Editor’s Note: Yeah, yeah, you know the story already and you've seen the edits: A bunch of spoiled, no-good punks spend the summer riding lifts at Mt. Hood, while the rest of us hike for turns, patiently await next season, or (God forbid) do non-skiing things during the summer months; you know, like normal people. But there is more to the Mt. Hood summer experience than park edits and camp updates. “Meanwhile at Mt. Hood” is a column exploring the undocumented fringes of America's summer skiing epicenter. Join us…er, them.
WORDS: Ethan Stone
The reviews are in and Michael Hibbs, the Traveling Circus Intern, is officially good at his job. Hibbs, a Minnesota native heading into his sophomore year at Loyola Marymount University, returned to the coveted position last week during the Line Skis takeover of Windell's Camp Session 2, invited back after a solid debut in the position last year. Throughout the week, he was subjected to various demeaning tasks, systematic humiliation, and abuse at the hands of the Line team.
"At the beginning of the week, I thought they were my friends," says Hibbs. "Lo and behold, it turns out they weren't."
"I think everyone feels pretty bad about the egg thing," says Erik Olson. "He has welts all over."
Andy Parry vigorously denied all responsibility for the Intern's maltreatment. "I didn't really do anything to Hibbs," he says, then admits, "Okay, last year he got shot in the back with a BB gun, but that's the only thing I participated in. Ninety percent of the time he does it to himself."
Despite the abuse, Hibbs maintained a positive attitude throughout the week, performing all tasks demanded of him without fail and consistently exceeding expectations. The team was full of praise for Hibbs' repeat performance, which included getting duct-taped with swag, then pursued and tackled by freebie-crazed campers, being pelted with eggs by campers for prizes, and flipping on to, off of, and over various objects every day on skis.
"He's the embodiment of what I think skiing should be," says LJ Strenio. "But one day he forgot my sack lunch, and I was really hungry."
Hibbs' week at Windell's Camp concluded with a heavy session on a two-foot-high backflip jump during which he attempted double backs and a double Lincoln loop. Right beside him was renowned Traveling Circus daredevil Ross Imburgia, who wagered a switch double front flip, but encountered difficulties upon reentry.
"I basically landed it," says Imburgia. "But then I kneed myself in the face and bit through my lip."
Indeed, Hibbs can be said to have had a much better week than Imburgia, who cut open his finger requiring stitches, almost died crashing into a rock, cut his foot on a trampoline spring, and then smashed his face on the last day.
"It's war out here," says Hibbs. "To be an intern you've got to be strong-headed and go full throttle all the time, because you don't know when tomorrow's going to be your last."