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Tell It on the Mountain

Ski Schools Filled with Fairfielders



In addition to a full ski school, mountain schools offers intensive camps for snowboarding, alpine, and freestyle skiing.

Every year, a select group of Fairfield teens head north to attend one of the many “mountain schools” in Vermont, either as full-time boarding students, or as day students during the winter months. These dedicated student-athletes spend their days both on and off the mountain, and 12-plus hour days are the norm. But for these passionate kids, they can’t imagine it any other way.

Laura Shea, her husband, and their five children began this journey many years ago with week-long ski vacations to Smuggler’s Notch. “We noticed that skiing each day for seven days, they each got significantly better by the end of the trip,” says Shea. Soon they were looking into buying a home in Vermont. After a few winters of weekend programs, they decided to enroll the oldest two boys at the Okemo Mountain School, which runs from November through March. Students attending OMS begin the academic year at their home schools in Fairfield. After coordinating with teachers on this end, Laura moves up to Vermont with all the kids in tow so they could spend their winter at OMS.

Mornings consist of “dry-land” workouts and race training on the mountain, and afternoons are reserved for academics. Each evening the students have chores, then it’s home to bed. For those who do not have homes in the area, host families house the students during the season. Once the the ski season concludes, they return to Connecticut to complete the school year. “The families have been amazing,” says Shea, “and it’s great to see kids do what they love.” This coming year, four Sheas will be at OMS, and oldest son, Jack, will be a junior at the Burke Mountain Academy, a full-time boarding school in East Burke. BMA combines a rigorous academic curriculum with highly competitive race training. The school boasts grads including olympic gold medalist Mikaela Shiffrin (Sochi 2014), and many graduates go on to ski at Division I colleges, ski on olympic teams, and compete internationally. 

Another Fairfielder, Mackenzie Laurion, is currently a junior boarding at Green Mountain Valley School in Waitsfield. Students here also complete a rigorous academic schedule while training at Sugarbush Mountain. The school even fields competitive soccer and lacrosse teams in the off-season, in which over 60 percent of the students participate. During the winter months, there is a musical production and every student is involved. “Mackenzie didn’t want to give up her other sports, and here she will be well rounded,” says mom Alison.

“GMVS is the perfect mix of academics and athletics,” Mackenzie says. “This school can be very challenging, but I wouldn’t change a thing.” Like at other mountain schools, a big part of the experience are the training trips to places like Chile, Norway, and other locales that have snow when the northeast may not. “The entire school just picks up and travels with the kids,” says Alison. She notes that when considering such a program, “you really have to know your child.” The students have an incredibly demanding schedule, so passion is key. “Mackenzie cannot imagine not having this life,” she explains, “I miss her so much, but when I see what they are doing there, I know it’s the right thing for her.” 

Henrik deJounge became involved in the weekend program at Stratton Mountain School during his freshman year at Fairfield Prep. He was an avid free skier spending all his time in terrain parks, and became interested in getting formal training. When he asked to attend SMS as a full-time boarding student the following year, his parents initially said no. “Academics come first with us,” mom Nicola explains, “but after we agreed to visit, we were blown away by the caliber of the teachers and the way it was structured.” Although Henrik, now a senior, is not interested in pursuing free skiing professionally, he looks at his time at SMS as a unique “alternative high school experience.”

Mount Snow Academy was the program of choice for Roger Ludlowe Middle Schooler Henry Harding, who will attend this year after becoming intrigued by students he met while skiing at the Hermitage. “Many people who are new to this would consider the [non-residential] Friday programs, but our family just could not commit to being in Vermont every single weekend,” says mom, Jennifer, who has four other children active in various sports and activities. “Henry really wants to get better, so we said yes,” she continues. Like the Shea kids, Henry spent fall at school in Fairfield, and after working with teachers and the principal, will enroll at SMA for the winter session, returning at the conclusion of the ski season. “We are testing the waters and taking this year to year,” says Jennifer, “but are super impressed.”


GET EQUIPPED Don’t be fooled by the name, Cycleology in Fairfield has a full ski equipment service including rentals for the season, as does Kip’s Ski Shop on Fairfield Avenue in Bridgeport. Rental places urge reserving early to access the best selection.

 

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Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
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View map »


Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
Website »

More information

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Cost: $50-$360

Where:
Waveny Park
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: Free Admission

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Website »

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Join Grace Farms Foundation for an inspired conversation about how religion is portrayed in the media today. Journalists Wajahat Ali (New York Times and CNN contributor) and Michelle Boorstein (The...

Cost: Free

Where:
Grace Farms
365 Lukes Wood Road
New Canaan, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Grace Farms Foundation
Telephone: 203-920-1702
Contact Name: Regan Hayes
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Corteo, one of Cirque du Soleil’s most successful shows on record, comes to Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport for seven shows from July 18-22, 2018. Corteo, which means cortege in Italian, is...

