|Esper Skate Team|
For any of you who don't know what Lake Owen is, I guess I'll just have to tell you. Lake Owen is a skate camp very similar to Woodward in Pennsylvania. In fact, it has almost all of the same features that Woodward is known for, just in a smaller package. After going to this week-long camp, hanging out with some pro skaters and amateur instructors, I love skateboarding even more. The program they have at Lake Owen is great, and you'll find skaters of all ability levels there, with instructors ready to help all of them. Many kids from all over the U.S. and sometimes even further choose to come to Lake Owen in Cable, WI (Northwest Wisconsin) instead of Woodward because of a cheaper price, no waiting list, and less crowded conditions. I even saw some people from France and California come the week I went. Many campers stay for multiple weeks too, but I had just about been pushed to my limit by the time one week here was up. Overall, this place rocks. If you skateboard or inline, you have to come here.
When you arrive at the camp on Sunday, don't expect to skate. Sorry, I know it sucks, but there is going to be only about 1 minute of skating all of Sunday. You basically get to sit around, stare at the ramps, and get to know the other campers there. Late in the afternoon, they give you a whooping 1 minute to show them your skate skills so that you can be put into skills groups. Don't even listen to them, the groups mean nothing, don't worry about what group you put in they're just so the camp can have organized skate sessions in the morning. After your 1 minute show, you go take off your pads and eat. For every meal, there are two grills open and one cafeteria area. At the first grill you can get hamburgers, cheeseburgers, or chicken with pretzels and chips. The second grill has an awesome fajita bar, where you can get chicken fajitas all day long with a side of tortilla chips. In the cafeteria, there is always different food, but it's not ever very good, except for breakfast. At every meal you can get juice, water, or iced tea. Overall, you're not going to have any complaints about the food at Lake Owen. In fact, you'll probably enjoy it. After, eating, the staff puts on a demo for all of the campers. Be sure to bring you're camera, cause this is one of the best parts of camp. Be prepared for some amazing tricks.
Monday through Friday goes pretty much the same every day. You get out of bed at around 8:15 and head out to breakfast. I recommend the cafeteria food and some cold cereal, because the only grill open makes egg and cheese McMuffins, not my kind of deal. After breakfast you strap on all you're pads (must be worn at all times, but you get used to it) and go to instruction at 9:00. Sometimes there will be a game like trivia or a video for skate history in the morning, but usually you get to skate right away. Your groups move around to specific areas and you skate a bit. At 12:00, it's lunchtime. Since you can't skate from 12:00-1:00, take all your stuff off and chill around for a bit. Check out what video they got on at the skate shop, or meet some new people. Everything's closed until 1:00 so the instructors can take a bit of a break.
After the lunch break, it's free time until 9:00 at night. You can do whatever you want, but I recommend skating for a couple of hours during the midday. Go around and check out all of the parks and stuff the camp had to offer. There is and outdoor street course, a 11 ft. vert ramp, and a jump box with a resi for soft landings in the "downstairs" area. If the weathers not bad, this place is great, especially the vert ramp which, believe it or not, is tons of fun. There are also two indoor parks, one with a big bank and a bunch of pyramids and grind rails, a 4 foot bowl, and a 5.5 foot mini ramp, and another with a big stair set rail, some banks, and a foam pit. The foam pit gym is air conditioned, so I always hung out there during the midday. Also, there are two other outdoor areas. One is a spine ramp and a 3.5 foot mini ramp, and the other is a movable street area with a box and a few low rails. Be sure to check out all of the stuff and skate everything so that you progress as much as possible in the week you have at Lake Owen.
During the afternoon, you can go down to the waterfront from 1:00 to 4:30 and cool down, swim, tube, go on the blob, torpedo, water ski, or wakeboard. There are lines to do stuff, but if it's hot out it's a great alternative to skating and getting heat stroke. The skate shop is always open with some videos on, so be sure to check back there often as well. The Canteen, or camp store, is also open with plenty of pizza and ice cream and soda, but of course it's not free so be prepared to spend some cash. There are other things to do too, but I think skating is the best. Just be sure not to go all out and really bang yourself up on Monday and Tuesday. It sucks when the rest of the week you're all sore and bruised up.
Dinner is from 4:30-6:00. Be sure not to eat too early otherwise you'll end up going to the canteen the rest of the night, and no one wants to spend money. You skate some more during the evening, and then I usually called it a day around 8:00-8:30. By then, I'm usually pretty spent and ready to watch some other guys skate. After stopping by the canteen for a few snacks, I grab my camera and get ready for the "unorganized" demo around 9:00-10:00 each night. Really, the staff just starts skating and kids begin watching and it turns into a demo type thing. This part of the day is awesome, you'll never get tired of watching these guys skate, it's amazing. Finally, they call you back to you're cabins around 10:15 and have lights out by 11:00 (not always sleep though).
Other than that, there are contests just about every day of the week, including highest ollie, longest ollie manual, and longest ollie (wear long pants for this one!). Only the winner of these contests gets anything, but they're fun to enter and watch. On Friday, there is a big organized contest of the whole camp based on skill level (beginner or advanced). You all have like 10 minutes to skate the indoor park and nail as many tricks as you can. The contest is in a jam form, so everyone in the contest skates at once. Right after, the best trick contest is held in the foam gym on the stair set handrail. This contest gets pretty insane, and unless you think you can back lip the rail, I suggest you get out a camera and watch. Some insane tricks went down during the contest I saw, so keep you're eyes open. Prizes (a.k.a. free stuff) is given to the first, second, and third place takers. Trust me, you'll want this stuff, so make sure you at least enter the contest, it's a blast. I bet you want to go to Lake Owen now, huh?
-VIDEOS OF LAKE OWEN-
50-50 Kinked Foam Pit Handrail- ( KB, .mov)
Kinked boardslide in indoor park- ( KB, .mov)
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