Written By: Riley Smith
Photos: Austin Tucker & Riley Smith
This morning I woke up to the crisp air of the beautiful Wasatch mountain range. I found myself giddy; today was going to be a bucket list check-off kind of day. I was going to one of the most famous camps in the country – Woodward. Growing up riding freestyle BMX I would watch videos of people riding these hallowed grounds and would drool.
Woodward Camp has a legacy of producing the best talent in every action sport and gymnastic talent in the past 50 years. It would only make sense to plop one right in the middle the saturated talent hub of Utah. Where else can you sit down at a bar and find yourself chatting with Olympic medalists?
Upon meeting up with my filmer in the parking lot of the Action Sports Hub, I was immediately thrown in to “kid giddy” mode as we watched Nathan Wessel walk into the building. Wessel is the builder and head designer of all of the skatepark facilities at Woodward Park City – not to mention builder of various X Games events, and basically the gnarliest dude on the planet. I would wear out my VHS tapes watching his sections over and over.
We immediately rushed down to the marketing office to meet with Tucker Norred(head of marketing) to get our all-access wristbands, Tucker quickly gave us the day-to-day activities at Woodward. I didn’t hear much as I was already sprinting halfway out the door to meet up with a Mountain Bike clinic coached by Canyon Jones (Fezzari Bikes Pro). Jones had one advanced student named Austin; they were headed directly up to the black diamond run called the Spiral Jetty.
Watching the interactions between coach and student was interesting: one moment they were bobbing their heads to music, next moment they would be talking about approaches to take-offs on the trail. It sent me back to when I was a kid trying to learn the in and outs of riding – it was just me and my buddy Kyle in the woods of Prescott Arizona throwing ourselves at everything in hopes to land 2 wheels down. I was becoming simply jealous.
Having an experienced coach handing down tips to a new generation is a safe controlled environment is a key to Woodward’s success. It’s all about calculated risk. Each camper gets every step of progression placed at their feet and at Woodward they are given a hand up to that next step to as far as they want to take, it’s up to the camper themselves.
We watched Austin and Canyon skid and jump their way down Spiral Jetty throughout the morning, each run getting to see Austin push himself through another jump. Then getting coached on the ride back up the lift to prepare for the next jump. It was fun to witness.
The outdoor facilities were a wide range of skateparks, pump tracks, all levels of mountain bike trails, and dirt jumps, it was hard to even want to be inside, but I wanted the full day camp experience so we went to explore the gymnastics side of camp.
Inside the Action Sports hub, kids were pulling amazing stunts. One young camper completed a series of back handsprings and then did a “flippty-do” (gymnastic terms are not part of my vocabulary) into one of the many foam pits. It was incredible to witness. My BMX riding background doesn’t include gymnastics. It was mostly just trying to double bounce friends off the trampoline. Instead, these young campers are learning advanced body control movements from experts in a safe, controlled environment.
After a quick lunch break, we met up with GT BMX pro Tate Roskelley to ride the Central Plaza and the W plaza. After an impromptu bunnyhop high jump session, campers started to break out their shells and interacted with Tate, taking photos and getting tips on his signature moves.
Nowhere else but at Woodward Camp do you get the opportunity to not only meet your hero’s but enjoy your shared passions together.
To put it lightly we had an amazing experience at Woodward Park City, and we only scratched the surface!
Woodward host a range of clinics from group lessons, private lessons, and weekend programs going into Fall.
Private lessons are available in all the sports and activities offered at Woodward Park City. Individuals can sign up for 1-hour private lesson. All abilities for ages 3 and up are welcome. Have a favorite coach? Woodward will do their best to accommodate. Private lessons can also be arranged for a group or family of up to 5 people.
Woodward Weekend Programs are for athletes of all ability levels, who want to consistently progress their skills throughout the summer. Mountain Bike and Multi-Sport programs are available in the summer, both of which include instruction outside on the trails and parks as well as inside the Action Sports Hub. Multi-Sport students engage in activities such as trampolines, parkour, skateboard, scooter and BMX. To ensure the best progression experience possible, groups are based on age and ability with the same professional Woodward Coach each day.
Woodward has group lessons of 1 hour and 3 hours. Try out a new sport, explore Woodward Park City facilities and terrain, or just have a ton of fun! Lessons are designed for ages 6-adult is every range of sports Woodward has to offer.
Progression is the name of the game up at Woodward Park City get up there and enjoy it!
Check out the video below we made from our day at Woodward Park City below!