Who Owns this Place?
HCSC is owned by 5 avid snowboarders: Meagan Sorensen,
Ami Voutilainen, Preston Strout, Kevin English and John Ingersoll (bios below).
The HCSC Ownership Story (in a nutshell):
Once upon a time (in the fall of 1989) John Ingersoll co-founded High Cascade Snowboard Camp. After helping to build up camp and running it for an amazing decade, John (and his business partner also named John) sold HCSC to Vans footwear, yes, THE Vans (shoes, boots, etc.). It was right around this time that Kevin, Preston, Ami, and Meagan all got their starts at HCSC as counselors, coaches and in the office.
In 2004 Meagan, Kevin and Preston took year round jobs running all aspects of the business for Vans. That following fall, Vans was purchased by Vanity Fair Corp, whose primary focus on footwear and apparel resulted in Vans having to sell High Cascade. (Here comes the good part…) While searching for new owners for HCSC, it dawned on the young management crew that “Hey, we should own this place! This is where our hearts are, and we’re the rightful caretakers of our beloved camp.”
The group called up John Ingersoll (who had founded camp in the first place) for advice – and it turned out that John wanted to be a part of the adventure as well. So the five scrapped together all that they had, borrowed from family and banks and made Vans an offer they couldn’t refuse. Later that season, Ami began working full time as HCSC’s Art Director and became part owner as well.
And they all lived happily ever after…
Pennsylvania / Bend, OR
Born, raised and educated in Western Pennsylvania. John’s father, a blue-collar steel worker, and mother, an elementary school teacher, stressed hard work, organization and outdoor play. John attended a YMCA summer camp for 6 years and went through their graduated programs culminating as a Counselor Service Training Intern.
John arrived in Oregon in 1983 on a work sabbatical and fell in love with the Oregon Cascades. His winter mountain background started in 1984 as an Oregon ski Instructor and progressed into snowboarding in 1989. He was the first Pacific NW fully certified instructor in both sports. In 1984 he helped start a summer ski and recreation camp on Mt. Hood / Government Camp and learned base and on-hill operations. He also ran and grew a competitive snowboard program in Bend, OR.
In his quest to stay involved in the snow sports industry, in 1989, he founded High Cascade Snowboard Camp. The rest, as they say, is history. Other than helping make HCSC’s mission statement “changing lives through snowboarding and skateboarding” become manifest, his passions are: snowboarding year round (specializing in Oregon powder), spending time with his two daughters Jill and Kate, Bikram yoga, cycling, nordic skate skiing and carpentry. He also owns and operates Mt. Hood real estate and is involved Mt. Hood community relations.
Soda Springs, CA / Portland, OR
Born and raised high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California, Kevin was literally born in a snowstorm. In 1988, he saw his buddy blast cross-rocket off a 3-foot kicker under the chairlift at Soda Springs Ski Hill. This singular moment was etched in his brain and caused him to literally throw his skis in a dumpster and seek a life centered around snowboarding.
In junior high Kevin noticed all the ski racers getting discounted passes and leaving school early each day. In response, he founded Truckee’s first snowboard team with the local parks and recreation department. Kevin spent the next seven years riding Boreal every night and the Donner back country on weekends. Then for college, he worked out a sweet deal with his dad: go to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo during the summer (surfing almost everyday) and live in Tahoe to shred during the winter. Genius.
After earning his BS in Industrial Technology in 1999, he got a job at High Cascade as a counselor and focused on snowboarding as a job. Though he had solid sponsors and increasing exposure in the magazines and videos, Kevin ultimately realized he liked snowboarding for the fun of it and not so much for the "job" of it. As such, in 2001 he became Team Manager for K2 Snowboarding and in 2003 was hired by Steve Van Doren of Vans, to run High Cascade Snowboard Camp.
In 2008 after 20 years of actively being in the snowboard industry and 10 with HCSC, Kevin left camp’s day-to-day operations to focus on new adventures in life. Kevin is investing in fun business ventures, developing real estate, and working with the HCSC crew on the side to help make camp even more awesome. His dream hobby recently came true getting his pilot’s license and he’s trying his best to be a radical husband to Kim and an extreme dad for little Milani.
