High Performance

Physical and Mental Health

Our High Performance program combines science, education, and intentional dryland programming using periodization and the progressive overload principle.  Fun and challenging activities inspire teamwork and commitment to ensure CVA athletes reach their highest athletic potential.
CVA is a Gold Certified club as awarded by United States Ski and Snowboard Assocation.  Gold-certification is for clubs that are Best in the World. These clubs serve as a model both organizationally and athletically, and are resources to the sport as a whole in the U.S.  Read more about our certification here

Tending to all aspects of health

Our belief: For a person to realize maximum athletic potential, all aspects of wellness, physical and mental health, must be considered and tended to on a regular basis.  

:  “A lifelong process of actively seeking to become aware of healthy choices and to take actions towards a healthy and fulfilling life; a conscious, self-directed, and evolving process of achieving full potential through attitude, followed by action.”  - The National Wellness Institute

:  “A state of complete mental, social, and physical well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.”  - World Health Organization, 1946

Physical Health:  A combination of fitness components (cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength & endurance, flexibility and body composition) and skill components (agility, balance, coordination, power, speed, and reaction time)

Teach and guide

The goals of CVA's High Performance (HP) program are:

1.) Teach athletes the importance of balancing all aspects of health and wellness. The HP director works with parents, students, coaches, athletic trainers, nurses, teachers, chefs, and administrators to attain this goal.  

2.) Guide athletes in attaining their highest athletic potential based on their current maturity, growth and development through dryland training and education. Attaining these goals will lead to student-athletes who will excel, not only in sports, but in any of life’s arenas.  

Although dryland goals are different for varying stages of athletes (beginner - elite), in order to attain their personal best, dryland training is a key component for athletes at any level. The base established in early dryland efforts provides the foundation needed to progress to the highest levels of competition.  

Our program is designed to ensure that this progression happens.  
Throughout the year dryland programming will focus on different aspects of physical health:
  • Summer - Cardiovascular & Muscular Endurance
  • Late Summer through Fall - Strength, Power and Skill Components 
  • Winter  - Maintenance and Recovery
  • Spring - Assessment, reevaluation, and education
Each year specific educational topics/projects will be chosen as a focus. Generally these topics will include:
  • Nutrition
  • Daily Wellness Questions
  • Managing Controllable Factors
  • Training Log Commitment

About our HP director, Shelby Downing

Shelby Downing grew up in The Forks, Maine, where she began her slalom kayak racing career. The world famous whitewater of the Kennebec River gorge was Shelby's playground; the Kennebec  is to Shelby what Sugarloaf is to CVA athletes. At 16 she was the top teenage slalom racer in the country. She also paddled the Kennebec river at the highest water level ever recorded. Shelby joined a gym to improve her upper body strength and within 6 months she was breaking teenage national powerlifting records. 
Shelby went on to represent the United States in 7 world powerlifting championships where she won a world championship, earned 25 out of 28 possible medals, and broke two world records.  Throughout her competitive powerlifting career she worked as a strength and conditioning coach for high school and college athletes.  And by the end of her competitive career she was coaching powerlifting at the national and international levels. Continuing to break barriers, Shelby was the first woman to coach a men’s world championship team and was the chair of the international women's committee. 
Shelby has a master's degree in Kinesiology from UMaine and never stops learning. 2020 marks her 5th year as Director of High Performance at CVA. Shelby was instrumental in the Academy earning the designation as a US Ski and Snowboard High Performance Center – one of only a few clubs in the country to achieve this high standard.