Fostering a Sense of Urgency for American Students

While watching the film, “On the Way to School”, one is reminded that children in other parts of the world often demonstrate more urgency towards education.  Sure, we can point at American children who are zealous about their school experience, but more often our kids consider school to be a mundane necessity.  This mindset is often a reflection of their parents’ primary school experience.  It leads to discussions in school staff meetings around ‘interests’.  How do we capture the genuine interests of our kids while still ‘covering’ the curriculum?  How can we increase student engagement?  How can we light the flame of learning for our kids?

Again and again, our staff has arrived at the value of individualizing the education experience for each child.  This is, of course, a significant challenge.  It is the same challenge a youth soccer coach faces when trying to improve their team.  It is the same challenge a CEO faces in developing his staff towards excellence.  It is harder than it looks and requires a strong teacher-leader in every classroom to develop methods of customization.  Fortunately, our teachers can begin to mass customize the learning experience through tools like Khan Academy, Mastery Connect, and through a flipped learning model – which puts the lecture on video for the kids to watch at night so that classroom time can be spent answering ‘capstone’ questions while developing unifying concepts.  Finally, schools can actually differentiate the learning product, process and content by utilizing assessments that expose the individual strengths of each child.

This paradigm shift in education may seem like insignificant news to personalities within our system who want nothing to do with change.   But, for those that have truly grappled with the implementation of a more customized education experience, the tools we have now are very empowering to educators and students.  By implementing a ‘one to one’ model, teachers can design lessons that are tailored to the specific interests of each child.  Feedback through an email or on a collaborative document can be provided outside the rigidity of a 70 minute time frame.  Formative assessments can be implemented in 3 minutes or less and can tell a teacher immediately what percentage of their kids have grasped a new concept.

If we want to see more engaged students in our schools then we need to determine what they are passionate about and stoke that passion.  Once kids are excited (and therefore listening), we can develop specific lessons that expose challenging real-world knowledge.  It is not enough, in a time of dramatic climate change, to study dozens of flashcards about carbon.  We must instead engage that subject in a way that creates real and meaningful change in our community.  Instead of just studying a polluted river we should act on our research and clean it up.  In doing so, kids will become more deeply connected and eventually excited about the topic.

The reason that kids from India and Morocco and Kenya are more urgent about their education is that they have been able to connect education with the welfare of their families.   It is time for American children to draw similar connections and the role of teachers in this process is critical.  We must think beyond the silly old charade that school has become over the last few generations and refocus on connecting lessons to real world problems in our community that require creative solutions.  We must infuse the most innovative technologies and see the world as a collection of problems that our children must begin to solve.  It is an exciting time – time to roll up our sleeves and get kids excited about improving the world.

Geoffrey Grimmer is the Headmaster of the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy.  He has been featured in Daily Edventures and is the reigning Maloit Park Tetherball Champion.

Press Release-June 25, 2016-SSCV Hires New Executive Director Kirk Dwyer to join the organization in June 2016

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV) just announced it has hired its next Executive Director, Kirk Dwyer.  Kirk will assume this role in June 2016, after serving out his 16th year as Headmaster of Burke Mountain Academy in East Burke, Vermont.  Aldo Radamus will continue to serve as SSCV Executive Director throughout the upcoming season.

Kirk has been the Headmaster of Burke Mountain Academy (BMA) for 15 years.   During that time he led BMA to become one of the premier snow sport academies in the country.  In addition to ensuring that the academic and snow sport programs ran smoothly at BMA, Kirk also coached athletes throughout his tenure, helping many of them attain the highest level of success in the sport.  Notably, Kirk was Mikaela Shiffrin’s primary coach during her time at BMA.

Prior to arriving at BMA, Kirk served in several capacities at Green Mountain Valley School over his 25 years there as Assistant Headmaster, Head Women’s Coach, Head Men’s Coach, and Head Alpine Coach as well as an English, humanities, and economics teacher.

Kirk was recognized as the USSA Domestic Coach of the Year in 1989 and also holds an International coaches’ certification.  Kirk was also involved in the broader snow sports community as past chairman of the USSA Eastern Development Committee, National Development Committee, and Eastern Alpine Competition Committee. His is currently a member of the VARA Board and the Eastern ACC Executive Committee.