Cost: Starting at $52

Where:
Webster Bank Arena (Bridgeport)
, CT


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Nature is on display in “A Reverence For Nature” with pieces that reflect the artists’ admiration of nature or the environment in a multitude of ways. Exhibiting artists include...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06854
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203-831-9063
Contact Name: Nadia Martinez
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Garden Menagerie Exhibition on view through August 25, 2018 during regular library hours Garden Menagerie, features a variety of works by Alex Sax and a selection of nineteenth-century books...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
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Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 120-325-9034615
Contact Name: Tracy Steneken
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The Bruce Museum spotlights the creative energy and vitality of fine art created by regional high school students in the 8th annual iCreate exhibition. Opening on June 9 and continuing...

Cost: Adults $10; Students and Seniors $8; Members and Children Under 5 Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Dr
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203.413.6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
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Fairfield Sidewalk Sale & Street Fair Saturday, July 21, 2018 10:00am-4:00pm, Rain or Shine First Selectman Mike Tetreau announced today that the Town of Fairfield and Fairfield...

Cost: free

Where:
Downtown Fairfield
Post Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Sponsor: Town of Fairfield & Chamber of Commerce
Telephone: 203-256-3120
Contact Name: Mark Barnhart
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A series of graphic novel-style panels designed by illustrator Kirk Manley tells the dramatic story of the spy ring that operated between New York City, Long Island, and Fairfield during the...

Cost: Members: Free; Adults: $5; Seniors & Students: $3; children 5 and under: Free.

Where:
Fairfield Museum
370 Beach Rd
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Mock Stock is going Metal in a nod to AC/DC, Guns N Roses, and Metallica.  Halfway to HELL (Tribute to AC/DC)- Halfway to HELL- AC/DC Tribute features a High energy stage show with two...

Cost: Tickets $20 in advance, $30 at the door.

Where:
Ives Concert Park
43 Lake Ave Ext
Danbury, CT  06811
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Sponsor: Ives Concert Park and Promotions in Motion
Telephone: 203-837-9227
Contact Name: Phyllis Cortese
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Lost In The Flood is a tribute to Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band Frank Bergonzi - Vocals Dave "Hatch" Hadshinow - Keys Joe Tomasulo - Organ Mark "Maff" Maffei - Drums...

Cost: Free

Where:
Levitt Pavilion
40 Jesup Road
Westport, CT  06880
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On June 23, the Bruce Museum in Greenwich opens Expressionism in Print: The Early Works of Richard Haas, 1957 - 64 in the Arcade Gallery. The exhibition will be on display through October 21, 2018....

Cost: Free for members; $10 for non-members; $8 for seniors and students with ID

Where:
Bruce Museum
1 Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Telephone: 203-413-6735
Contact Name: Scott Smith
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The Magpie Salute brings together the reunited guitar team of Rich Robinson and Marc Ford from the Black Crowes, bassist Sven Pipien (also from the Crowes) along with lead...

Cost: $48

Where:
Fairfield Theatre Company in The Warehouse
70 Sanford Street
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Egotistical leading man, director, and producer Fred Graham is reunited with his ex-wife, Lilli Vanessi, when the two are forced to play opposite one another in a new production of...

Cost: $50-$360

Where:
Waveny Park
70 Pine St.
New Canaan, CT  06840
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An irreverent, fast-paced romp through the Bard’s plays, The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) was London’s longest-running comedy having clocked a very palpable nine...

Cost: Free Admission

Where:
Christine's Garden
151 Main Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
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Corteo, one of Cirque du Soleil’s most successful shows on record, comes to Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport for seven shows from July 18-22, 2018. Corteo, which means cortege in Italian, is...

Cost: Starting at $52

Where:
Webster Bank Arena (Bridgeport)
, CT


Website »

More information

Garden Menagerie Exhibition on view through August 25, 2018 during regular library hours Garden Menagerie, features a variety of works by Alex Sax and a selection of nineteenth-century books...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 120-325-9034615
Contact Name: Tracy Steneken
Website »

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Hiking and practicing yoga outside in the fresh air leaves you feeling uplifted, centered, and peaceful! In warm weather months, we meet regularly in various parks and trails. Each event starts...

Cost: Three and Five Class Packages (3 times for $33, 5 times for $42)

Where:
Vary with each class
, CT


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Heather Gaudio Fine Artis pleased to present “Burn Baby Burn”, a group exhibition featuring works by Kathleen Kucka, Dennis...

Cost: Free

Where:
Heather Gaudio Fine Art
66 Elm Street
New Canaan, CT  06840
View map »


Sponsor: Heather Gaudio Fine Art
Telephone: (203)801-9590
Contact Name: Rachael Palacios
Website »

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