In this episode Nicole and Sarah host Tracy Keller, ski mom, and Head of School at Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) in Waitsfield, Vermont. Tracy shares her ski and career journey with us from racing at Dartmouth to her first job at Sugar Bowl Academy and finally to GMVS where she is the Head of School.
Tracy learned to ski when she was six at Pico Mountain in Vermont and started ski racing at a young age. She went on to ski at Dartmouth College and after college took a job teaching, coaching and dorm parenting at Sugar Bowl Academy in California.
Tracy clearly defines a ski academy - a high school (and in some cases middle school) designed for and to serve the needs of competitive ski racers. Most are independent schools, many have a boarding component.
Tracy gives some great advice on how to check out what a ski academy is like by attending a ski camp. While students can enroll as early as 7th grade at GMVS, many students do not start attending full time until 9th grade. Many academies offer winter term programs (typically 6th, 7th, 8th grade) starting in November through the ski season.
A ski academy is a good fit for a student that is passionate about skiing - they ski every day, in all weather, and you really need to love it. Students need to be resilient, hard working and have the ability to recognize that competitive skiing is a process. Another key factor is that the desire to ski competitively needs to be driven by the athlete and not their parents.
We also learn about a typical year at a ski academy - which can consist of international and domestic camp travel, on-site physical conditioning and local training.
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