As the 2019-20 ski season comes to a close, it’s already time to start looking ahead at next season. Thinking about joining a club program for the first time, or considering a traditional academy option? For those parents and athletes looking to step up their ski racing career next season, Ski Racing Media has compiled a guide of eastern, western, and internationally based academies that could be your next home for the winter. Below is a list of western options.

Alpine Race Academy

  • Ski Area: Loveland Ski Area
  • Academy Location: Base of Loveland Ski Area

The Alpine Race Academy at Loveland Ski Club is a year-round program designed for the development of U12 to FIS level athletes. With the goal of five athletes per coach, the staff is able to provide each kid with enough attention to really cater to their individual needs. In addition, each training group is capped at two coaches and ten athletes to ensure each athlete gets the attention they need. Each Academy athlete’s skis are tuned at a national team level on a daily basis by the Academy’s in-house serviceman, who also travels to all critical races with the staff and athletes to ensure racers always bring their best to the hill. The summer portion of the program focuses on excursions, such as camps in Europe and New Zealand, in addition to the continuation of their year-round strength and conditioning.

Alpine Race Academy’s partnership with Loveland Ski area allows for athletes and staff to have access to dedicated training and race venues that have become a benchmark for surface prep in Colorado. Loveland often opens in early October and closes mid-late June, meaning there is ample amount of time within the year for athletes to get top of the line on-snow training.

When it comes to education, each athlete is provided with a list of options that support their individual needs. Locally, Alpine Race Academy has access to Jefferson County/Evergreen schools that cooperate with their racing program at the academy. Older athletes have the option of studying online through Laurel Springs School programs, offering a bit more flexibility in schedule, but just as much of a challenge as a regular schooling program.

For more information on Alpine Race Academy visit our academy directory or Loveland Ski Club’s website.

Picabo Street Academy

  • Ski Area: Park City Mountain Resort, Utah Olympic Park
  • Academy Location: Park City, Utah

Picabo Street Academy wants to offer athletes a chance to reach their performance potential without compromising their academic future. By operating on a year-round rolling enrollment program, athletes and their families have the ultimate flexibility in developing their pathway. Personalized school scheduling is built around each student’s training and race plan, so school can be integrated within their sport without compromising quality. Plus, schedules can be adjusted based on time of year. Students work with academic advisors to determine their schedule – when, what, and how much they will study throughout the year. This model allows for local and distance students to come to school in Park City and then take school with them wherever they are in the world. Picabo Street Academy is not affiliated with a particular sports club, allowing PSA to provide schooling opportunities to a wide variety of winter and summer athletes, seeing as various schedules can be accommodated.

For more information on Picabo Street Academy, visit our academy directory or PSA’s website.

Rowmark Ski Academy

  • Ski Area: Park City Mountain Resort, Utah Olympic Park, Deer Valley, Snowbird, Alta, Solitude
  • Academy Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Rowmark Ski Academy aims to provide the best possible program for athletes to develop as elite ski racers, engaged students, positive role models, and contributing members of society. Romark aims to create a complete student-athlete by ensuring that technique, tactics, physical conditioning, sports psychology, teamwork, and citizenship are emphasized aside from academics and athletics. As a division of Rowland Hall, Rowmark takes pride in their academic capacities, less than an hour away from some of the best skiing the country has to offer. A total of 16 AP courses available has earned Rowland Hall the honor of being ranked the No.1 private school in Utah. Over half of graduates are offered scholarships to colleges and universities across the country, such as Dartmouth, Middlebury, Harvard, Bates, Colby, University of Denver, University of Vermont, University of Utah and more.

Having access to the new Utah Olympic Park Alpine training venue in Park City is a huge advantage. In addition to multiple other training venues, the Olympic Park is entirely dedicated to training and developing World Class athletes on FIS approved slopes. Rowmark played a large role in raising funding for the Olympic Park and in turn, has a large say in how the snow surface is built and maintained.

For more information on Rowmark Ski Academy, visit our academy directory or Rowland Hall’s website.

