News

2021

  • Photo album: Mountain cleanup

    Participating in 'Mountain Work Day' has been a part of CVA's community service tradition for over 35 years. Academy students and coaches gathered to help clean up the mountain on Thursday, and the U12’s from the Weekend Program helped out last Sunday, too.  Here are the photos we took in a Google Photo album https://photos.app.goo.gl/9cHpsv9kRnzZC7Rx5 
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  • April E-Spillway Newsletter

    Includes recent updates about what's happening on campus with community activities, academics, athletics (Alpine, Freestyle, Snowboard, Ski Cross, and Backcountry programs).  Also alumni news, information about upcoming camps, reports from the weekend program, and fundraising updates.  
    Read it here
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  • Alumna Nessa Dziemian ’12 Wins 2021 Moguls Freestyle National Championships

    As reported by U.S. Ski and Snowboard - U.S. Ski Team athletes Nessa Dziemian and Nick Page each skied to career firsts as they were crowned National Champions on Thursday. For the first time in 25 years, the nation’s best mogul skiers descended on Snowbird for the 2021 Moguls Freestyle National Championships. Athletes were treated to two beautiful Utah-bluebird days of training ahead of the moguls competition, which had light snowfall throughout the day and kept the course interesting.

    Dziemian sustained a season-ending injury in November 2019 that kept her off of the competition circuit - until now. In her first contest back in twenty-four months (her last being the 2019 National Championships in Waterville Valley), Dziemian stomped it out for the win. This is Dziemian’s second National Championship title, but first win in singles.

    “I feel very emotional about the whole thing,” said Dziemian of her feat in the finish area. “There were definitely a lot of challenges along the way. I battled a knee injury, I battled depression and anxiety... I just did not think i was going to come back from it at all, it was the hardest thing. My knee was constantly hurting and I just felt like I was at the lowest of lows. At this moment, it just feels like all of that hard work has finally paid off.”

    Results aside, Dziemian was at a loss for words in describing how proud she was of her performance. Her cork mute to cork grab finals run was the highest degree of difficulty for any woman in the field and was a goal she has had in mind for herself for a long time. “I wasn't even going to do it right before the comp run. But for some reason I just pushed out of the gate and said to myself ‘I’m doing it, I’m going to achieve my goal today.’ So even though with all of the practice runs I had where it was not working, having it just work out on the one run where I needed it to was an absolute gift, and I am very thankful for it.”

    Dziemian also finished 2nd in the Duals competition the following day. We are so proud of you Nessa!
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  • Kirk Dwyer to join Carrabassett Valley Academy’s leadership and alpine staff 

    Carrabassett Valley Academy’s Head of School Kate Webber Punderson has announced the upcoming addition of Kirk Dwyer to CVA’s senior administration and coaching team. 

    Kirk is currently the Executive Director and Alpine Program Director at Ski and Snowboard Club Vail (SSCV). In this role he oversees Alpine, Snowboard, Freestyle and Nordic as well as all the areas needed to support those programs. Over his five-year tenure Kirk had an immediate and significant impact on SSCV. In partnership with the Vail community he built the Golden Peak Expansion and constructed their new clubhouse, while strengthening their coaching staff and increasing the quality of their athletic programs.  
    Prior to arriving at Vail, Kirk served as Headmaster at Burke Mountain Academy (BMA) for 16 years. During his time at BMA, in addition to ensuring the smooth operations of the Academy, he served as President of Burke Mountain Ski Area and coached alpine athletes. Notably, Kirk was Mikaela Shiffrin’s primary coach during her time at BMA. Kirk began his coaching and school administration career at Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS). In his 25 years at GMVS he coached men and women, was a classroom teacher and Assistant Headmaster. Kirk grew up in Maine and has a home in South Harpswell. He and his wife Robin are looking forward to moving to the area this spring and getting to know everyone in the community.

    Punderson stated, “Kirk brings a nearly unmatched level of experience, professionalism and achievement to CVA programs already on the rise. His role here will be focused on advancing our strategic initiatives in the area of athletics. In the immediate future, and in partnership with Sugarloaf, he will lead the efforts to increase training volume on the mountain through the addition of a surface lift. He will also serve as Alpine Technical Director and on-hill coach. Sean Chatellard, our Alpine Program Director, will work in partnership with Kirk and our strong team of alpine coaches to set the bar even higher with a long-term and competitive vision.”

