At Ski Racing Media, we know that attending a ski academy is a big commitment. We strive to provide essential information when it comes to picking an academy that’s best for you or your developing athlete.
Community plays an important role when deciding on a ski racing academy. Often, student-athletes attending ski academies are away from their families, whether they are boarding or day students. Student-athletes spend huge portions of their day at school and on the slopes. Travel is also common for developing athletes, as they follow local race circuits and seek out the best snow and training opportunities.
In this year’s annual academy feature, we’ve highlighted areas of community that each academy offers. During the last year-and-a-half, community has meant the world for so many. It’s the common denominator that has brought us together throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. When choosing an academy that is best for you or your young athlete, we know community is incredibly important.
Below you’ll find a list of academies from east to west and as far as France and Italy. Take a look, and if you haven’t already, dive into each academy further in our Academy Directory.
The Big East
Burke Mountain Academy (BMA) was created by ski racers, for ski racers. Located up in Northern Vermont at the base of Burke Mountain, this small but well-known ski academy has produced some big names in the ski racing world, including Mikaela Shiffrin. BMA was the first academy of its kind in the United States in 1970, offering full-time programs for 8th grade through post-grad, as well as winter-term programs for younger athletes. BMA provides young athletes with a platform that would enable them to pursue professional ski racing careers and quality education. It has been kept intentionally small and selective, enrolling no more than 70 students annually, for a multitude of reasons, one being the emphasis on community.
BMA values developing the entire person, so that they are set up to succeed outside of BMA when that day inevitably comes. Thus, they have utilized the nature of the small community to their advantage. Small class sizes, desirable staff-to-student ratios, and an environment designed to promote interactions between all ages and genders. If you are looking for an academy that values more than the athlete, BMA is right for you.
Cardigan Mountain School is an all boys boarding school for grades six through nine. Alpine student-athletes are able to train up to six days a week, usually at Mount Sunapee but occasionally Whaleback, without sacrificing their academic schedule. They also offer training camps across the country, giving students the opportunity to travel and experience different venues.
With a huge emphasis on morals and academics, Cardigan strives to provide its students with the skills to succeed in the moment and in the future. Cardigan recognizes that young minds are malleable, and developing them so that their students have the necessary skills to succeed in whatever they choose to pursue is vital.
Located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, CVA has access to one of the largest alpine venues in the East. Featuring the only FIS-homologated downhill track in the east, Sugarloaf attracts athletes who are interested in staying in the east but want to ski speed. Notably, American Downhiller Sam Morse ‘13, has been on the US Ski Team since 2015.
CVA prides itself on its culture because it cultivates kindness and respect. Student-athletes feel welcomed, even at home on the campus because of their similarities, but the culture also promotes respect for their differences. CVA lists four primary goals when developing a student-athlete: integrity and respect, habits of healthy living, an understanding of the responsibility we have for ourselves and each other, as well as independence and confidence. These values translate into successful athletes, students, and people as a whole.
GMVS is a college preparatory school that features a curriculum intended to prepare students for success at the collegiate level. It also features an athletic program that provides hard-working and passionate ski racers with the tools to achieve athletic greatness. Located in Waitsfield, Vermont, GMVS athletes have access to Sugarbush, a popular venue on the FIS circuit.
With such a strong base academically and athletically, the community aspect is able to thrive. Encouraging students to branch out from their comfort zones, developing an inclusive space, and interacting with faculty and students who share a passion for skiing makes GMVS feel like a community no matter your physical location.
Located in Bethel, Maine, Gould Academy offers full-time programs for grades 9 through post-graduate as well as winter term options for seventh and eight graders. Their partnership with Sunday River gives Gould access to premier training, and their academic curriculum is uniquely challenging. Though Gould excels in academics, athletics, and the arts, this school does not believe these excellent programs are enough to complete their goals. To them, “it’s about friendship, mentorship, and being a part of a community.”
Gould Academy utilizes traditions and their natural surroundings in beautiful Maine to maintain their tight-knit community. This includes their unique focus on experiential learning pushes the boundaries of the traditional classroom. From week/weekend service and outdoor leadership trips to travel abroad adventures and our beloved Four Point program, opportunities like these help shape its students into well traveled young adults.
One of the three primary values at Holderness School, located in Plymouth, NH, is community. The other two, character and curiosity, absolutely feed into the community experience at Holderness. Holderness’ intimate and challenging academic experience is a well-designed college preparatory curriculum that features a wide range of courses and small classes – a great system for the hard-working young ski racers that attend the school.