Kirk and his wife, Robin, have a 17-year-old son, Chase, who will be a senior at BMA.

SSCV Board of Trustees Chair Glenn Davis shared, “There are  many outstanding qualities that position Kirk to lead Ski & Snowboard Club Vail through its next phase of development.  We are thrilled to have a person of Kirk’s experience and stature step in as the next leader of SSCV.”

Aldo Radamus, SSCV Executive Director, stated, “Kirk is one of the most highly regarded professionals in ski racing. Whether at Green Mt. Valley School or now at Burke Mountain Academy, Kirk has spent his career helping young men and women reach for their dreams.”

“I’m certain that Kirk will continue the more than 50 year legacy of excellence at SSCV and that the club and Vail Valley will be as supportive and provide as much fulfillment to he and his family as my family and I have been blessed with over the past 13 years.”

“I look forward to welcoming Kirk and his family to Ski & Snowboard Club Vail, introducing him to our community and working together for a seamless transition of leadership.”

Kirk Dwyer shared, “I am honored to have been selected to be the next executive director at SSCV.  I have great personal respect for Aldo and all he has accomplished, the strength of the multiple core snow sports, and the outstanding people involved.  SSCV is recognized on a frequent basis by USSA for its excellence as a club and the individual sports.  There are great opportunities for the future with the excellent academic programs in place, the Minturn Fitness Center, and the resources provided by Vail Resorts. The planned expansion of Gold Peak will allow for pre-eminence in on-snow training fundamental to future growth and achievement. I am excited by the opportunity to work with the board, staff, athletes and parents of SSCV.  We look forward to living in the Vail Valley and becoming part of the community.”


Moab Camp Recap


I wanted to put together a quick recap of our time in Moab. We were very happy with how the camp turned out. We did a lot of fun interesting things in a unique place. Here are a few pics that sum up of our adventures.

We did a couple sessions at the Bam Trail system, both running and riding. It also make for a great place to finish up a rollerski from town up the bike path.

We did a couple sessions at the Bar M Trail system, both running and riding. It also made for a great place to finish up a rollerski from town up the bike path.

We enjoyed our time up Mill Creek Canyon where this waterfall was. A lot of other people were there but it was still cool.

One of the best runs we did was up Hidden Valley south of town.

One of the best runs we did was up Hidden Valley south of town.

Above Hidden Valley you can see a number of pictographs. Here is a picture of the ladies with some behind them.

Above Hidden Valley you can see a number of pictographs. Here is a picture of the ladies with some behind them.

We did a 4hour run/hike out Pritchett Canyon and back on Hunter Rim Trail.

We saw a lot of different terrain out there. It was a hard day and everyone did great.

Group mountain bike ride at Dead Horse Point State Park. Great trails for all levels of riders.

Group mountain bike ride at Dead Horse Point State Park. Great trails for all levels of riders.

Thanks for checking it out!


2015-2016 SSCV Press Coverage

Colby Lange captures national titles in 2 sports-Ski Racing-August 16, 2015

Complete Results from Wednesday’s Davos Dash-Vail Daily-August 13, 2015

Pain and survival for all at the Davos Dash-Vail Daily-August 12, 2015

National University Team wraps up first project-Ski Racing-August 1, 2015

Son of Middle Creek Circuit complete results-Vail Daily-July 23, 2015

A skier switches mountains-Harvard Gazette-May 28, 2015

Friends remember Zeke Zdechlik, Nordic coach, father and husband-Vail Daily-July 22, 2015

Results from Wednesday’s Vail Grind-Vail Daily-July 16, 2015

Grind is a grind, but it’s finally ground-Vail Daily-July 15, 2015

Vail Daily Hits and Misses-Vail Daily-July 16, 2015

SSCV event honors season’s accomplishments-Vail Daily-July 13, 2015

Vail approves new skate park plan-Vail Daily-July 8, 2015

Cole Pates’ indoor skatepark offers lessons, night activities for youth-Vail Daily-July 7, 2015

