VERMONT IS WHERE TOP ATHLETES THRIVE
Jen Butson, email@example.com
Vermont has a rich history of skiing greats, from the ’52 Olympic gold medals by Andrea Mead Lawrence to notable ski and snowboard clubs and today’s US Ski Team comprised of nearly 20 Vermonters. In fact, it is not uncommon for Vermonters to share the same presence on the US ski and snowboard teams’ roster as much more populated states like California. During the 2010 Olympics, 12.5 percent of the team called the Green Mountains home. With a state population of 625,741, the quantity of ski and ride legends per capita is, well, legendary.
Athletes do not start at the podium, however. Years of training under the right coaches and curriculum over ideal training terrain are integral to this achievement – and Vermont is a hub for both. In fact, Vermont is the birthplace of American ski academies and espouses seven ski academies, the most per state in the country and more than the rest of New England combined.
Vermont’s ski academies include: Burke Mountain Academy, Green Mountain Valley School, Killington Mountain School, Mount Mansfield Winter Academy, Mount Snow Academy, Stratton Mountain School and Okemo Mountain School.
Individual Resort Information:
BURKE MOUNTAIN RESORT
Burke Mountain shares its slopes and partners with Burke Mountain Academy (BMA). Since 1970, more than 110 BMA graduates have been members of the US Ski Team or other national teams. More than 50 have been Olympians and more than 60 percent matriculate into highly selective colleges. BMA is among the most successful programs of its kind in the US. This year, BMA has a number of top athletes led by Mikaela Shiffrin who as a sophomore last year won the NorAm slalom title and became one of the youngest women invited to compete at the World Cup giant slalom and slalom events at the age of 15.
MAD RIVER GLEN
Vermonter and lifelong Mad River Glen skier Lars Chickering-Ayers won the 2010 Freeskiing World Championships at Snowbird, Utah, to laudatory acclaim. But in 2011, he and his friends went one notch better at the US Extreme Championships in Crested Butte Colorado, the Super Bowl of extreme competitions: Mad River Glen skiers swept the podium. Understandably, Lars won the event, but the rest of the men's podium was an absolute stunner. Runner-up Tom Runcie, the son of Mad River Glen co-op shareholders who grew up skiing Mad River’s legendary terrain took second, followed in third-place by Lars’ younger brother Silas. An ESPN article trumpeted the fact that, “Maybe it shouldn't seem as surprising as it did. After all, Vermont's Mad River Glen is a hard place to ski. But still. Three kids from the same Vermont ski area monopolizing the podium at the vaunted Crested Butte Extremes, the holiest of big-mountain ski competitions?” That sums it up nicely.
Magic Mountain, with its long history of challenging terrain that has bred some of the region’s top recreational skiers, is a proving ground for youngsters from all over. Magic’s Alpine Training Center and race team boasts one of the top VARA J4 races in 2011, and our newest J6 racers in the VARA southern Vermont council scored consistent top 5 finishes—all in an intimately-sized race program with a high coach-to-athlete ratio.
Magic is also a budding proving ground for new “free-ride” competitions. For years, Magic has hosted a yearly “Extreme Challenge” on its Black Magic trail. Now, Magic is a part of the Ski the East Free Ride Tour, along with Mad River Glen, Sugarbush and Jay Peak, which challenges New England’s top skiers on some of the east’s most difficult and extreme terrain. Magic Mountain is creating a formalized “free-ride” training program to match its alpine racing program for youth skiers interested in raising their ability and love of the sport.
Mount Snow has a rich tradition of grooming incredible snow sport athletes through world-class coaching and terrain. Many of Mount Snow’s athletes have gone on to compete successfully on the global level, including West Dover’s own Kelly Clark who won Olympic Gold in women’s snowboard halfpipe in 2002 and Olympic Bronze in 2010, among her many other triumphs in halfpipe competition throughout her amazing career.
The Winter X Games and Winter Dew Tour are frequented by Mount Snow athletes including the brother/sister combo of Devin and Chris Logan. Devin is now on the U.S. Women’s Freestyle Team along with fellow Mount Snow alum Eliza Outtrim, who is a mogul phenom with an incredibly bright future. Parker White honed his skills at Mount Snow and has seen his fair share of podiums including gold at the 2010 Gatorade Free Flow Tour stop in Mammoth.