Squaw Valley Academy

  • Ski Area: Squaw Valley
  • Academy Location: Base of Squaw Valley Ski Area

Squaw Valley envisions their graduates as three main things: an educated individual who has the motivation and skills to succeed in college, a healthy individual who continues to challenge themselves and thrive in sports in adventure, and a social individual who understands the value of community, leadership, and personal responsibility. In collaboration with the Squaw Valley Ski Team, SVA strives to bring students a sports education that generates self-motivation on and off the hill. Training programming takes into account that each athlete is different, and factors the development of kids into it’s training to establish full range of motion for safety, mobility, joint stability, and muscular development, in turn adjusting imbalances before athletes have the opportunity to be injured. One of the main goals of SVA is to reduce the risk of injury and the severity of potential injuries while maximizing skill development and performance.

Academically, the student’s schedule mirrors that of non-athletes in the fall. In the winter, while traveling for competition, students keep on top of their academic commitments with the help of designated travel tutors, personal Macbook Airs with ebooks, digitized assignments, and monitored study halls. In the spring, it’s back to “almost normal” with some afternoon training factored into the mix. The Sierra Nevadas are also a great place to learn about the outdoors and explore other activities, from paddleboarding on Lake Tahoe, to hiking the Pacific Crest Trail.

For more information on Squaw Valley Academy, visit our academy directory or Squaw Valley Academy’s website.

Sugar Bowl Academy

  • Ski Area: Sugar Bowl
  • Academy Location: Base of Sugar Bowl, Norden, California

Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy is a supportive and inclusive community with a team-orientated atmosphere. SBA recognizes that each athlete has different needs based on their current level of development. SBA’s goal is to serve these needs and move the athlete forward, all while feeling the support of the community. SBA believes in developing strong character, confidence and resilience to create well-rounded student-athletes that carry integrity, empathy, work ethic, accountability, perseverance, and adaptability – the tools needed to lead purposeful lives.

Student-athletes experience the best of a small learning environment in the midst of epic ski terrain. During competition season, athletes are on-snow five to six days a week either training or racing. SBA ensures to factor video analysis, physical recovery, and equipment maintenance into the student-athletes schedule in addition to snow training. Summer camps for full-time students aim to have athletes on snow for 60 days prior to the season, which can lead them to other local mountains, national mountains, or aboard. SBA knows one size does not fit all and encourages its student-athletes to create a schedule that works best for them. Small class sizes and a close-knit community enable SBA student-athletes to connect with teachers who push students to make connections between subject matter, the reach world, and the environment in which they live and learn.

For more information on Sugar Bowl Academy visit our academy directory or Sugar Bowl Academy’s website.

Sun Valley Ski Academy at Community School

  • Ski Area: Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain, Dollar Mountain
  • Academy Location: Sun Valley, Idaho

Sun Valley Ski Academy sits just five minutes from a world-class mountain in the midst of a small town with a big culture. SVSA student-athletes live a well-rounded student life at the Sun Valley Community School, a reputable college preparatory school with a top-in-class Outdoor Program that takes students out into the west, whether it be the Oregon Coast, the Idaho wilderness, or the deserts of Utah. SVSA is the academy for students who love the arts and the outdoors in addition to winter sports. Their Creative Arts Academy and Outdoor Leadership Academy offer students a wide range of activities, outside of academics and athletics.

When it comes to athletic’s, Sun Valley’s Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain are home to SVSA’s training venues. Rotarun Ski Area in Hailey, just 15 minutes south of Sun Valley is the program’s newest addition. The area is currently being built out with full snowmaking capacities to expand SVSA training opportunities. In addition to on snow facilities, SVSA has access to the Julia Argyros Training Center (located at the Rufus M. Brown residence hall where SVSA’s boarding students reside), home to an on-campus sports specialist there to help athletes have a well-rounded fitness regiment.

For more information on Sun Valley Ski Academy at Community School visit our academy directory or Sun Valley Ski Academy’s website.

