Our snowboards whispered softly as we rode quickly down the ridgeline heading for our last run of the night. With a quick look to make sure no ski patrollers were in sight, we leaped our boards off the ridge and plunged into the darkness of the aptly named Firecracker -– a medium width, black diamond run with a steep headwall and fun run-out that ends at my father-in-law's town house.
Our boards landed with that satisfying whump as we sunk halfway into 12 inches of untracked powder and began charging down the headwall hooting and hollering in the moonlight.
Momentarily blinded by a cloud of snow thrown up from my brother-in-law, I forgot about the shallow ditch we needed to jump and slammed into the depression - tossing my body into a cartwheel that ended with me buried under almost two feet of snow and laughing.
Adrenaline pumping, we finished the run and turned to see if we could spot our tracks in the moonlight. Sure enough, two tracks, side by side, ran down the run with a big blow-out right at the ditch. Smiling, we high-fived and yelled, "First tracks!" Nothing better.
Undoubtedly, you've had "first track" experiences in your personal and professional life –- those moments when you're doing something you feel strongly about for the first time and you get that rush of adrenaline and fear that mix to push you to a better effort and, ultimately, a successful endeavor. Here at Camp Business, this issue is one of those experiences.
We're happy to be able to bring you an issue that is double the size of any issue we've published to date. And, to that end, we owe a big thank you to the advertisers and you, the readers, who've made this issue possible.
Inside you'll find our 2002 Buyer's Guide -- a comprehensive list of suppliers to the children's camp industry who are only too happy the help you create new first track experiences. Maybe, like Camp Timber-lee in East Troy, Wis., you want to consider adding adventure to your camp program with climbing courses, a skate park, or other off-piste adventure. Or, maybe you're looking for new promotional products ideas to help retain camper/parent contact for years to come.
Whatever the idea, the suppliers listed in this guide and the feature stories our writers have compiled are here to help. And remember, we're hard at work on our next "first track" issue.
In coming issues, you'll see articles on a variety of topics including (but not limited to) succession planning, specialty camp experiences, arts & crafts, sports equipment updates and extended camp profiles.
Have a good month!
Rodney J. Auth
President & Publisher