OKEMO MOUNTAIN RESORT
Many successful athletes have trained on the slopes of Okemo Mountain Resort as students at Okemo Mountain School (OMS). OMS students are highly motivated individuals and the school addresses the needs of these talented skiers and snowboarders, grades 7 through 12, by providing them with an opportunity to train daily and work toward their competitive athletic goals while maintaining high academic standards.
Academics are a priority during the intense, full-time training and competition schedule. Instructional time is designed with a low student-to-faculty ratio, allowing students to excel at subjects they might otherwise find challenging. The coaching that OMS students receive is unparalleled. An experienced staff of alpine, freeride and snowboard coaches sees to it that each student athlete reaches his or her own personal competitive potential. For athletic training, Okemo Mountain Resort provides on-hill time to the school.
The opportunities for personal growth at OMS are endless. Students at OMS are immersed in an atmosphere encouraging respect for self, peers, and community as well as perseverance and responsibility. Please learn more about the school www.okemomountainschool.org/ and visit Okemo’s online press kit.
SMUGGLERS’ NOTCH RESORT
Smugglers’ Notch Ski and Snowboard Club (SNSC), headquartered at the base of Smugglers’ Notch Resort’s Sterling mountain, has been the training ground for the ski careers of many Olympians, National Team members, pro ski racers and college athletes. SNSC started in 1959, not as SNSC, but as the Madonna Racing Team back when Smugglers’ Notch was known as Madonna Mountain. Well-known ski coach Mickey Cochran along with his sons and daughters formed the racing team. Skiers came from all around to be coached by Mickey and to be a part of a unique family-oriented program, which offered the highest quality training and coaching at an inexpensive rate. In 1975 SNSC became a not-for-profit organization with the goal to provide competitive skiing opportunities to youth, and the club celebrated its 50th anniversary last summer. Currently the club offers training and competitive opportunities in alpine skiing, freestyle skiing and snowboarding.
STOWE MOUNTAIN RESORT
A Rich Heritage of Alpine Excellence: The Mt. Mansfield Ski Club (MMSC) was founded in the 1920's and incorporated in 1934 as a non-profit, non-promotional organization whose purpose was to provide, maintain and improve skiing facilities on the eastern side of Mt. Mansfield.
Spurred on by the dedication and talents of Sepp Ruschp and CV Starr, MMSC grew into an amateur ski organization which served as the official sponsor of sanctioned competitive events. While ski and snowboard competition is a major focus of the club, coaching and the Junior Ski and Snowboard Programs have produced literally countless world-class winter athletes over nearly a century.
Some notable skiers include Billy Kidd, Chip Knight, Tiger Shaw, Peter Ruschp, Tanner Rainville, Jimmy Cochran and Ron Biederman. Some notable snowboarders include Bud Keene, Jenner Richards, Zach Leach, Kyle Clancy, Travis Kennedy, Jake Blauvelt, Colin Langlois and Ty Walker. Learn more at www.teammmsc.org.
STRATTON MOUNTAIN RESORT
Stratton Mountain Resort is home to one of the most extensive seasonal programs in the East, with 1,200 students annually as well as the highly competitive Stratton Mountain School (SMS). The first ski academy accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, SMS has a strong tradition of college preparatory academics combined with the most comprehensive and innovative training programs available to alpine and Nordic ski racers and snowboarders. Stratton Mountain Resort and SMS have grown 33 Olympians, 53 Olympic team placements, four Olympic medals and more than 130 national team placements.
Sugarbush is the alpine training facility of the Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS). A world class and nationally renowned ski academy, GMVS’s alpine training program produces the finest ski racers in the country. GMVS has placed numerous athletes on the US Ski team since its inception in 1973, many of whom obtained World Cup podium finishes and Olympic medals.
Adventure Skier and Warren Miller Film Star John Egan is on-staff at Sugarbush and available for private lessons and cat skiing adventures. World Cup Champion Freestyler David Babic skis at Sugarbush with his family, and offers occasional freestyle camps and consultation to Sugarbush’s freestyle team.
TRAPP FAMILY LODGE
The Trapp Family Lodge started a senior level nordic racing program during the 2011 season. The program’s goal is to assist elite level racers in their ski racing development. In doing so, the racers will be endorsing the Trapp Family Lodge on the New England, national and international racing circuits. The program also aims to spread the word about Trapp’s exceptional nordic racing and training facilities including its homologated race loop and its commitment to providing the most consistent and best skiing in the east. Trapp’s will be a go-to place for nordic racing excellence. The team consists of 6-8 male and female athletes. Learn more at www.trappfamily.com/VTXC or view last year’s race results.
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