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Momentum adds snowboard to roster

Long-running camp expanding in 2018

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Momentum Camps director John Smart said adding snowboard camps has been a long time coming.

"People have pushed us to do more and actually run snowboard camps, too, but we've said 'Oh, no, we're not ready for that yet,'" he said with a chuckle.

The long-running camp had a soft opening in 2017 by inviting the Canadian national slopestyle team and the Stratton Mountain Schools snowboard program onto the terrain that was previously ski-only.

"We have to manage the volume, and bringing in teams was the best thing," Smart said. "There are now a bunch of teams that are looking at us that hadn't ever considered us.

"The experience of the Canadian team was really positive and the word got out, and that's helping. We do want to grow that side of the business because teams fit really well into the park that we set up. For that level of ability, the park works really well with them."

Smart said finding additional instructors came fairly simply as many of their coaches on the ski side had immediate suggestions for snowboarders to recruit.

"Most of our coaches already know a lot of these guys. I think that rift between ski and snowboard went away a long time ago and they're already buddies," Smart said. "As a matter of fact, a lot of the pressure I had originally was from coaches saying, 'Come on, help these guys out.'

"When you're in snowboard or ski, when you're at that Olympic level, they're all friends."

Among the athletes who trained at the park last summer was Olympic slopestyle silver medallist Laurie Blouin, who raved about last season's experience up on the Horstman Glacier.

"The weather was perfect and the set-up was just so good. The jumps are really nice. You have different sizes, so that's perfect for learning and there are lots of different rail lines too, so many options," Blouin said in a release.

Smart added the ski and snowboard camps would run concurrently, which he said is preferable.

"It flows really well," he said. "It's easier and safer for us to work with the higher-end teams. They've got experience and they've got structure and they've got a coach. They're aware of flow, and flow in a terrain park is one of the most important things.

"Not only did it work well, it was a great show. The snowboard guys were sending it off the jump and it was great for everyone to watch."

Smart said that Momentum, which welcomed 800 campers last year and hopes to boost that to 900 this year, still has capacity for more athletes. He added the camp might be able to expand its footprint this year, too.

"We have quite a few lanes with a big, wide space up there — six lanes. We've got capacity and that's why we can do this," he said. "We're talking to the mountain about adding another lane to our space, primarily for the snowboard guys, because it's a little flatter pitch.

"It's a lane from another camp (Dave Murray Camps) that used to be there and isn't using it anymore.

"The bigger we can make the camp, the more stuff we can add," he said, noting more people would allow for more airbags and other facilities. "We can do a better job with more people, funnily enough."

This year's camps will run from June 9 to July 17, and Smart is hoping for ideal snow conditions.

"One of our long-term concerns is that we can get more snow-making up there. They've got it going right now for the Horstman T-bar that they finally got open, but if they can keep those guns going, that means a lot to us," Smart said.

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