Sugar Bowl Academy expands to include freeriding | SierraSun.com

Sugar Bowl Academy expands to include freeriding

Dan Savickas

The Sugar Bowl Ski Academy is expanding its boundaries on the mountain this school year. In the past, the academies primary focus beyond academics has been Alpine and Nordic ski racing. This year, a program called Steep and Deep will focus on free riding.

Last year, the academy ran a pilot program to see if there was enough interest to start a free ride program. Nearly 35 students signed up for the program.

“There’s been an increased interest in free riding over the last few years. Now we’re deciding to go for it and offer it at the academy,” said the Andrew Biederman, head of school at Sugar Bowl Academy.

The Steep and Deep program is being headed up by Eric Deslauriers. He will have a team of six other instructors working along him. Deslauriers is no stranger to the world of free riding. He has been featured in a number of Warren Miller and other ski films. Deslauriers is also the director and founder of the All Mountain Ski Pros at Sugar Bowl. In 1999 he was named as one of the top 100 ski instructors in America by Skiing Magazine.

In the Steep and Deep program, students will focus on free riding, slope style and half-pipe. Some of the students will be crossing over between racing and free riding.

“It will be a discipline designed for kids to compete in free ride events, or to improve their recreational skiing,” Biederman said.

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In the academy, students hit the books hard in the end of August through the fall. During this time, they also incorporate weight training and dry land activities.

When the snow begins to fall, students spend half of their day on the mountain and the other half in the classroom.

“This allows kids to pursue their passion for skiing and not sacrifice academics,” Biederman said.

The academy is open for grades seventh to 12th. Younger kids in fifth and sixth grade are allowed to attend during the winter team.