    Chatellard added, "Kirk's addition to our team is very exciting news for the direction CVA Alpine is currently headed, Kirk's world class expertise and extended experience in the ski racing industry will not only solidify all the hard work the Alpine staff has put into our program these past few years, but will also help propel us forward into new horizons. Exciting things are happening in our community and I very much look forward to working closely with Kirk and taking things to the next level."

    Kirk Dwyer shared, “I am so excited to have the opportunity to join the CVA community. I grew up in Maine and despite my years of working in Vermont I have always considered myself a Maine native. I have spent considerable time at Sugarloaf over the years and understand the strong history of snowsports based on a great mountain as the foundation. There are great opportunities at CVA and Sugarloaf. The highest goal for a program, athlete, or coach is to be the best we can be. I look forward to working with all of you with this aspiration.”
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  • February Email Newsletter

    Includes recent updates about what's happening on campus with community activities, academics, athletics (Alpine, Freestyle, Snowboard, Ski Cross, and Backcountry programs).  Also alumni news, information about upcoming camps, reports from the weekend program, and fundraising updates.
    Read it here
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  • CVA Scholarship Bash Fundraiser: A record-breaking event

    A record-breaking show of support was demonstrated at Carrabassett Valley Academy’s annual Scholarship Bash held Saturday, Feb. 20.

    The event, held for the first time virtually, brought the community together in a tremendous show of support, contributing over $180,000 to assist CVA student-athletes with scholarship funds.

    CVA’s Head of School Kate Webber Punderson says the support for this event, in its new format, was amazing. “From those who signed on as sponsors, bought raffle tickets, donated cash during the live stream event, volunteered on the event committee, donated raffle prizes and auction items, bid on items or simply watched the event online, we hope every person involved takes great pride in knowing what a tremendous difference your support has made. Over half of CVA student-athletes receive financial assistance. Truly, our students would not have the CVA opportunity without all of you.”

    Professional auctioneer Carrie Ervin, a CVA alumna and Sugarloafer originally from Waterville now living and working at Christie’s New York, did a masterful job of getting the crowd to donate generously during the cash call.

    Congratulations to Fred Wetmore from Madawaska, Maine, grandfather of Dev Thomas ‘16 and Lulu Cushman ’26, the lucky winner of the $10,000 cash prize.
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  • World Cup speed skier Jenny Piot joins CVA alpine coaching staff

    Please join us in welcoming Jenny Piot, a recently retired World Cup speed skier from the French National Team (FFS), into our CVA family as she spends the rest of the winter with us.
     
    Jenny grew up in the small mountain village of Bourg d’Oisans, in the high alps near Grenoble. She started skiing at the young age of 2. Her Mom was a ski instructor and Dad was a ski patroller. At 10 years old she joined the ski club in L’Alp d’Huez, one of the many local ski resorts in the area, famous as a regular stage of the Tour de France in summer. By 15, she had enough success to be selected to the Ski Academy (Ski Etude) Pôle France in Albertville, which only accepts the top 15yr. olds in France. At age 16, she was selected into the French C Team. Jenny skied in her first World Cup at the age of 17 in SG. The next year she was moved up to the B team after her first podium finishes in Europa Cup (one step down from the World Cup) events.
     
    By the age of 20, Jenny made the French A team, and that year, in 2013, won the Downhill at the World Junior Championships at Le Massif, Quebec. At 22 she was selected to compete in the World Championships in Beaver Creek, CO, where she scored her first top 15 result in World Cup events. A few years later, at 25 she qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. She continued to ski at the World Cup level in DH, SG, GS, AC & Parallel events until January of this season, when she decided to retire from World Cup racing.
     
    Upon retirement, Jenny expressed interest in traveling to the states to gain experience in the American ski racing scene and further develop her ability to speak English. One of her coaches, Alberto Senigagliesi, the Alpine Director for the French National Team Women’s Europa Cup and World Cup teams, sent her our way. Way to go Alberto!
     
    Alberto followed a similar path back in 2000 when he retired from the World Cup. His father, a former World Cup coach of the Italian and Spanish National Teams, is a good friend of Ron Bonnevie’s and connected Alberto with Ron many years ago. As such, Alberto came to Sugarloaf where he coached at CVA for 3 years with the FIS Men’s group, mentoring many of the best in those years.
     
