News about summer reading

At Carrabassett Valley Academy, there is no off-season, true for both athletics and academics.  Students recently received their summer reading assignments, to be completed by the first day of classes on September 2nd.  The English teachers have chosen novels they believe will capture the interest of their outdoors-loving students, and have included comments below about why they chose the books they did.  


8th grade Humanities with Kristen J. Davis

Enrique’s Journey: The True Story of a Boy Determined to Reunite with His Mother (Adapted for Young People) (2013) by Sonia Nazario, a Pulitzer Prize winner. A modern-day “odyssey” of a teen in search of familial love and a place to call “home,” this text will serve as an introduction to our course’s focus on the successes, failures, and continuing challenges of various groups of people who have existed on the North American continent.

From Kristen: “This is a popular, effective, fun, exciting text told from the perspective of a 15 year old boy.  The immigration issue is very relevant now. There’s a website for updates and pictures for Enrique’s family, the story feels immediate, relevant, and real.  This book is part of a larger theme for Humanities focused on American History including native Americans, civic/US history, and Salem witch trials.”

9th grade English with Ainsley McClachrie

Michael Finkel’s The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit. The biography tells the story of Christopher Knight, the ‘North Pond Hermit’, who lived in the Maine woods for 27 years without any human contact. 

From Ainsley: “This recent best seller will be a great way for students who aren’t originally from Maine  to get to know more about our state and its rural nature. It’s well written and well researched, a good model for curiosity and thoroughness.  It will be challenging for 9th graders, but will be followed by another challenging text: Romeo & Juliet. The book will be interesting enough to grab kids attention during the summer, and then get them in the right mindset for the beginning of the school year.”

10th Grade English with Lucas Milliken

Daniel James Brown's The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics

From Lucas: “This book is beautifully written and fun to read.  It’s about college athletes on a rowing team, achieving their goals and working hard.  It’s also about surviving depression, Nazi Germany, and cultural prejudice, all woven together into a story that feels good in the end.”

11th Grade English with Ainsley McClachrie

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer 

From Ainsley: “This story is relatable for students at our ski academy, and is an interesting portrayal of nature in American literature.  I’m passionate about mountaineering and can recommend many other books to students and people who enjoy this one. This book will lead us into further exploration of Puritans, the American West, and the concept of mountains, oceans, and caves as the final frontier.”


12th Grade English with Kristen J. Davis

Little Brother (2008) by Canadian author Cory Doctorow. The novel is set in contemporary San Francisco and follows teen tech whiz Marcus through a terrorist attack, interrogation, and hacktivist subversion of the newly established police state.

From Kristen: “This book is exciting and current, fast paced adventure, a good summer read.  The dystopian theme is very relevant right now. When I’ve taught it in the past, it sparked debate & students liked it.  This text will lead us into issues about privacy, security, government overreach, constitutional rights, and how young people can play a role in activism even if they’re not old enough to vote.  We’ll discuss central questions like what is justice, what makes a happy or unhappy society, with a world focus.”


CVA is still taking applications for Winter Term, a 5-month season for 7-12th graders in our fully integrated and balanced academic and athletic community. FMI contact Erin Whipple, Director of Enrollment, at or (207) 237-4466.


June News from CVA

Please enjoy this June 2019 edition of "The Spillway" with news from Carrabassett Valley Academy.


Under a sunny blue sky at the base of Sugarloaf mountain, 17 seniors graduated from Carrabassett Valley Academy on Saturday, June 1st. Learn more about the events of the day, and see photos on our website

"Big Dog" Awards Luncheon

About 250 students, family members, coaches and faculty gathered in the gym of the Anti-Gravity Center (AGC) to honor students from all grades and disciplines with academic and athletic awards at the annual awards ceremony.  A delicious buffet lunch was served and every student received a personal note card signed by CVA staff. Many awards were given, see a list of recipients and view photos online

Senior Banquet

The annual senior banquet was held at the Sugarloaf Base Lodge, with the reception on the Beach and dinner in the King Pine Room. The Denny Flag Award was presented, students spoke, and a toast was given. The evening ended with the annual Senior Slideshow - a fan favorite walk down memory lane.

Future Plans for Graduates

This year’s senior class has big plans for attending college, and many will continue skiing or snowboarding as part of their college experience. Learn more about where these Big Dogs are headed next!