Based in Vermont, Killington Mountain school states that “We are a community united by shared passions and a competitive spirit; our commitment to each other is built upon teamwork and mutual respect.” The heavy emphasis on community and athletics is a dream for many athletes, as is the location.
KMS trains at Killington Mountain, a World Cup venue, which is a unique opportunity in the East. The Killington World Cup is the only World Cup held in the East, making it an attractive place for athletes of all skill levels to train. Students leave this school with a sense of lifelong belonging and the skills to achieve their goals beyond KMS.
KMS has about 120 students at any given time, maintaining the sense of a small community. However, it is proud to have students from all over the world, and embraces their diversity.
Mt. Mansfield Academy offers a full academic year school, as well as their long established winter-term program. Winter-term athletes have access to the same athletic programming as full time students year round. The winter-term program also allows students to continue their home school curriculums while getting the ski academy experience. This gives students the opportunity to work in small groups and one on one with teachers. The individuality this structure offers is freeing to the student-athletes, and allows them to build their own sets of morals and self-worth. They also learn how to work together even in more complicated situations.
This type of academy gives students the opportunity to stay connected to their hometowns by only requiring students to physically commit to attending the academy for the winter months. While it is still a commitment, no doubt about it, it is a way for students to experience more than one community as they grow as athletes and citizens.
This New York school offers a traditional college prep school experience for grades 9 through 12 as well as a pg year, while also offering access to training with the New York Ski Education Foundation (NYSEF). Northwood School is a coeducational, independent boarding and day school located at the site of the 1980 Olympic Winter Games.
With an average class size of 10 students and a 5:1 student-faculty ratio, the Northwood School is able to give students the attention they need to develop into the best student-athletes they can be. The well-rounded experience is vital to shaping well-rounded students, and Northwood is able to do so.
Okemo Mountain School has a mission to support its athletes to become the best students, athletes, and people that they can possibly be. This hefty goal can only be achieved through their community, which works to support their athletes in as many ways as possible. OMS has even been running a campaign called “Campaign for Our Community” to ensure their student-athletes have all of the resources they need in the time of adversity that we have faced during the pandemic
As a winter-term academy, Okemo Mountain School facilitates each student’s individual curriculum from their sending school. OMS athletes train on-snow at Okemo Mountain Resort just minutes from their campus,
Proctor values the individual, and uses experiential learning to develop students. This academy offers 140 academic courses, including Honors and AP level classes and more than 30 art electives. It also features 39 athletic teams, making the athletic programs a prominent force. As a slightly larger academy with 360 students, Proctor has a large network of students and alumni. Proctor prepares students for life beyond Proctor, sticking to their motto “Live to learn, learn to live.”
Located in Andover, New Hampshire, Proctor Academy is located near some well renowned ski areas, including Proctor Ski Area – a privately owned FIS homologated hill. With the campus located close to this venue as well as Ragged Mountain, athletes have access to a variety of terrain and quality training.
Waterville Valley Academy is a snowsports academy with a variety of programs to choose from. The winter-term option allows students to bring their curriculums from their sending schools, and learn those with the support of WVA staff. WVA also offers a full-term curriculum for student-athletes who are looking for a full school year experience.
In the offseason, WVA athletes are one of the few groups in the world who utilize the Burdenko Method of training, a successful program for athletes. During winter, students train rigorously at Waterville Valley Resort with professional coaches alongside other motivated athletes.
Offering day and boarding programs, students live near or on campus. The community thrives on individuality, while celebrating similarities. With several winter sports programs, including ski racing, freestyle skiing, and freeskiing, the love of snowsports is something that everyone shares and values at WVA.
The SSCV alpine program follows an age-appropriate training plan to ensure our athletes are equipped with the tools they need to reach their goals. The success of our club is directly related to the dedication of our staff and motivation of our athletes through our core values of “character, courage and commitment.”
SSVA students develop a level of independent learning, maturity, confidence and leadership qualities from the community values at VSSA. They are supported but independent, something that is made possible by the structure of VSSA.
Sun Valley Ski Academy offers quality private education combined with world class training and coaching. Travel and time management can be tricky during the season when student-athletes are juggling their academic and athletic commitments. Sun Valley has recognized that and designed a schedule that includes a summer term to lighten the workload in the winter. They even assign designated tutors that travel to some races during the winter season to provide extra support to athletes.