Results from Wednesday’s battle at Bellyache-Vail Daily-June 25, 2015

Burke headmaster to succeed Radamus-Vail Daily-June 25, 2015

Cover Story-Vonn’s foundation debuts; Vonn kicks off non-profit with Vail event-June 24, 2015

New National Team Members Head to Rookie Camp-USSA News-June 17, 2015

Minturn Fitness Center offers metabolic testing to help craft fitness goals-Vail Daily-June 16, 2015

Familiar rivalries at Berry Creek Bash-Vail Daily-June 11, 2015

Growing the next generation of science stars-Vail Daily, June 14, 2015

Schools Celebrate Class of 2015; VSSA Grads Seek More Success-Vail Daily-May 23, 2015

‘Round up usual suspects’ for state soccer awards-Vail Daily-May 30, 2015

Mountain School Graduates 26-Vail Mountain School family celebrates transitions-Vail Daily-May 30, 2015

SOS Outreach celebrates graduates-Vail Daily-June 1, 2015

Press Release-Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Big Mountain Athletes Enjoy Success and Personal Bests at Junior North American Championships-April 17, 2015

With a brilliant, exciting, and blazing fast run at the International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) Junior North American Big Mountain championships at Grand Targhee last weekend Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Big Mountain athlete Jack Nichols of Edwards was able to do what no other skier from the Vail Valley has ever done, a podium finish among the best Big Mountain freeskiers in North America.  Jack finished the competition in second place based on his combined score for two runs.  In Friday’s qualifying round Jack found himself in sixth place in a field of 62, of which only half moved on to the finals on Saturday.  Finals took place on the same run with the scores for the competition being cumulative. Competitors are judged by 3 judges using 5 criteria:  1) Line Score; 2) Control; 3) Technique; 4) Fluidity (no pauses); and 5) Style and Energy.

Saturday’s finals were Jack’s last competition before heading off to Montana State University next year.  Jack was the sixth to last competitor to drop into ” Reliable”, a steep cliffed out face of 40-50 degrees with mandatory drop in air!  He flew off his top air, a 30 foot cliff, and a route that only Jack’s brother Kevin and his teammate Finn Anderson dared to take, and he proceeded to astonish the crowd with his speed, balance, and cat-like reflexes as he crossed into the finish coral. Jack’s second place at this final event of the season bumped him up to fourth place in the year end overall standings!

SSCV’s Austin Obourn of Edwards, in her first year of Big Mountain competition, was able to accomplish another first for the Vail Valley and Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.   Austin finished first in the 12-14 year-old girl category besting every girl in North America.   “A strong racing background which has helped to make her a great technical skier was instrumental in her consistent performance this year,” said Head Big Mountain Coach Nick Whittemore.

Also having a remarkable year for SSCV’s Big Mountain team was Vail local Finn Anderson. Finn finished fourth overall in the boys 12-14 year-old category.  Finn was on the podium in every event he entered this year leading up to the National Championships.

SSCV qualified the following eight athletes to the Championships in Grand Targhee last weekend, of whom seven competed.

  • 12-14 Girls-Austin Obourn and Alexandra Carey
  • 12-14 Boys:  Finn Anderson, Max Pierce, George Savin and Cade Cyphers
  • 15-18 Boys: Jack Nichols, Kevin Nichols

Of the seven who competed in the Championships, five qualified for finals. “I am incredibly impressed by the commitment these Big Mountain competitors have shown all season long.  Their training and ability has paid off this season to qualify them for this national level championship.   After an entire season of competing and training we saw a vast improvement not only in the difficulty of the line they were able to execute in their runs, but also the level at which they are all competing,” stated Whittemore.

