The arm cast can’t be a good sign.
“Broke it Monday,” says Iowa’s Mike Harris, 22. “Two places.”
It was barely a month after the opening of Woodward at Copper, the country’s first indoor ski and snowboard training facility dedicated to park and pipe, and I was testing it out for a story for Skiing magazine. The good news: Harris broke his arm throwing a front flip outside, not here. That he’s here just four days afterward illustrates the facility’s user-friendliness. Now I’m back six months later with my daughter, Brooke, 10, putting her through the program’s paces…
The two-hour One Hit Wonder program starts on tumbling mats, progresses to Fly Bed trampolines, and will then have her launching off giant jumps into a massive foam pit. She’s so excited she can barely contain herself.
A collaboration between Copper Mountain and Camp Woodward, a nationwide action sports training school, the facility is for the aerially challenged in all of us. It’s for those, like me, who thought the chance to throw a flip on skis had long passed us by, and kids like Brooke, who want to learn proper technique from a cadre of world-class coaches.
These dreams are all housed in The Barn, a multimillion dollar, 20,000-square-foot hucking headquarters complete with skateboard features, a 54×22-foot spring floor, six Olympic-grade Flybed trampolines and a 35-foot-long Snowflex ramp that launches Average Aerial Joes into an ego-cushioning foam pit.
While I take a turn at the tramp, an old dog learning new tricks, Brooke joins her group on the spring floor to re-visit the basics of tumbling, learning the hollow body and candlestick roll positions. She practices forward and backward somersaults, tucking her chin, as well as a Nestea Plunge into the foam pit. “Wheeee!” I hear her yell from across the room as she launches in.
Next, it’s tramp time, which she sails off into the same sock-stealing pit.
Finally it’s time to strap on her skis. After two practice glides down an adjacent slope to get the feel for its Astroturf-like texture, she’s at the lip of the small jump – the first of her group to volunteer. Then she pushes off and sails through the air, landing happily below amongst 12,000 nine-inch foam cubes. The coaches throw her a rope to help her climb out and she’s back up top, this time with her skis hanging Grinch-like over the steep slope leading to the biggest jump. My budding Knievel then pushes off again and lands perfectly.
From there, it’s onto a 15-foot cliff jump on the opposite side of the pit, which I have to pry her loose from to return home. And it’s then that I realize she’s learned one of life’s valuable lessons: to air is human…
–Complete Woodward at Copper’s One Hit Wonder program ($69), which qualifies you for two-hour-long Drop-in sessions ($25). All participants must be 8 years or older. Info: www.WoodwardatCopper.com; (866) 534-7444.