- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Camps
- Published: April 01, 2014
Kevin English swears he wasn't trying to mislead anyone by announcing an unexpected strategic partnership between longtime rivals High Cascade Snowboard Camp and Windells Camp on April Fools Day.
"It's genuine," English said in a telephone interview on April 1. "We're not misrepresenting anything... We've been talking about this for years. We finally got around to agreeing to terms, and we thought it would be pretty hilarious to announce it on April Fools Day."
The announcement explained that High Cascade and Windells, the two major summer freestyle shred camps on Mount Hood, will collaborate under the umbrella of a new company, We Are Camp, LLC, with High Cascade President Kevin English serving as CEO of the new business. Starting this summer the combined camps will offer campers access to "three terrain parks, Oregon’s best indoor and outdoor skate parks, two high-speed quad chairlifts, four surface tows, four BagJumps, two mini-pipes, and North America’s only Olympic-sized 22’ Summer Superpipe."
The announcement came as a surprise to many in the freestyle community. High Cascade serves snowboarders only and is based in Government Camp on the mountain, while Windells is based down in Welches and also welcomes skiers. The two camps have been in healthy competition with each other for years, but they have a lot in common in terms of what they offer, how much they charge, what they need to succeed and who their customers are.
English emphasized that the partnership is not a buy-out. Windells and High Cascade, which have been in business for a combined 53 years, will each be 50-percent owners of We Are Camp, and they will continue to keep their company finances and structures separate and independent. The deal came together without any new money from outside sources, English said. "It's all about capitalizing on the synergies of working together, and I believe those synergies will be significant."
"Tim and I have talked a lot about how we can fight it out against each other, or we can combine to provide a better camp."
Tim Windell, the former world champion snowboarder who famously turned a run-down motel off Highway 26 into "the funnest place on earth" for snowboarders, skiers, skateboarders and BMX bikers, said in a prepared statement that “combining the two camps has been a dream of mine since 2003.“
The deal also involves Windells Academy, a school for talented action sports athletes such as Olympic bronze medalist Nick Goepper.
The partnership could lower insurance rates for High Cascade and Windells. It should also help them to compete with their biggest foe, Woodward Camp, which is owned by the ski industry behemoth Powdr Corp and runs large action sports camps in Pennsylvania, Colorado, California and China. Between the amenities of the Windells empire in Welches, the fun vibe of the High Cascade experience in Govy and the two miles of shreddable terrain on the mountain, both camps will have plenty to market to young shredders and families trying to choose between Oregon and other locations.
"In the end the best experience will always win," said English. "And I am confident that the best experience is on Mount Hood.
"Mount Hood is unique to the world in terms of accessibility and the amount of terrain that's available in the summer. Combine that with the sunshine you get here in the summertime and it's unbeatable."
The timing of the announcement on April Fool's Day created extra buzz online because of all the speculation as to whether the story was true or false. Most people didn't seem to believe it at first. Responses via social media and comment sections ranged from "Sounds amazing" to "I'm gonna have to call bullshit on this," to "I'll believe it when I see it tomorrow."
English said repeatedly on April 1 that the deal is for real, and he followed up with an email to Shred Hood saying, "You have it in writing."
This 46-second YouTube edit from ThirtyTwovideo titled "Shred and Destroy" gives a nice view of the park skills that Windells and High Cascade help summer campers develop.