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head-to-hood

The latest collaboartion between Windells and High Cascade offers new options for park shredders - and for their parents.

Young snowboarders and skiers who love to shred the parks will have a whole new opportunity for improvement on Mount Hood this winter as High Cascade Snowboard Camp and Windells launch a new "Head to Hood" weekend freestyle program for riders 10-17 years old.

The program will run for 10 weeks from January through March at Timberline's terrain parks, with one-day and two-day options and add-ons including transportation from the new evo store in Portland, participation in Mt. Hood Series freestyle events, overnight lodging and access to the big skateboard and trampoline parks at Windells.

High Cascade founder John Ingersoll says he has been wanting to run a winter program like Head to Hood for a long time. Ingersoll founded High Cascade's now-famous summer snowboarding camp on Mount Hood in 1989, sold it to Van's in 1999-2000, then partnered with Kevin English to buy it back in 2005. In between stints with High Cascade, from 2002-2004, Ingersoll was recruited by the Mount Bachelor Ski Education Foundation to build up a winter snowboarding program for local kids, and it proved a big success.

"We grew from 15 kids to 120 to 140," says Ingersoll. "And that was with a population base of 80,000 in Bend. I always wondered why there wasn't a program like this in Portland."

Now there is. Parents will be able to drop off their kids at the new evo store in Portland Saturday morning and pick them up Sunday evening after a fun weekend riding park and learning new tricks up at Timberline and down at the 13,000-square-foot "Building Out Back" or BOB at Windells, with its skate park, trampoline and foam pit. Riders will be split up by age and ability into groups of 5-7 athletes per coach for skill development, video analysis and optional competitions. Ingersoll has started recruiting coaches and will grow his staff depending on how many people sign up.

Head to Hood is the latest collaboration between two former Mount Hood rivals. After 25 years of competing for summer campers, High Cascade and Windells merged to form We Are Camp in April of 2014, giving more campers access to the High Cascade Superpipe and the Windells skate park. The move came as a surprise to many people because High Cascade has always been for snowboarders only, whereas Windells opened up to freeskiers a few years ago, and both camps were competing to be king of the Hood for the young freestyle riders who flock to Oregon in summer. The timing of the merger announcement on April Fool's Day created extra buzz online because of all the speculation as to whether the story was true or false. Responses via social media and comment sections ranged from "Sounds amazing" to "I'll believe it when I see it."

But the merger was and is for real, and it seemed to work out fine during the 2014 summer shred season. Now it is enabling Ingersoll and his team to bring in both boarders and skiers for for Year One of Head to Hood— and to offer them more options, since the retainer wall between snowboarders and skiers has been crumbling for a while and for many young freeriders the wall no longer exists.

Ingersoll, still a hard-core rider at age 60, says the goal for Head to Hood is to "provide an awesome coaching program for riders to improve their freestyle skills - and to improve their lives... We think it is special and know it is comprehensive.”

The mission statement of We Are Camp is to improve and change lives through skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and all activities and programs.

Head to Hood is for youth riders and skiers with intermediate or advanced skills. It is not a program for beginners. Prices range from $400 for a one-day-per-week five-week session to $1,525 for Saturdays and Sundays for all 10 weeks. For more details about the Head to Hood program, click here.

Here is a slideshow from Conway, one of the Timberline parks where Head to Hood riders will work on their skills and develop new tricks:

And here's a video of Olympic gold medalist Sage Kotsenburg and friends capturing the spirit of a fun High Cascade camp on Mount Hood:

HCSC 2014: Session One Recap from High Cascade Snowboard Camp on Vimeo.