Sponsored by Oregon Business

Windells sports academy flourishes

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


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

Reader Input: In or Out

October 2015
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The refugee crisis has put immigration and border issues on the front burner, in Europe and at home. In Oregon, attitudes toward illegal immigration haven’t changed dramatically since 2006.


The Cover Story

The Latest
Tuesday, October 06, 2015
100515-cover1015-news-thumbBY CHRIS NOBLE

As we worked on the October cover, it became evident that Nick Symmonds is a hard man to catch — even when he’s not hotfooting it around a track.


Baby. Boom!

September 2015
Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A new co-working model disrupts office sharing, child care and work-life balance as we know it.


Business School

September 2015
Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Training, from the mundane to the sublime, bolsters companies and workers in an uncertain world.


5 takeaways from the rural Oregon economic report

The Latest
Thursday, September 10, 2015

The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released a report on the vitality of rural Oregon this week.  Media reports focused on the number of Californians moving to the "Timber Belt," but the document contained other interesting insights regarding regional challenges and successes.


New green wood building product takes off in Oregon

Thursday, September 10, 2015
091115-cltjohnson-thumbBY KIM MOORE

Oregon is set to become a hub of a new type of wooden building design as a southern Oregon timber company becomes the first certified manufacturer of a high-tech wood product, known as cross-laminated timber, or CLT.


5 marijuana business people share strategy ahead of recreational sales rollout

The Latest
Thursday, September 17, 2015

Ahead of the recreational rollout, what are dispensary owners most concerned about ?

Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02