The property boasts mythological concrete snake runs and one of the only indoor skate facilities in the area. It also has a full-on BMX and mountain bike single track course, for those interested. But what is truly remarkable is you can come to the campus for the week and train with the best skiers and snowboarders in the world. High Cascade Snowboard Camp and Windells ski and skateboard camp have access to a large section of the mountain and have one of the more advanced courses on the planet. In fact, they have one of the only 22-foot official Olympic-sized halfpipes in the country. If being cold isn’t your thing, they offer skateboard camps where locals take enrollees to hidden spots and help the kids develop action sports and life skills. I was lucky enough to pass through campus with X Games medalist Mykel Larrin, and we shot a few photos and videos for this article. Thank you Drake at Windells for the hospitality. CHeck out the videos here and the photo gallery below:
A lot of the winter action sports Olympians have coached or attended camp. Sessions start in mid June through July. Skateboard camps are available from mid June through August. You can also get private lessons and access; just contact the office for information. If you truly think you want to try action sports as a career, Windells offers an academy. Since 2008 students have committed to getting their education and instruction through the academy. Students live on campus and range from middle school through high school. The curriculum specializes in action sports, with another option focused on aviation. One could easily learn a trade, get better at their respective discipline, and obtain a high school education. This is an unbelievable opportunity for anyone interested in devoting his or her life to a passion.