Brian Krill joins Sugar Bowl Academy as new head of school |

Brian Krill joins Sugar Bowl Academy as new head of school

Brian Krill, executive director and head of school.
Courtesy of Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy

Last fall, dozens of youngsters splashed paint on graffiti-covered granite atop Donner Summit while their peers picked up litter along trails near Old Highway 40.

The group wasn’t part of a local environmental effort nor were they knocking out hours of community service. Instead the more than 80 students were out for orientation day at Sugar Bowl Academy.

The day of cleaning and removing graffiti offered incoming students a taste of what the academy is all about as they engaged in work to better their community, while driving home the ideals of one of Sugar Bowl’s core tenants — personal growth.

That mission to develop student-athletes into individuals who are able to grow and succeed beyond its academy walls is what excited Brian Krill about taking over as new executive director and head of school.

“There’s been a lot of leadership turnover over the last five years,” said Krill, who officially started July 1. “Ultimately, I’m here to bring leadership and really get this organization to pursue what it set out to do from the get go.”

Krill has an extensive background in both skiing and education — having worked for several organizations around the country, including U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Western Colorado University, Jackson Hole Ski & Snowboard Club, and Crested Butte Academy. He has also interfaced with every major ski academy and ski club in the country while developing U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Club Certification Program, and said he plans on taking the best facets of those organizations and integrating them at Sugar Bowl Ski Team & Academy.

“What we’re doing now is laying the groundwork for what we’re going to look like three, five, 10 years down the road,” said Krill, who added that he envisions expanding and tying together the school’s academic and athletic departments.

“It’s athletics, academics and personal growth,” said Krill. “That excites me. You have to be innovative to do it. We want to have an innovative program that make kids that are not only going to succeed in college, but can go help change the world. That can go help make the world a better place because of what they learned being a part of this community.”

Part of that innovation includes the academy’s experiential education adventures that send students on exploits that have included everything from becoming SCUBA certified to building bicycles in Denmark. Sugar Bowl Academy is also one of only a handful academies or clubs in the country to offer a full college preparatory course load along with its ski academy.


Another aspect that makes the academy stand apart is its dedication to world class coaching, resulting in a laundry list of alumni who have gone on to compete beyond the high school level in alpine, Nordic, biathlon, and freeride.

“We’ve got coaches that have been on the U.S. Ski team,” said Director of Development and Outreach Lisa Omar. “They’ve skied at the national and collegiate level, so they know what it takes.”

In the classroom, Sugar Bowl’s small size and enrollment of roughly 80 to 100 students creates a ratio of roughly 10 students per teacher, giving youngsters more quality time with instructors.

Together, the two elements of sport and classroom make for a rigorous schedule of early morning training, class during the day, and studying at night.

“This isn’t the typical 15-year-old’s schedule,” said Krill. “They are up very early training, going to school all day, study halls at night. It’s a very high intensity program.”

While the heavy workload may not be for every student, Krill and Omar said it sets those attending Sugar Bowl Academy apart when it comes to being accepted and succeeding in college.

“Yeah, we get to train and ski basically every day,” said Krill. “We get to travel to races across the country, but not unless academic standards are met.”

Tuition to attend Sugar Bowl Academy can run into the tens of thousands of dollars. The academy, however, offers roughly $1 million each year in financial aid, which, according to Omar, makes up about 18% of its overall budget.

Many of the other programs Krill said he’s assessed tabbed between 3% and 7% of their budget for financial aid.

“We have the opportunity to allow these kids to realize their dreams,” added Omar. “If somebody wants it and they’re mission appropriate, we will figure out a way to offer them the ability to come. Our goal in awarding financial aid is to make this experience possible to student-athletes who want it.”

Ultimately, Krill said he envisions continuing to up the standards at Sugar Bowl Academy, using the intentional community as a model of innovation while tying together aspects of classroom work and athletic performance.

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Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at or 530-550-2643.

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