Looking for BS options with skiing for a racer with experience but who will not win medals

DS is in 7th grade and is starting to make his list for next year’s BS applications. We are looking for an academically challenging, but not overly competitive BS in the northeast that has a ski team. The problem is that we do not yet know whether the schools with ski teams typically have room for an average (at best) racer. He loves racing and does not want to give it up, but he is unlikely to turn into a top racer in the next year. Will Holderness, NMH, or St. Mark’s have a space for a kid like him on their teams? Does anyone have experience with this or any advice? It seems like a strange, not very flattering thing to discuss with a coach during the application process.

St Mark’s does not have an alpine skiing team. (or any ski team, for that matter).

I know Concord Academy has a ski team! I’m pretty sure most schools have a JV team for popular sports, so maybe he’d fit in there? I think you might find better information reaching out to schools directly, though.

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@buuzn03 Oops. I was looking at the wrong column. It looks like I meant Middlesex. Thanks. It is hard because I want him to consider St. Marks which looks fantastic, but he is adamant that he wants to ski.

@mondaydevil Thank you. The schools would be the best source, for sure. It just seems strange to reach out to discuss something that he loves, but it not very good at as our first contract.

Rather than an awkward conversation with a coach, you could try researching whether there is a jv or club level ski team that might be a fit.

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The Governor’s Academy in Byfield MA has a ski team that accepts all levels of skier. The school is small, inviting, with strong academics and about 35 minutes to Boston.

Time is on your side here. And admissions folks are super busy anyway for the next couple of months.
So, I might do a search on boardingschoolreview dot com with skiing as a sport. Then make a list of schools that fit your other criteria (co-ed/New England, or whatever). And then spend a week or two clicking onto the school websites. Check their athletics, and “outdoor” offerings. You’ll probably learn a lot just by doing this. Sure, you may have 30 schools to check, but why not? You might discover other elements about schools that are helpful. Also, just a thought – might be worth considering adding Colorado to your list?
Take notes. and then maybe in May or June or July, call or write 20-30 schools to ask about ski opportunities.

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I would actually look at schools that also have skiing as an EC/ club. There are many schools out there that do not have a ski team but have access to mountains/ski resorts and therefore, have an active recreational club. This may actually suit your DK better, because there will be no pressure to be competitive, yet he gets to continue to pursue something he loves.

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Berkshire has ski teams, fyi.

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@HMom16 and @Calliemomofgirls We have been researching “all” of the schools we can find with teams and we are definitely discovering so many other aspects of each school that are intriguing! The websites for some schools are not that helpful with respect to skiing opportunity because the JV team at one school might be full of a mix of skill levels, while at another school, it could be younger all-stars. It is definitely helpful if it openly advertises that it includes novice racers. We are feeling lucky that we have plenty of time to explore school this spring and summer before we get crazy with applications.

@FreddyLynn Thanks for the suggestion. We will take a look at Governor’s.

@buuzn03 Looking at the club list is also a great idea. Thank you!

@cinnamon1212 Berkshire is a perfect example of a school we cannot figure out. It has ski teams, but are the teams only for top racers? We cannot tell. There is a lot else to like about Berkshire though.

I am pretty sure the teams are not made up only of top racers, but my knowledge is anecdotal.

@cinnamon1212 We will take that as a good start and then confirm. Thanks for sharing what you know.

I know two not top skiers who liked Kents Hill and NMH. NMH looks quite serious on their site but I am not sure, based on my now very outdated experience, if it is exclusively so. They seem to field A, B, and Jv teams. In their league, DA also has an A and B team. If you look at the NEPSAC Alpine Skiing site, you can see who else participates. Milton, Concord, SPS, MX, Taft, LC, … This of course does little to explain how competitive the teams are but you can see a vast range of results (suggesting that even in the strongest group, there are weaker skiers).

Most of the kids I knew who wanted to ski at BS were the ones who ended up at the ski academies like Burke. Not being part of that world, I found their lives there to be nothing short of fascinating. And when I look at the rosters at the colleges they attended, I don’t see many kids from the more traditional schools.

There is no harm, if you like everything else about the school, in adding it to your list and then in asking admissions outright how inclusive the program is.

Proctor Academy has their own ski area. I don’t believe you have to be Olympic bound to be on the ski team.

Have you looked into Northwoods Academy? They are in Lake Placid. I don’t know if they are strictly for top notch skiers or if they field all levels, but you might check them out.

Northwoods is a good thought, but my impression (from boys soccer) is that it is heavily focused on athletics, with academics being secondary.

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@gardenstategal The NEPSAC list is really helpful, as is your intel, even if things may have changed. Yes, we are definitely avoiding the ski academies, but they are fascinating! And though don’t want to be driven by skiing, I’d hate DS to be forced give up something that he loves just because he isn’t a nationally ranked athlete in that sport.

@Meisan We are in the process of getting some more information about Proctor. Thank you.

@buuzn03 and @cinnamon1212 DS loves participating in sports, but is definitely has other loves, including academics and band. A sports-focused school is more than he wants, but thank you. It was interesting to check out their website.

@NHMomof1girl1boy Middlesex has a good ski team, and while I wasn’t a part of it, I know that it has a great atmosphere and a pretty close knit team (both varsity and JV). The JV team has had some people who have had barely any ski-ing experience freshman year and still had a place on the team and worked on their skill. If your DS is average at ski-ing I’d say he would be able to get on JV and would have to go up the ladder to get to varsity.

Also p.s. I’m not sure of the rankings and I know sometimes we have really good years and sometimes its just ‘meh’, so if thats important you’d probably need to search it up. But the 3 years I was there, if you wanted to be on the ski team, JV worked to accommodate a spot.

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LOL. This is my daughter EXACTLY. Ski racer, has won quite a bit at the U12 level but expecting a big shock now moving up an age bracket. I don’t think she has the innate talent or insane focus needed to race at an elite level but she loves ski racing and absolutely wants to continue it, along with rowing, throughout high school. I would say we’d be looking for the school with the best academics with BOTH skiing and rowing opportunities.

Sounds like Deerfield and Middlesex are two to look at; are there more?

@ProfMomof3 , read upthread. Definitely more!