Whistler, BC – In the year that Whistler Blackcomb has celebrated their 50th anniversary, Momentum Camps will keep the festivities going by marking their 25th anniversary when the summer ski season opens on June 11th. Run by husband and wife team John and Julia Smart, both former Olympians, the camp started in 1992, the year Mogul skiing was first added to the Olympics.
Smart says, “While I was competing on World Cup, I was working for another camp in the summer as a coach but was encouraged by my World Cup friends to start my own camp with the aim of bringing together the world’s best mogul skiers as coaches.”
Launched as ‘Smart Mogul Skiing’, the first summer saw 43 skiers attend over 3 weeks. 25 years later the camp has gone from strength to strength and now hosts upwards of 800 skiers over a 5 week period, welcoming people of all ages from around the world. In 1999 a winter programme was added and over the years, the name morphed to ‘SMS Camps’ and then to ‘Momentum Camps’ in 2004.
Smart says, ‘I attribute our longevity in the game to staying open to change and always growing with the sport. Our passion for the sport has also never died and we are truly motivated each year to give the kids their best summer ever. Having the top skiers in the world as coaches inevitably means we can stay on the frontlines of the sport. We listen to our coaches and try to provide a training facility that meets the ever-changing needs of today’s skiers.”
In 1997 one of Momentum’s mogul coaches Mike Douglas was instrumental in adding a new component to the program when Momentum became the first camp to build and offer terrain park features for skiers. With the ensuing explosion in ‘new school’ skiing, Momentum has stayed at the cutting edge of the sport, providing training in slopestyle and halfpipe skiing as they evolved to where they are today as two new Olympic Disciplines.
Smart says, “The camp’s formula has always stayed the same: Hire the world’s best freestyle skiers as coaches to mentor, inspire and teach the next generation. What is great about being around so long is that we have been able to share in the successes of so many of our campers and hire them back as a coach to inspire the next generation!“
Olympic Silver Medalist Mike Riddle is a former camper and now long time coach with Momentum. He says, “Coming to summer camp for the first time was the best experience ever. I initially went to SMS mogul camp in 2002 and I’ve wanted to spend every summer on the glacier ever since. I’ve made many lifelong friends from my years on the Whistler glacier and wouldn’t be where I am today without those experiences. I chose Momentum because they had all the worlds best skiers and my role models on the coaching roster and I was so stoked to ski with them. “
Mike has really enjoyed his experience as a coach also: ”I want to try to give back and pass on the stoke to the kids coming up. Summer camp was such a huge part of my ski career and even my life so I definitely have just as much fun being on the other side of camp (coach vs. camper), if not more!”
Momentum has an impressive roster of former campers who have gone on to achieve great success in the sport and come back to coach. Olympic medalists such as Joss Christiansen, Dara Howell and Mike Riddle on the park and pipe side and two-time Gold medalist Alex Bilodeau and World Champion Kristi Richards on the moguls side. Other camper greats who have come back to coach include James Woods, Phil Casabon, Matt Margetts, Riley Leboe, Rory Bushfield, Alexi Godbout, Roz Groenewoud, and many more. Olympic Medalists Dale Begg-Smith, Jen Heil, and Shannon Bahrke were all former campers as well as other top names Mark Abma, Ingrid Backstrom, Greta Eliasson, Kye Petersen, Nick Martini and the list goes on…Other Olympians who will be coaching this summer include Mik Kingsbury, Phil Marquis, Gus Kenworthy, Kim Lamarre and Nick Goepper.
Pro Skier Mark Abma attended camp for 3 years starting when he was 15 and says: “Summer Camp was an opportunity for me to have a great time, meanwhile get coached by the skiers that I looked up to. Having the opportunity to hang out with the best skiers in the world at that age definitely inspired me to want to live the same life.”
The camp has continually evolved over the years adding a popular Girls Week in 2011, headed up by long time camper and coach Sarah Burke. Burke is remembered and honoured each year through the camp’s ‘Spirit of Sarah Scholarship’, whereby a free camp is given to one young up and coming female skier in memory of Sarah, who died in a tragic accident in 2012. 14-year-old Megan Oldham from Parry Sound Ontario was recently announced as this year’s recipient.
Momentum Exposure Film + Photo camp was added in 2012, tapping into the growing passion for filmmaking + photography amongst young skiers. Coaches have included ace photographer Blake Jorgensen and top professional filmers, such as Poor Boyz’ Johnny Decesare, Level 1’s Josh Berman, and Voleurz’ Darren Rayner. This year Nick Martini from Stept Productions joins the team along with Tyler Hamlet from Poor Boyz.
Based in Whistler, BC the camp enjoys the best summer ski conditions in North America high on the Horstman Glacier. With Whistler Blackcomb’s forward thinking approach and new snowmaking on the glacier, they are excited to continue training the champions of the future.
Summer sessions 2016 will run from June 10 – July 18th. Full details at www.momentumcamps.com
This post is also available in: French