Team Summit at the Peak School

  • Ski Area: Arapahoe Basin, Breckenridge, Copper Mountain, or Keystone
  • Academy Location: Frisco, Colorado

The Peak School is a private school based in Frisco, Colorado that combines personalized, progressive education with high academic expectations. The community is built around 10 common principles that shape the values of students from the classroom to the backcountry. With four world-class ski areas within 30 miles of campus, there is plenty of space and terrain for students to learn on the mountain, with a fixed schedule structure that minimally impacts training. Full-time student-athletes have more on-snow at-home training days than any program in the country. On the road, students can access their classrooms via Google classrooms, so classes can be attended remotely. Team Summit athletes and Peak School students also have access to a distinguished Outdoor Education Program, as well as the arts, allowing students to explore a myriad of athletic endeavors while creating a diverse community of learners. Students have the opportunity to create their own educational experience that can accommodate athletic travel and competition throughout the calendar year.

For more information on Team Summit at the Peak School visit our academy directory or Team Summit’s website.

Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy (VSSA)

  • Ski Area: Vail Ski Resort
  • Academy Location: Minturn, Colorado

Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy (VSSA) gives 5th to 12th-grade student-athletes the opportunity to pursue their athletic dreams without compromising their academic priorities. In collaboration with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV), the academy has become the first public ski and snowboard academy in the country, offering full-time training for alpine, big mountain, freeski park and pipe, mogul, Nordic, snowboard, and cycling for its student-athletes. Up to 75 percent of athletic program fees are eligible for financial aid based or financial need.

Expanded terrain at SSCV’s on hill training venue at Golden Peak in Vail is less than 15 minutes away from the academy. That means less than 15 minutes to access a brand new surface lift, three new alpine trails equipped with roughly 30 new snowmaking fan guns, equating to 42 new acres of trail space. This doubles alpine training space and provides an additional 600 vertical feet, amounting to more than 1,500 total vertical drop for athletes to hone their skills. SSCV has it’s own dedicated snowcat and operators, so all training venues stay in tip-top shape at all times. Nordic athletes enjoy a FIS-homologated trail system adjacent to VSSA in Minturn.  

In addition to top-notch on-snow training facilities, SSCV has a human performance group based at the Minturn Fitness Center, an 8,500-square-foot state of the art facility adjacent to VSSA. The club offers elite slopeside technical services, including a brand-new Wintersteiger Mercury fully automated tuning machine. A trampoline room at VSSA, and a new clubhouse at the base of Golden Peak round off a large list of amenities that VSSA has to offer.

For more information on Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy, visit our academy directory or Ski Club Vail’s website.

Winter Sports School

  • Academy Location: Park City, Utah
December 11, 2017 – Jackson, WY: a FIS Giant Slalom on Snow King Mountain.

The Winter Sports School of Park City, Utah is a public tuition-free charter school for Utah residents and a tuition-driven institution for out-of-state students. Student-athletes from around the country who choose to continue training and competing in season with their home sports clubs can also be accommodated into the Winter Sports School’s programs because the school itself does not offer sports training or competition. Students select their own club affiliation. The majority of athletes that attend the school compete with Park City Ski & Snowboard, but others have chosen to race with Buck Hill, Snowbird Ski Education Foundation, Team CLIF Racing Academy, and Schweitzer Alpine Racing School among others.

A unique April to November calendar provides the balance and support student-athletes need to focus on academics when in school and on their chosen sports when the season is in session. Students can participate in training and competing wherever they please, which is why the school is able to support local and national athletes. The Winter Sports School fosters a lifelong appetite and aptitude for pursuing mastery in whatever challenge life throws at them. Alumni have gone on to compete and win at the Olympic, World Cup, National, Collegiate, and junior level, including Mr.GS himself, Ted Ligety.

For more information on The Winter Sports School, visit our academy directory or The Winter Sports School’s Website.http://www.wintersportsschool.org/

This is a sponsored article developed in conjunction with our partners.

Associate Editor – Born and raised in Metro-Detroit, Michigan, Mackenzie grew up ski racing all over the Mitten.​ She moved out west in search of mountains and attended the University of Oregon, where she achieved degrees in Journalism and Environmental Science. She raced USCSA and was captain of the UO Alpine Ski Team. She currently resides in Salt Lake City and serves as Associate Editor for Ski Racing Media.