The Burton Blog

Exploring the Oddities of Summer Life on Mount Hood

Did you know that it’s possible for your eyeballs to get sunburnt?

Well, it is. Sunny, or even overcast, at high elevation it’s totally possible to burn your retinas, the inside of your nose, and (although we haven’t experienced it) we’re sure you can even sunburn your tongue. Just head to Mount Hood, the summer snowboarding mecca. A few of our riders are bouncing around the glacier these days. Ben Ferguson and Hailey Langland are out there taking banked slalom podiums and probably working on their tans. After all this time at North America’s premier summer snow spot, we’re learning all sorts of odd lessons. Let’s look at a few:

For starters, Sasquatch is 100% real, and a yeti lives on the glacier.

Sure, we haven’t seen him yet, but plenty of people have, and you know in the bottom of your heart that it’s true. Squatch is out there. Oh, and there’s a yeti living on the backside of the mountain. Ask any of the locals. It’s a fact.

No ifs ands or buts about it, this is Squatch Country.

Government Camp (aka Govy) is the busiest ghost town ever.

A lot happens in Government Camp for a town with a total population of 193. We don’t have an accurate number for summer traffic, but between all the summer camps, tourists, pros, mountain staff and lurkers at Charlie’s Mountain View, it’s safe to say that population grows exponentially during the warmer months. Skate parks are assembled and then disassembled before winter. Pop up shops come and go. A steady stream of Cobra Dogs and Volcano Cones flows for only a few months out of the year. In short, Govy is a pretty happening place for a settlement so small that its founders didn’t even see fit to give it a proper name.

demo center
Main Street in Govy is home to just a few happening spots, including this place...

The Burton Demo Center is the spot.

We have this thing called the Burton Demo Center. It’s an old building in town, but it’s way more than just a house. The three staff members who run it live there all summer long, and use it as a hub for the greater Burton community in Govy. When company people and even the Burton Team riders roll through, they crash in the attic. When campers and other mountain goers are looking for free demos on all Burton and anon. gear, they know where to go. But demos are only a fraction of what goes down. In reality, it’s a place where snowboarders live and hang out, and the vibes are always good.

Toyota Hood Parking.jpg
The Burton Demo Crew stretching up for a morning session.
The greater Burton family rolls through the Demo Center all summer (always for very important work, of course). Two Burton affiliates, Zach Nigro (left) and Josh Zerkel (above) are no strangers to the glacier. P: Mathew Bothfield
Mount Hood as seen from Trillium Lake.

Mount Hood is an active volcano.

Yep. Think lava, explosions, and noxious gasses festering underground. The last time this ancient volcano erupted was in 1907, and it wasn’t a biggie. While it’s considered the Oregon volcano most likely to erupt, it’s highly unlikely. In fact, the U.S. Geological Survey only characterizes it as “potentially active.” No big deal, right?

It’s home to 12 glaciers. It’s the highest point in Oregon. It fosters a climate that’s ideal for four-season’s worth of activities. Snowboarding on top, hiking and climbing down low, and all the best outdoor activities like camping and swimming on ground level. Have you figured out why it’s the ultimate summer snowboard mecca yet?

The Diggers at High Cascade Snowboard Camp shaping up the halfpipe.

Diggers are the heroes we deserve… you know, like Batman.

It gets hot on the glacier, so the mountain has to be groomed and salted each day before all the snow melts. The Burton Demo staff gets to ride in the morning, so they always know the conditions. The diggers who shape the halfpipes and jumps on the glacier are up and moving before the sun rises, trekking up to the snow parks with bags of salt slung over each shoulder. They work extremely hard shaping the terrain parks that everyone enjoys. Bringing them a special delivery to relieve them of their usual PB&J lunch is the least one can do.

You would have to work pretty hard for a better backdrop. Ben Ferguson loves the High Cascade halfpipe. P: Dean Blotto Gray

If you’re ever in town, be sure to say hi to the crew at the Burton Demo Center, and do yourself a favor – get a Cobra Dog. Oh, and don’t forget the sunscreen. ∆