Press Release-Rocky Mountain Freestyle Spring Cool Down at Vail-April 14, 2015

Olivia Giaccio saved the best for last to win the Rocky Mountain Freestyle Spring Cool Down this past Saturday at Vail.  Conditions were challenging for the season end event.  The moguls were firm from overnight freeze making the season end event a rough ride.  The field of more than eighty men and women featured top ranking skiers from the Eastern and Rocky Divisions including Nor-am winners and Junior National Champions. Giaccio came out hard in the first run with fast technical skiing and the best air scores of the day throwing back tuck to back flip with iron cross.  SSCV Teammate Lindsey Eckhoff stepped onto the podium in third place behind Winter Park’s Kelly Lawson 2nd place.  Olivia’s win capped a strong push to the end which included the U-15 win at Junior Nationals and a finals appearance at US National Championships.

On the men’s side, Winter Park’s Joel Hedrick was technical and precise and skied to the win. SSCV’s Alex DeBonville, by contrast, skied it fast and a little loose, blazing down Cookshack’s 217 meters two and then three seconds faster than any other competitor.  Turns and line, though, made the difference for Hedrick.  Team Summit’s Jason Tilley bumped his way into 3rd.

In Sunday’s Dual Mogul event, Trevor Wahl broke through for a career first overall win over Alex DeBonville in an all SSCV final.  Wahl skied smooth and clean to edge out the speedy DeBonville. In the women’s brackets, Tess Johnson won the final with Lindsey Eckhoff taking second and Morgan Harty in third for an SSCV sweep.

Press Release-Ski & Snowboard Club Vail athletes compete at USASA Nationals-Vail Daily-April 9, 2015

The United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA) Freeski Nationals took place at Copper Mountain on April 4-7.  Freeski athletes from throughout the country competed in their local regions in the hopes of qualifying for this national competition to compete in halfpipe, slopestyle, rail jam and skier cross events.

According to Ski & Snowboard Club Vail freeski athlete Connor Flynn who competed at USASA Nationals, “We had some great weather days.  It was exciting to see how high the competition level was this past week compared to prior years that I have competed here.  There were lots of talented kids throwing really difficult tricks.  It is exciting to see my sport progress at such a rapid pace, even at the development level at USASA Nationals.”

“The effort that was put forth by SSCV athletes over the four days at USASA Nationals was truly impressive.  The way they supported each other and worked so hard at the end of a long and rigorous season gives a clear view of character, courage and commitment,” stated Bob Sonntag, SSCV Freeski Coach.  “I am extremely proud of each and every one of them.”

Below is a list of results for SSCV athletes at USASA Freeski Nationals.  For a complete let if results go to .

(Skier Boys 10-12)
2 Noah Gionfriddo
3 Dylan Boyes
Skier Men (13-15)
2 Reagan Wallis
Skier Men (13-15)
7 Izak Little
10 Reagan Wallis
17 Jake Katzenberg
20 Pearson Black
22 Rory Swimm
33 Lawson Wooles
39 Michael Brown
Skier Boys (10-12)
6 Jack Ganley
14 Dylan Boyes
15 Noah Gionfriddo
16 Aaron Cook
17 Adam Eisenhauer
20 Owen Grimmer
21 Ari Diamond-Topelson
22 Kai Wember-Brown
35 Lachlan Crick
Skier Boys (9 & under)
2 Erik Jaerbyn
5 Whitton Hyde
Skier Girls (10-12)
3 Liv Moritz
5 Ava Surridge
7 Serena Gardner
8 Kjersti Moritz
Skier Girls (9 & under)
1 Roxy Surridge
Open Skier Men
10 Felix Coudouy
Rail Jam
Skier Boys (9 & under)
9 Erik Jaerbyn
21 Whitton Hyde
Rail Jam
Skier Girls (9 & under)
1 Roxy Surridge
Rail Jam
Skier Girls (10-13)
6 Kjersti Moritz
10 Ava Surridge
20 Liv Moritz
Skier Boys (10-12)
30 Dylan Boyes
41 Noah Gionfriddo
72 Aaron Cook
Skier Boys (9 & under)
5 Erik Jaerbyn
13 Whitton Hyde
Skier Girls (10-12)
12 Ava Surridge
Skier Girls (9 & under)
3 Roxy Surridge
Open Skier Men
6 Bobby Sonntag
7 Cole Pates
Skier Men (16-18)
14 Connor Flynn
Skier Women (13-15)
4 Roxanna Chaney
13 Katherine Harnick
Skier Men (13-15)
10 Reagan Wallis
18 Pearson Black
19 Rory Swimm
20 Izak Little
26 Halsey Lucas
Skier Girls (10-12)
2 Samantha Lindall
Skier Boys (10-12)
11 Noah Gionfriddo
12 Ari Diamond-Topelson
15 Jack Ganley
20 Dylan Boyes
Skier Boys (9 & under)
19 Dylan Chaney