A Selection of Recent Athletic Highlights: Alpine, Freestyle, Snowboarding, and Backcountry


Congrats to Ella Spear '19 for being invited to this summer's U.S. Ski and Snowboard Eastern Region Alpine UNI and FIS project in La Parva, Chile. Only the top 10 collegiate skiers and top 10 JR skiers in the region got the invite!



Congratulations to Freeride team members Ben Malone '19 and Osten Duncan '22! Out of more than 2000 Freeride competitors Ben and Osten were invited to compete at this year's North American Freeride Championship at Kicking Horse Resort. Every year this competition brings together the top 1% of IFSA competitors from across North America, to test their skills on one of North America's most challenging faces. This year was no different - Ben and Osten competed on the Ozone face, the same course as this year's Freeride World Tour. The face drops 384 meters at an average pitch of 44 degrees. Cliffs from only a few feet to over a 100 stripe the face. The face is a favorite venue of the riders on the FWT for the variety of terrain, the steepness and the challenge.


Snowboarding / Skicross

Congratulations to the following athletes who earned a spot at the 2019 Project Gold Snowboardcross / Skicross Camp, on Mt. Hood in Oregon: Snowboardcross - Emma Downing '19, Theo McLemore '21 and Zachary Stewart '19. Skicross - Brighton Bradford '21, Eli Derrick '20, and Weekend Program athletes Gannon Stewart and Stuart Whittier.  Project Gold athlete selections include top finishers from the HoleShot, USASA Nationals, and select other athletes who had outstanding performances this season. Project Gold athletes are invited to train with the U.S. Snowboarding Team, along with the best coaches from across the country.



The Backcountry team traveled to La Grave in February.  It's a village nestled underneath the north face of the 13,000-foot-tall La Meije, seemingly unchanged by skiing’s modern amenities. Without towering hotels, chain restaurants, modern chairlifts, or large grocery stores, La Grave has kept the feel of old France while offering some of the best lift-accessed big mountain and backcountry skiing in the world. For more about the trip, and photos of their steep lines, deep powder and ski adventures, visit the Backcountry Facebook page.

For more season highlights:

Check out the “CVA Wrap Up” in the most recent edition of the Sugarloaf Ski Club newsletter



Race Administrator and Chief of Timing Laurel Lashar is the latest recipient of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Thelma Hoessler True North Award! CVA is so grateful for Laurel and all she does for our athletes, coaches and resort. Congratulations Laurel on this well-deserved award! 

Trampoline & Skateboarding Camp

Come and see what all the fun is about at CVA’S 2019 summer trampoline and skate camps.  Join CVA's Director of Snowboarding, Todd Johnson, Former U.S. Halfpipe team rider, Michael ‘Goldy” Goldschmidt, and guest coach - CVA’s Director of Freestyle, Nate McKenzie - for some fun filled weeks of summer camp packed with trampoline and skateboard action!  





Community Service Activities

Students participated in three community events this spring: Mountain Clean-Up, Route 27 Roadside Clean-Up, and Marathon Water Stop.  Community service has been CVA's tradition for over 35 years!

Annual Fund

The June drive kicked off with an online Day of Giving (DoG) on June 1st, celebrating the graduates with videos throughout the early morning, commencement updates and a Facebook Live session showing graduates celebrating with their family and friends.


Your gift to the CVA Annual Fund directly benefits student-athletes by expanding our scholarship program, funding the athletic and academic programs, and supporting our talented coaches and teachers. Please make your tax deductible gift by June 30 to be included in the 2018/19 fiscal year. FMI contact Melissa Fogg at or visit

"Past, Present, and Future" Summer Event

Save the Date! CVA is hosting past, present and future CVA athletes and their families at the Portland Yacht Club on July 20th.  Join us for an afternoon of food, drinks, boats, ocean air, games and fun, more details coming soon!


Carrabassett Valley Academy brings on new Snowboard Program Director 


July 2, 2018 – Carrabassett Valley, Maine. Carrabassett Valley Academy is excited to announce the hiring of Todd Johnson as the new Snowboard Program Director. Johnson will take over responsibilities from current Snowboard Program Director, Alex Tuttle, as he moves on to a new role as Head Coach of the U.S. Adaptive Boardercross team.

Many familiar with the CVA Snowboard program will recognize Todd’s name, as he spent several years as a coach at the Academy. Todd then expanded his coaching experience as Head Coach with Team Utah Snowboarding, Head Coach of the Belgium Paralympic Snowboard Team, and more recently as the Head Snowboard Coach at Hebron Academy in Maine. Todd is also a U.S. Army veteran and USSA/USASA Level 300 coach. 