New Hampshire / Portland, OR
Born in 1977, Preston started snowboarding in fourth grade (1986) at Crotched Mountain, a tiny New England ski slope, on a neon 135 cm Funky Kid board, with ski boots. Raised in New Hampshire he spent his childhood riding at Loon Mountain and Waterville Valley and at 23 years-old he joined HCSC as a counselor (2000) and basically never left…
A year later (2001) Preston graduated from Plymouth State College first in his class (nerd) with a degree in Computer Science (double nerd), while balancing the beginnings of a short-lived pro-snowboard career. After riding professionally for 2 seasons traveling, filming, competing and getting hurt, he quit professional snowboarding after breaking his back in four places to take a year round job as HCSC Camp Director (2004) – snowboarding now more than ever.
Aside from a life dedicated to making HCSC all it can be, he stays busy as a live snowboard announcer throughout the winter at events like The US Open, XGames, Winter Dew Tours and the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. His hobbies include fly-fishing, traveling around in Ice-Man (his ’87 Toyota Van) with his wife Dawn and yellow lab Peanut and starting side project brands like Crab Grab and P Pants.
Helsinki, Finland / Portland, OR
Born 1974 in Helsinki, Finland. Ami first started skateboarding at the age of 12 and it was soon obvious that skateboarding in the wintertime close to the Arctic Circle is not that rad. A year later, his friend got his hands on a snowboard and after a backyard session on a goofy mounted board (Ami is regular), he was hooked. That first year of riding consisted of riding with basketball sneakers on rental boards with a permanent smile.
His first summer snowboard camp experience was the following year at Stryn, Norway where him and friend snuck into the Craig Kelly snowboard camp for a few days (shame on them). Getting to meet and snowboard with the legendary Jeff Brushie, Craig Kelly and Keith Wallace was an unforgettable experience, making him a huge fan of summer boarding.
At age 18 Ami spent a year in Minnesota as an exchange student with a wonderful family who lugged him around to their local hills and to snowboard contests around the Midwest. This year turned out to be very influential and upon returning to Finland snowboarding had become Ami's number one priority. As Ami graduated high school, the opportunity to turn pro and travel the world snowboarding was too hard to resist. The following seven years were spent riding professionally doing world cup contests, filming and coaching at summer camps in Norway and Switzerland. During his career Ami had several pro models on Silence Snowboards and filmed an insane part for Standard Film's movie TB7. We used to play it at the office all the time until Ami finally hid, stole or destroyed the DVD (details remain fuzzy).
During the Summer of 2000 HCSC's head coach, Kevin English hired Ami and his new wife Katrina as coaches, and the following season Ami took over the Head Coach post from Kevin. After a couple of unfortunate injuries, and a few very fortunate life changes, Ami retired from professional snowboarding to raise his new daughter Amelie and to work full-time for High Cascade as our Creative Director.
Ami currently lives with his wife Katrina, daughter Amelie, four chickens and one disobedient cat in North Portland where he spends his time riding Mt. Hood powder, skating, making art, remodeling his beater house and having fun with his family. He can't wait for 6 year-old Amelie to be able to attend camp in couple of years. We can’t wait to find that copy of TB7 and start watching it at lunch again.
Illinois / Portland, OR
Unfortunately for her, Meagan didn’t discover snowboarding until her Freshman year at Illinois State University. To try and make up for lost time on the slopes, she spent her Junior year in the National Student Exchange at Western State College. The summer after graduating with a Public Relations degree from ISU, Meagan joined HCSC as an office assistant (2003).
A few months after that fateful summer, she was offered a year-round position with High Cascade and hasn’t looked back at the Mid-West since (other than at friends and family).
When Meagan’s not passing on her camp love and knowledge to prospective parents and campers, she enjoys snowboarding year-round, long walks with her dog Taj, battling the Pacific NW surf, trying her luck at gardening, and helping her husband Chad through the Web Development program at the Portland Art Institute. She’s counting down the days until her future children get to go to High Cascade.