SSCV Organizational Announcement from Chairman of the Board

It is with regret that I share with you that Ski & Snowboard Club Vail Executive Director Aldo Radamus will be ending his tenure at the organization at the end of next season, in April, 2016.   SSCV has been under Aldo’s thoughtful, visionary leadership for thirteen years.  His passion for enabling the youth of our community to pursue their dreams and learn lifelong lessons through the vehicle of competitive snowsports has left its mark in many ways not only on these children, but on the local community and visitors to the community.

During the next year Aldo will focus his efforts on the ongoing strategic initiatives of the Club which are in the planning and funding stages, including the Gold Peak expansion which will serve the needs of all SSCV snowsports athletes through expanded venues and snowmaking, the redevelopment of the clubhouse at its current site and the creation of an Opportunity Fund to further support scholarships.

Aldo will also continue to work closely with the SSCV Management Team and the Board of Trustees in supporting strategic programmatic issues such as coach development and financial aid.

We have Aldo’s vision and leadership to thank for professionalizing the organizational structure of SSCV in 2013 to create a management team that will enable the organization to continue to function seamlessly upon his departure.  Mike Trueblood, who was hired as SSCV’s General Manager in 2013 as part of this organizational restructuring, will manage the daily operations of SSCV moving forward.

The Executive Committee of the SSCV Board of Trustees will commence a search for SSCV’s next Executive Director in the next month.  More information will be forthcoming on that process.

This announcement would not be complete without reflecting upon the accomplishments of the organization during Aldo’s tenure as Executive Director.

Among them was the founding of Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy (VSSA) in 2007.  VSSA is the first public ski and snowboard academy in the country, the result of a partnership between SSCV and the Eagle County School District. The founding of VSSA enabled talented local snowsports athletes to remain in the Vail Valley while receiving an outstanding and affordable public school education.

SSCV’s relationship with Vail Resorts has risen to an unprecedented level of collaboration, including the expansion of Golden Peak for early season training.

It goes without saying that the strong relationship that SSCV has formed with the Town of Vail over the years has been instrumental in moving SSCV initiatives forward.

The Maloit Park Nordic Center also came on line through a collaborative effort with the Eagle County School District under his leadership.

A partnership was also developed with the Town of Minturn resulting in the Minturn Fitness Center opening its doors in August 2014, an 8,500 square foot human performance center not only serving the needs of elite snowsports athletes but also those of the community.

Aldo’s tenure also included the addition of several new snowsports programs at SSCV, and through a sponsorship developed with Alpine Bank SSCV was able to launch the Alpine Bank Get in the Gates Recreational Race Program this season providing a very popular avenue for alpine race enthusiasts of all ages to hone their racing skills at Vail Mountain.

Of utmost importance to SSCV is the growth of the Opportunity Fund to ensure that any child with a passion to pursue their dream in snowsports could fulfill their potential regardless of their means.

In May 2014, SSCV received an unprecedented number of awards and recognitions from the United States Ski and Snowboard Association -USSA Club of the Year, USSA Alpine Club of the Year, USSA Freeski Club of the Year, USSA Freestyle Club of the Year and USSA Snowboard Club of the Year.  SSCV also received the coveted USSA Gold Certified Club status in 2014 which was a reflection of the strength and strategic vision of our organization as a whole.

Aldo is deeply committed to supporting the orderly transition of leadership over the next year to assure that SSCV enjoys continued progress.  We thank Aldo for all that he has done for our youth, our community and the world of competitive snowsports during his time at Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.  His presence will be greatly missed, but we fully support his decision to move on to the next stage in his career in April 2016.

Glenn Davis

Chairman of the Board
Ski & Snowboard Club Vail