CVA Head of School, Kate Punderson said of Todd’s return, “Todd began his coaching career under the guidance and mentorship of former CVA Snowboard Program Director, Mike Mallon. He has also worked closely with outgoing Director, Alex Tuttle over the past few years. Todd shares both Mike’s and Alex’s coaching philosophy on long-term athlete development and personal growth. He will seamlessly pick up the reigns of the program and build of the tradition of success of CVA Snowboard and Ski Cross programs.”

Todd will begin transitioning to his new role immediately.



Carrabassett Valley Academy continues building excellence in Alpine Coaching Program

Announcing the hiring of Sean Chatellard as Head Coach for U19 Men’s Alpine 


April 30, 2018 – Carrabassett Valley, Maine. Carrabassett Valley Academy is excited to announce the hiring of Sean Chatellard as Head U19 Men’s Coach. Sean returns to CVA after spending the past two seasons coaching Division 1 athletes with the Colby College Ski Team. Prior to his role with Colby, Sean spent time coaching with the Aspen Valley Ski Club, and for two years as an Assistant Coach here at CVA, working with our U19 and U16 men’s teams. 

Sean returns to the valley with his fiancé Morgan, and we are delighted to welcome them both in to our community. Sean is a dedicated, professional coach and is eager to plant roots in this area. He is committed to ensuring the quality and strength of our storied alpine racing program.

CVA Alpine Program Director, Garrett Lashar said of Sean’s return, “I look forward to having [Sean] return to CVA as a staple and leader here within our team. And most importantly, I know he will have an immense impact on our current and future athletes.”

Sean commented, "I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to come back to CVA in a leading role and joining such an amazing team for my next coaching chapter! I am very eager to see what the future holds, and I am very glad to be back in the Valley."

Welcome back Sean! 


New partnership marks exciting chapter for CVA and Sugarloaf

CVA and Sugarloaf receive US Ski & Snowboard Team High Performance Center and Team Development Site designation



CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine – Through a recent partnership with the U.S. Ski & Snowboard, Carrabassett Valley Academy (CVA) and Sugarloaf have been designated as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Development Site and Team High Performance Center. U.S. Ski & Snowboard serves as the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding and the parent organization of the U.S. Ski Team, U.S. Snowboard Team and U.S. Freeski Team. 

This collaboration, with the ongoing support of the Sugarloaf Ski Club and the Town of Carrabassett Valley, marks the beginning of a new era for the winter sports academy and resort, located in the mountains of Western Maine.

“This begins an exciting new chapter in the school’s storied evolution. The partnership lays the foundation for providing our student-athletes with an unmatched level of training support and opportunity for success within their disciplines,” said Head of School, Kate Punderson.

Athletes will have access to exceptional on-hill training at Sugarloaf, and dry-land training thanks to the generosity of the town [of Carrabassett Valley], which will provide free access to the Anti-Gravity Complex.

“Since the FIS World Cup in 1971, Sugarloaf has been a proving ground for the nation’s top skiers and snowboarders,” said Sugarloaf General Manager, Karl Strand. “From Bode Miller to Kirsten Clark and Seth Wescott, many of the country’s greatest athletes have cut their teeth right here in Carrabassett Valley, and we are honored to open our doors to the next generation of competitive snowsport athletes as a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Team Development Site and High Performance Center.” 

As a High Performance Center, CVA will collaborate with U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s Park City-based Center of Excellence and other high performance centers to share best practices in strength and conditioning, sport science and sports medicine and serve as a site to host training and education sessions for  clubs in the region. As a U.S. Ski  &  Snowboard Team Development Site, Sugarloaf will provide on-hill training days for regional and national development projects, as well as access for U.S. Ski Team athletes.

“These partnership programs have provided hundreds of our regional and national athletes with the training opportunities they need to take their performance to the next level,” said U.S. Ski & Snowboard President and CEO Tiger Shaw. “The facilities at CVA and Sugarloaf will be invaluable resources for our national teams and local clubs as we prepare for the Olympic season and beyond.”

Carrabassett Valley Academy is one of just 8 recently named programs in the United States that has been identified for partnership with U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s high performance team. The partnership opens the door for members of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Teams to train at CVA athletic facilities. It will also provide CVA with the unique opportunity to collaborate with other clubs who have received the partnership status, as well as U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s high performance team, to establish age-appropriate training progressions and fitness benchmarks designed to help young snow sport athletes reach their maximum potential.   

