Zephyr Hopes to Add Seven to Nine New Weekend Camps in 2006
Danville, Calif. - Camp Rollerblade's first-ever weekend learn-to-skate program drew a capacity crowd Saturday and will be replicated in seven more cities next year.
"I had to turn people away," said Allan Wright, president of Zephyr Adventures, which operates Camp Rollerblade in partnership with the skate maker that bears its name.
The 25 participants drove from as far away as Los Angeles to attend the two-day camp in Danville, a suburb in the East Bay of San Francisco.
Dianna Peete, a hair stylist, came from Oakley, Calif.
"I read about the Zephyr Camps five years ago in a women's magazine. And I thought, 'I want to do that!' " she said.
"But I just turned 51, and I want to get the safety thing down first."
Fred Adler, a retiree, drove up from Los Angeles. Fit and trim and 80 years old, he said he was drawn to the camp by the sight of inline skaters rolling along the trails of Santa Monica, Calif.
"We have these nice paved trails near the beach, where a lot of people skate, and it looks like fun," he said.
Before Saturday, Adler had never skated. But by late-morning, he was participating in relay races with the other campers.
Zephyr Adventures has been organizing learn-to-skate camps for five years. But until now the camps have run for five days and included meals and hotel accommodations.
As a result, they have been pricey. (This year's five-day camps on Hilton Head are $1300, not including air fare.)
To make the camps more accessible, Wright and Rollerblade decided this year to test the market for weekend day camps, in which accommodations would be left up to the campers, most of whom, they assumed, would be commuting from their homes in the area.
That allowed Wright to hold down the price of the camp. Registration for last weekend was $239.
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(posted May 6, 2005)
Copyright © 2005 by Robert Burnson