    Jenny will be skiing with our Weekend Program groups at different times through the February vacation week and on various weekends when she is not racing at FIS events. She will also be providing a World Class example to our full-time academy athletes midweek until she returns to France April 15. Finally, a huge shout out to the Sevigny family for graciously hosting Jenny in their Reddington home. It certainly takes a village, and we have one of the best here at Carrabassett Valley Academy!
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  • CVA alum Forest Carey '94 reflects on his long-time athlete Ted Ligety’s retirement

    Aside from arching turns like no one else has, Ted Ligety’s vast experience, wealth of knowledge and willingness to mentor younger teammates cannot be overstated, according to U.S. Ski Team men’s technical coach Forest Carey.
    “It’s invaluable, you can’t measure it – just the respect that he has from the guys is enormous,” Carey tells Ski Racing Media about Ligety.
    Read the article online
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  • Alumni spotlight: Eli McDermott ’20

    Alumni spotlight: Eli McDermott ’20 demos Winterstick’s Weasel snowboard at Copper Mountain. Thanks for keeping the stoke high Eli!
    Watch the video on YouTube
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  • New program, The Body Project, offered through the National Eating Disorders Association

    Shelby Downing, High Performance Director, and Brenna Huckaby Clegg, Dorm Parent, have teamed up to facilitate a new program for CVA's female student-athletes. The Body Project, offered through the National Eating Disorders Association, is a group-based intervention that provides a forum for high school girls and college aged women to confront unrealistic appearance ideals and develop healthy body image and self-esteem. It has repeatedly been shown to effectively reduce body dissatisfaction, negative mood, unhealthy dieting and disordered eating.
     
    Shelby and Brenna introduced the program to all students, both male and female, during advisory last week. Topics related to body positivity and self-esteem were discussed in an attempt to better understand the pressures and struggles that many of us face and become a stronger more supportive community together.
     
    We are grateful to have Brenna as a member of our community this year. She's a humble Two-Time Paralympic Gold medalist, cancer survivor, and passionate disability inclusion advocate. Brenna is married to snowboard coach Tristan and lives with their two daughters in a faculty apartment in Murfey Hall.
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  • January Student Recognition Awards

    “Student of the Month” is awarded to a student who has shown strong commitment to their academics, is intellectually curious, and pushes themselves to grow and learn.
     
    “Athlete of the Month” is awarded to the student who has shown strong commitment to their athletic training and achieved new levels of success for themselves. 

    “Community Member of the Month” is awarded to a student who has gone above and beyond to lift others up, encourage school spirit and teamwork and help to maintain a positive and family-like community.  

    Thank you D’Ellies for your support of CVA and these awards.
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  • Drew Hooker '22 competes in Big Mountain West Futures Tour Park City

    Drew Hooker '22 recently competed in the Big Mountain West Futures Tour Park City, a regional competition in an open style format for ages 13 to adult.  Her freeski run consisted of a difficult rail section up top followed by a 540 to unnatural switch 540 to 360 tail to 720, earning her a 6th place finish! 
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  • Dory Michaud '23 competes at US Selections in Winter Park

    Dory Michaud '23 skied in her first FIS level mogul event at US Selections in Winter Park, CO. Coach Jesse Lowell '14 reported, “Her comp runs were both clean top to bottoms with a 360 on top air and big back X on bottom air (giving her near excellent scores), earning her a 21st and 29th place out of 56 women for the 2 comp days. Her 21st place finish meant she missed qualifying for finals by only 4 points! It is notable that this is a high level event, the top 5-7 athletes are US Ski Team members, and the event hosts the top 60(ish) male/female athletes in North America. Lots of talent there and Dory did great! Her results also qualified her for the NorAm events which is awesome!”
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  • Saddleback trip for the Backcountry team

    Program Director Patrick Scanlan reports a "Glorious trip to Saddleback today. They have done an amazing job at embracing the constantly growing ski touring community by cutting a dedicated, scenic uphill trail in the woods and have started running programs for guests who want to get into the sport. What an awesome place to start! ⁣Our hat is off to you all - we will be back!! For us, we enjoyed a well cut trail, got in a few thousand vert, and had some surprisingly good tree skiing."
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  • CVA wishes the best to all the athletes training and competing virtually in the Special Olympic Maine Winter Games

    One of CVA’s most treasured and long-standing traditions is volunteering at the Special Olympic Maine Winter Games held annually at Sugarloaf. Due to the pandemic the Games have been canceled this year but that doesn’t mean we aren’t thinking of the amazing Special Olympians we meet each year. 