“U.S. Ski & Snowboard’s High Performance Team will be an invaluable resource for the school,” notes CVA High Performance Director, Shelby Downing. She continues, “It is a great advantage, not to mention huge inspiration, to be able to see U.S. team members in action, in the gym, and on the fields.”

Carrabassett Valley Academy's training facility, the Anti-Gravity Complex, boasts strength training venues, trampolines, an indoor skate park, basketball court, spin and yoga room, and climbing wall.  Outdoor training sites on campus include additional trampolines, a soccer field, track, and slack line area. 

CVA students and U.S. team members will also have the opportunity to experience world class mountain biking, white water rafting, canoeing, hiking along the incomparable Appalachian Trail, as well as sea and white-water kayaking.  All of these resources provide outstanding dryland training opportunities.



CVA and Sugarloaf announce new, on-hill training enhancement


As Sugarloaf and Carrabassett Valley Academy continue to improve their athletic training and competition facilities, the two organizations are working together to add a mid-station load ramp on the Double Runner West chairlift. 

The mid-station load ramp will allow athletes skip the run out to the bottom of the mountain, thereby reducing their time on the lift and increasing their time on the snow. Coaches will benefit from additional vantage spots and the ability to view their athletes runs as they ride the DRC West. The mid-station ramp will also significantly decrease wait time at the Super Quad Chair and the Skyline Chair for the teams. The new mid-station load ramp will be available to all resort guests with a valid lift ticket or season pass. 

“The new mid-station load on DRC is another example of Sugarloaf’s commitment to providing our athletes and coaches exceptional training and racing venues,” Kate Punderson, CVA Head of School said. “The short lift ride will give our coaches the ability to have eyes on their athletes while maintaining the quality and safety of training. Our athletes will have more turns in less time with quicker feedback on their runs.”

“Our partnership with CVA is very important to us and we’re pleased to work together on projects like this that provide benefits for both organizations,” Sugarloaf General Manager Karl Strand said. 


New name for CVA's ALPS program - Same incredible experience for athletes

A message from CVA Backcountry (formerly known as ALPS) Program Director, Patrick Scanlan. 

Hello CVA Community, 

I am excited to announce that the CVA ALPS Team (Alpine Leadership Pursuits for Skiers and Snowboarders) will now be known as CVA Backcountry.  This change comes during an exciting time for our program, as the backcountry skiing and riding discipline continues to expand through a growing user base, revolutionary ski touring technology, and a passionate and ambitious community.   

The Backcountry program at CVA offers experiential programming for high school skiers and snowboarders who are committed to developing a skill set that is specific to managing risk and making decisions in backcountry ski terrain. The program trains athletes to become proficient at skiing and riding in all types of ungroomed terrain in a variety of locations, from steep couloirs in France, to variable East coast snow in tight trees, to powder in the Tetons. These experiences are paired with individualized athletic conditioning specific to the mountain environment, world-class instruction from partnerships with outdoor educators and certified ski and mountain guides, and the ability for athletes to earn industry-specific credentials such as Wilderness First Aid through SOLO Schools, and avalanche education through the American Institute for Avalanche Research and Education (AIARE).  

When students graduate from the program, whether they have been enrolled for one year or four, they represent the next generation of ambassadors in the backcountry skiing community who have a passionate sense of adventure, while also understanding the importance of continued education, training, and respect for the natural environment. They leave with a skill set that reaches far beyond big mountain adventures.  The leadership skills taught in the CVA Backcountry Program are focused on being efficient and safe in the mountains. Skills like communication, teamwork, decision making, risk management, and respect represent the core elements of backcountry skiing and are also transferrable to almost any career or university program.  

Additionally, we are excited to have recently created the new Freeride Development Team.  This program focuses on giving younger athletes, in 7th or 8th grade, specific coaching in all-mountain and freeride skiing while also exposing them to competitive freeride events, as well as backcountry ski touring.  The goal of this new program is to help young athletes find a sense of direction to help them decide whether they want to concentrate on competing (CVA Freeride) or further developing a backcountry skill set (CVA Backcountry).  

The CVA Backcountry Program will stay true to the spirit of the ALPS acronym, which was coined at the program’s inception in 2001, and after 16 years of evolution of the sport, this name change offers a clear representation of what we do and how it is relevant in the world of free skiing. I am proud of the many alumni who have shaped this unique program, and excited about the bright future and the talented and passionate student-athletes that it will continue to attract. 


Patrick Scanlan

CVA Backcountry Program Director





3197 Carrabassett Drive
Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947


Fax: 207.237.2213