The Sun Valley team shows through the systems it has in place that they value the individual skiers as well as the faculty. The faculty understands the stresses that ski racers face, and are uniquely prepared to support student-athletes as much as possible.
Rowmark is a full-time ski academy and a division of Rowland Hall. They focus on developing the full student-athlete so that they will be productive and successful members of society after graduation.
Rowmark has an emphasis on academics, and prides themselves on the amount of dedication students have in both academics and athletics. This is a great spot for a ski racer who does not want to sacrifice their academics in the slightest.
Sugar Bowl Ski Academy boasts a 3:1 student to staff ratio, rigorous academics, and phenomenal coaching. The experiential learning structure at Sugar Bowl teaches students to think creatively and critically, making them great candidates for top tier colleges – especially the ones with good ski teams.
Sugar Bowl Ski Academy cares about trees and education by requiring students to have a laptop and mobile device on the road. This keeps communication lines open and makes it easy to skip lugging books around. With the support of staff, students can excel in every way at Sugar Bowl Ski Academy.
Steamboat Mountain School believes in “Thriving through contrast.” This includes focusing on the school community while remaining connected with society outside of school. The impact of understanding wholeness and developing the entire person rather than just a student or athlete sets Steamboat Mountain School students up for success.
The Alpine Race Academy at Loveland is based in Colorado, and offers a flexible program that allows athletes to choose the best schooling program for them. This ranges from homeschooling to local public schools. Loveland prides itself on teamwork within the community, and enjoys holding events that involve the entire team – regardless of age.
At the Alpine Race Academy at Loveland, athletes can take advantage of 365 days per year of individualized attention, driven by the 5-1 athlete to coach ratio and other dedicated staff. This is a great fit for athletes who need more flexibility regarding their education.
Full-time student-athletes at Team Summit/ Peak school have more on-snow at-home training days than any other program in the US. With access to four mountains as well as off-snow strength and conditioning throughout the year, athletes are able to improve year round.
Athletes learn many life skills, such as discipline, self-advocacy, strong work ethic, independence – setting them up to be successful and independent after leaving high school. To make it accessible, Team Summit partners with The Peak School, Summit School District, Colorado Learning Connections, and Club Z Tutoring and provides transportation from the three main schools for training during the weekdays.
Located in Park City, Utah – the Winter Sports School encourages students to reach beyond what they believe are their limits. As a college preparatory school, they want students to be prepared for higher education and more when they ultimately leave for the next chapter of their lives.
Classes run from April through November to give students time and flexibility during the ski season. This is a condensed calendar and is intense, but it provides students with further ability to achieve their goals. Students must be dedicated and determined because if they are, they can achieve great things through this program.
APEX 2100 International Ski Academy is located in Tignes, France. With world-class facilities and access to phenomenal venues, this is a great option for a ski racer seeking an academy outside of the US.
APEX 2100 places just as much significance on learning and performance as the skiing itself to prepare athletes for success off and on snow. There are three programs, structured around age group, to support a wide age range of athletes. This is one to watch!
Located in the heart of the Dolomites, the Alta Badia Dolomites International Ski Academy caters to U16 and FIS athletes who are pursuing hefty ski racing goals. They offer several different programs ranging from winter only to the whole year, fall and summer both for student-athletes and gap year.
Alta Badia is also a multilingual school, and has a heavy emphasis on learning languages. So, while student-athletes are becoming better skiers, they are also becoming more fluent in new languages. If you are looking for a creative way to learn another language while becoming a great ski racer, this is the program for you.
NSA is located just north of Toronto, Canada, offering a full-year ski academy experience. Small in size – under 30 students. Because of Canada’s Covid regulations, their normal training hill was shut down last season and most of their international students were unable to attend school in person. NSA got creative; they shipped out art kits, created virtual lessons, and did everything they could to keep the community as tightly knit as possible.
NSA continues to adjust as they head into the new season, but are back in session physically with the new Covid guidelines. Students are back at school and NSA is excited to welcome guest athletes to their camps later this year.
The school’s mission is to provide an environment for talented student-athletes to maximize individual potential through the pursuit of alpine ski racing excellence, academic achievement and personal growth.
For more information on our Academy program contact Megan Sahnow, [email protected] or call at 541.646.1868