ASN’s Around the Campfire series interviews professional action sports athletes from all disciplines, to get their take on an activity that every outdoor athlete can certainly appreciate: camping. Pulling the athlete away form their day-to-day life and placing them in nature is what Around the Campfire is all about.

Some people prefer the rustic feel of the cold, hard earth beneath their sleeping bag, miles from any Wi-Fi signal or email notification. Others would rather be surrounded by nature, but with the comforts of home still at arm’s reach in case they suffer from withdrawals.

Camping has many definitions, depending on whom you ask. And it’s always interesting to get another person’s take on what it means to get just a little closer to nature.

There’s always time for a quick selfie at an epic spot. Photo: Ortiz/Dew Tour

This past season, we spent some time on the Oregon coast at Hotel Tacoma alongside some of Toyota’s top extreme athletes. We sat down with a few of them to see just what their idea of a camping trip really is.

In this installment of “Around the Campfire,” we chat with Olympic snowboarder Elena Hight. Here’s what camping means to her.

What’s your earliest camping memory?
I was probably about 6 or 7 years old. My mom used to take us camping all the time; it was one of our favorite things to do.

We’d just go set up a tent and hike around for the weekend, mostly in Tahoe. Local campgrounds — we used to do Emerald Bay and around Nevada Beach, where we could just hang out at the beach all day. It was kind of our getaway — like a staycation.

What’s your favorite place to camp?
I’ve camped a few times in the past few years in Big Sur [California]. It’s kinda the spot. I’ve been to a couple different camp spots there, but Big Sur is the most gorgeous place in the world.

You’re there, completely removed, there’s so many beautiful sights to be seen, and really cool hiking trails and you can go surfing. It’s actually a lot like the Oregon coast. It’s got a similar vibe.

Elena Hight and pro surfer Ian Walsh keeping warm in the Oregon woods. Photo: Ortiz/Dew Tour

What’s your favorite camping food?
S’mores. Duh. [Laughs.] I love s’mores. There’s nothing that reminds me of camping more than a good s’more. But I’m usually one and done, maybe two if I’m really hungry or didn’t eat dinner.

Tent camping or RV?
I’m a tent camper for sure. But what I’ve actually gotten into is I want to get a hammock to sleep in rather than in a tent. Kinda like a hammock that closes.

Hight and fellow pro snowboarder Travis Rice taking a spin in the “Zorb” on the Oregon coastline at Hotel Tacoma. Photo: Courtesy of Toyota

Where’s the last place you camped?
I’ve started a tradition every year, which I think is kind of from my childhood, but just the past few years on my birthday I go backpacking in Tahoe. Just go walk for, like, 5 to 10 miles into the wilderness, just pitch a tent and camp on a lake and it’s really fun.

So the last time I went camping was last summer for my birthday. I love the wilderness. There’s no better way to connect with nature than to go camping.

What’s one place you’d love to camp that you haven’t yet?
I’ve really wanted to do the Nepali coast in Hawaii. I’m originally from Hawaii, so I’ve always wanted to hike the Nepali coast and camp along the way.

Hight capturing the moment on a mountain bike ride on some Oregon trails at Hotel Tacoma. Photo: Ortiz/Dew Tour

What’s one piece of advice you’d give to a first-time camper?
Bring a headlamp. And don’t keep food in your tent. [Laughs.] I don’t care where you are: There’s always animals. They can smell it no matter what.

Acoustic guitar sing-along or wireless speaker with Pandora?
Well, I’m trying to learn the guitar right now, and I’m super bad, so as long as it wasn’t me playing the guitar … But if was some other person jamming, then acoustic guitar all the way. That’s, like, the ultimate camp vibes.

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