Sponsored by Oregon Business

Windells sports academy flourishes

| Print |  Email
Articles - September 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011

 

0911_Tactics_03
Tim Windell at Mount Hood
// Photo by Craig Mitchelldyer
By Ben Jacklet

It’s 7 a.m. at the “funnest place on earth,” and buses and vans are loading up with kids raring to shred up some mid-summer snow on Mount Hood. A pair of teenage girls wearing snowboard boots are playing tetherball with one hand while holding lunch bags with the other. A pre-teen on a skateboard zips past the “Super Awesome Game Lounge” and tries out a few tricks in the wavy skate park out back. A tall boy jumps up and deposits a short girl’s snowboard on top of the basketball rim and ambles off. When she returns she looks up and laughs. “How’m I supposed to get that down?”

Tim Windell, the 46-year-old former snowboarding champion who built this action sports wonderland out of a trashed motel he bought out of bankruptcy, takes in the scene with a grin. For the third summer in a row, his $1,949-per-week overnight camp is sold out, and his new year-round academy is drawing inquiries from Saudi Arabia to Iceland. Not only did Windells Camp survive the recession, it flourished. Recent purchases include two $56,000 ski lifts and four huge air bags to provide safe landings for outrageous aerial maneuvers.

Windell is quick to point out that his competitors started buying air bags after word got out that he’d bought some. “We lead the way in the industry,” he says.

It’s a short, gorgeous drive from the Windells base camp on Highway 26 to Timberline Lodge. Windells operates a private snow park with an intimidating variety of jumps, half-pipes and rails in a south-facing gully east of the main ski area. To get there you have to ski: not exactly a sacrifice, since there is arguably no better place in the nation to ski in summer than Mount Hood.

Windell has gained weight since his days as champion, but he still rides with easy grace. His newest interest is snow skating. As a youth he tried moguls and backcountry telemarking, and then embraced snowboarding when critics were dismissing it as child’s play. He remembers being hassled by ski patrollers for no apparent reason. “They just didn’t like the fact that we were shredding the powder better than they were,” he says. “Way better.”

After a smooth warm-up run at eye-watering speed, Windell kicks back on the lift and shares a few details from his boarding career. The reason he was able to win consistently on tour was simple, he says. While his competitors treated boarding as an excuse to get hammered in Japan and party all night in Europe, he was focused on winning. He limited his extracurricular activities and trained hard in the summer to get an edge once the season began.

He applies the same ethic to his business. “You have to continually move forward and keep it fresh versus sitting there and being stagnant,” he says. “Since the conception of Windells we’ve always tried to put at least 15% to 20% back into the business, year after year… It has paid off.”



 

More Articles

Downtown flower shop readies for the Valentine's Day rush

The Latest
Monday, February 09, 2015
021015-giffords-thumbBY MEGHAN NOLT

VIDEO: Gifford's Flowers brings family approach to PSU-area shop.


Read more...

The Road to Reinvention

April 2015
Friday, March 27, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN

Damian Smith bets on changing himself — and Portland — through consulting.


Read more...

How Oregon will survive the loss of Hanjin

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT | OB CONTRIBUTOR

"Shipping containers to Portland is like waiting for a bus that travels once a day."


Read more...

10 quotes explaining crisis at Port of Portland

The Latest
Friday, February 20, 2015
022015 port portland OBM-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

The ongoing labor disputes at the Port of Portland came to a head two weeks ago when Hanjin, the container port's largest client, notified its customers it would be ending its direct route to Oregon.


Read more...

4 winners and losers in the Kitzhaber scandal

The Latest
Thursday, February 12, 2015
021315-govorno-thumbBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Examining the governor's rapid fall from grace in a "bizarre" and "unprecedented" saga.


Read more...

That's Not a Watch (This Is a Watch)

February 2015
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Smartwatches are all the rage. But old-fashioned timepieces keep on ticking.


Read more...

How a Utah-based essential oils company cornered the Oregon market

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY AMY MILSHTEIN | OB CONTRIBUTOR

Multilevel marketing, health claims and zyto scanner biofeedback machines: How dōTERRA thrives in Oregon. 


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS