DONNER SUMMIT, Calif. — The first thing that grabs your attention inside Woodward Tahoe is the sheer expanse of space — like a tee-baller setting foot in a big-league ballpark for the first time.
If it weren't for all the ramps — and foam pits, trampolines, a full-size cheer floor and digital media center, among other amenities — the colossal interior could probably house a 747 jet or two.
“This building is the biggest of all of the Woodward facilities,” said Jon Slaughter, marketing director at Boreal Mountain Resort, where Woodward Tahoe is located.
It's not hard to believe.
The latest to join the Camp Woodward family, which prides itself as a long-recognized leader in the progression of action sports, Woodward Tahoe boasts 33,000 square feet of space within its walls. That's larger than Woodward at Copper in Colorado, which is 27,000 square feet, Slaughter said.
The Woodward center in Colorado was the first ski- and snowboard-specific site when it opened in 2009. But the company has been around much longer. The original Camp Woodward near State College, Pa., which is now called Woodward East, opened in 1970 and specialized in gymnastics.
There are now a handful of Woodward sites, including one in Tehachapi, Calif., Wisconsin and even Beijing. And there may be more in the future, as Woodward sold in 2011 to Powdr Corp, which owns Boreal and eight other resorts across the country. The ski giant has expressed interest in opening additional Woodward camps at its other resorts.
Slaughter said the Boreal crew recently took a trip out to Woodward East to get a feel for the camp.
“We just checked it out to see what the vibe is all about,” he said. “It's hard to explain it to anybody, so we had to see it first hand.”
Unlike the Woodward at Copper site, which uses an artificial ski surface called Snowflex for its ramps, Woodward Tahoe's ramps are built out of a composite material called Skatelite, said Slaughter, explaining that the learning curve is quicker with the Skatelite. The hard surface, which is commonly used for skateboard ramps, requires the use of special skis and snowboards with wheels built in.
Woodward Tahoe, which is still under construction, will offer summer camps for snowboard, ski, skate, BMX and cheer/gymnastics training, as well as on-site lodging at the Boreal Inn. The first camp is slated to begin June 10.
In addition to the indoor features, which include six tiered Olympic-size trampolines and a 14-by-14-foot mega-tramp, as well as multi-use quarterpipes and ramps scattered throughout, the Woodward Tahoe campus will feature an on-snow terrain park for the first five weekly sessions. The last four weeks of the camp will be held inside the giant new building, called “The Bunker,” Slaughter said.
Once the nine weeks of camp are complete, Woodward Tahoe will open its doors to the public, offering season passes or day tickets.
“We're going to see some Tahoe talent coming out of here, for sure,” said Slaughter, adding that he expects mostly regional campers the first year, from Reno to the Bay Area — although Woodward East and Woodward at Copper draw from all over the world, he said.
For more information about Woodward Tahoe and its camps, visit www.woodwardtahoe.com.