Owner and founder of the summer snowboard destination Camp of Champions in Whistler, B.C., Ken Achenbach, took to Facebook last night to pen a heartfelt letter to snowboarders everywhere about the news of the camps closing. It is a tough day for snowboarding and we offer our condolences and thoughts to a place that has done so much for our culture and sport. The connection to the current news cycle dealing with climate change is real, and we hope we don’t see more of these stories in the future. Read the full letter below. All the best in the future Ken, our sincerest thanks for everything!
“One day seven years ago, when my daughter Kaia was 5 and her sister Caprii was 3, Kaia looked up at me and asked, “Are you the boss of camp?”
“Yes” I replied. “Why?”
She said, “When I’m 25, I’m going to be the boss of camp.”
Creating and running COC was the job I was born to do. My dream was running COC until I was 100, but since that day, my dream changed to running COC until Kaia was 25 and then watching her and her sister carry on my tradition, be the bosses of camp and help snowboarders and skiers live their dreams. I wanted camp to be like Mt. Baker. A multi-generational experience that is second to none.
On May 31st, we received an email from Whistler Blackcomb stating, “It may look like there is plenty of snow to use on the glacier but in reality this season’s snow pack is not very dense and is full of air. When this snow gets moved and the air escapes it makes for much less snow than meets the eye. Keeping snow on the glacier will prevent melt, therefore regulating jump size is very important.”
Once I received this email, I knew that we weren’t going to have enough snow to build the park we’ve been promising everyone all winter. Whistler Blackcomb never said, “There is less snow than meets the eye” before, even in the worst of the drought years. The predicament I find myself in is nature’s fault, not Whistler Blackcomb’s. This year’s snow pack is less dense than usual because we enjoyed such a long cold winter. We didn’t get the wet cement spring snow that builds the snow pack we count on. During the snow drought years of 2014 and 2015 we started with more snow than we have now and barely made it through two weeks. For 2017, there isn’t enough snow to build intermediate or expert sized jumps. A huge portion of our campers are intermediate / expert level riders, and a park without those features will leave them unsatisfied. It wouldn’t have lasted to the end of the camp season either.
You say to yourself, “Whistler just had an amazing year! How is this possible?”
Every year, the final pitch of the Horstman T-Bar shrinks more and more making it harder and harder for Whistler Blackcomb to maintain. The giant pile of snow connecting the glacier to the top of the lift and the glacier itself is melting….