Sugar Bowl Academy orientation waves in 52 students |

Sugar Bowl Academy orientation waves in 52 students

Peyton Jobe
Special to the Sun

Sugar Bowl Academy opened the school year with 52 students, the largest-ever opening enrollment for this intentionally small day and boarding college preparatory ski academy at the base of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.

The Academy opened the 2013-14 school year fresh off a successful $13 million "Build Our Future" capital campaign to complete construction on a new 18,000 square-foot campus located in the Village at Sugar Bowl. New campus facilities will include a new academic building designed for some 75 student-athletes, housing eight classrooms (two of which will be state-of-the-art science labs), a co-ed dormitory for 33 student-athletes, and a joint-use strength and conditioning center in Sugar Bowl Resorts' new Sporthaus. Students and staff will transition into the new facilities in the late fall and early winter.

Classes started with new and returning students having already gotten acquainted through a three-day school wide orientation.

SBA orientation was held Aug. 21-23 in the Santa Cruz vicinity. SBA orientations in years past have been held as far away as Yosemite National Park and as close as Lake Tahoe.

This year's coastal orientation trip was based at Monte Toyon Retreat Center in Aptos, Calif. After arriving at Monte Toyon and moving into their bunk quarters Wednesday afternoon, student-athletes regrouped with their advisories and headed off for an afternoon of advisory bonding activities.

Advisory group activities included, among other adventures, some hands-on exposure on foot and in kayak to coastal ecosystems at the tide pools on Natural Bridge State Park, the beaches of Wilder State Park, and the wetlands of Elkhorn Slough.

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Advisory groups returned Wednesday evening and gathered by the Monty Toyon fireside to participate in the school's annual "String of Hopes" orientation event.

Each student and staff member wrote on hole-punched cards and then shared aloud a hope that he or she had for the SBA community this school year. The cards were then strung together and hung on one of the Monte Toyon bunkhouses.

Thursday's morning and afternoon orientation programming featured a variety of group experiential learning trips to more surrounding ecosystems and cultural venues. Student-athletes took in the Shakespeare play Henry V at Santa Cruz's Festival Glen, visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium, learned about the Point Lobos ecosystem, and surfed and boogie boarded on various Santa Cruz area beaches.

Thursday evening's orientation programming entailed some spirited group challenges on the Monte Toyon grounds.

Before heading home Friday evening, student-athletes, faculty, and staff hiked seven miles along the steep Rocky Ridge and Soberanes Canyon Trails to a scenic overlook within Garrapata State Park.

Sugar Bowl Academy educates student-athletes in grades seventh-12th who wish to pursue their passion for alpine, Nordic, or freeride skiing in an intentionally small college-preparatory teaching and learning community.

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