    CVA wishes the best to all the athletes training and competing virtually in the Special Olympics programming this year. We’ll miss our opportunity to cheer you on in person, but know we’ll be supporting you from afar, and we can’t wait to see you at Sugarloaf next year! Please enjoy this heartfelt video that CVA student-athletes contributed to, and CVA National Honor Society members put together for you.

    Watch the video here
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  • Annual alumni reunion held online

    Approximately fifty former students and staff attended the annual CVA Alumni Reunion on January 14th. It was the first time we’ve held the event in an online video format. A special thank you to our former Head of School John Ritzo, and former art teacher Patty, for joining us and sharing the memories of funny stories with alums near and far.
     
    Six countries were represented at the event: Canada, Japan, Korea, Netherlands, New Zealand, and the United States.
    Three Canadian provinces: British Columbia, New Brunswick and Quebec
    Sixteen states: Alaska, California, Connecticut, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Washington DC, Wyoming
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  • Backcountry Team Trains in the White Mountains

    Backcountry: The team recently enjoyed a great trip to the White Mountains. Program Director Patrick Scanlan says “Without much snow, we got creative and were able to have a crash course in ski mountaineering this week. We took lots of time to work on skills in some epic locations, and even got to accomplish some pretty big objectives. Kudos to the backcountry athletes who embraced the snow conditions and dove in head first to learning new skills and going the extra miles to find some snow.”
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  • We’re racing! U16 and U19 Alpine athletes competed at Sunday River in Maine Alpine Racing Association’s (MARA) “Turkey Chase”

    Alpine: We’re racing! U16 and U19 alpine Academy and Weekend Program athletes competed at Sunday River on January 11th in Maine Alpine Racing Association’s (MARA) “Turkey Chase”. Due to Covid-19 the flow of the day and the racing scene looked and felt a bit different but the athletes and coaches quickly adapted to the changes. No spectators were allowed to gather at the finish line but a new web cam facing the race trail, Monday Mourning, broadcasted the races online. The traditional in-person awards ceremony was replaced with results published online. 
     
    The slalom course was a great venue for our athletes to rid themselves of their early season jitters. Several top finishes were earned; the U16 Men went 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th, the U16 Women had two top 10 finishes with 7th and 8th, and the U19 Women had 3 top 10 finishes with 7th, 8th and 10th.
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  • Liam Moffatt '15 earns the 2020/2021 Neil Daffern Award for Excellence

    Liam Moffatt '15 of Truro, NS is one of three recipients of the 2020/2021 Neil Daffern Award for Excellence. The Award, named in honor of the legacy of Neil Daffern, aims to recognize and provide financial assistance to Canadian riders who have the potential to be among the World’s best in their respective disciplines.

    A pioneer in snowboarding, Neil Daffern co-designed the first twin-tip snowboard under the BARFOOT name, which paved the way for progression of freestyle snowboarding as we know it today. His legacy has lived on and through his charity has helped numerous Canadian athletes achieve their goals.
    Moffatt is no stranger to the contest scene or podium on the Nor-Am Cup Tour. He’s one of Canada’s top snowboardcross riders and is looking to make his mark on the World Cup Tour.

    “I am so honored to receive this award. There is a long list of athletes that have received this award that have gone on to do amazing things in the snowboard world and I’m really excited to not only have the help from this award for this tough season ahead but also be added to this list to go try and make my mark.” – Liam Moffatt '15
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  • New role and staff member: Patrick D'Amboise LCPC has joined CVA as school counselor.

    New role and staff member: Patrick D'Amboise LCPC has joined CVA as our new part-time school counselor. With a B.S. in education and a M.S. in counseling, Pat has over 37 years of experience in counseling, with a focus on youth. As a father of CVA alum Sean D’Amboise, Class of 2004, and through his additional passion as an outdoor educator (he worked for Outward Bound and founded Project Quest, an outdoor education program for teens), he is uniquely positioned to connect with, guide and support CVA students and staff.

    Pat’s role will be to assess the impact of the students’ mental health needs on learning and school participation, provide on-call duties, and collaborate with the health care team to promote health and wellbeing of the student body. Pat’s role will be to assess the impact of the students’ mental health needs on learning and school participation, provide on-call duties, and collaborate with the health care team to promote health and wellbeing of the student body. Pat will provide confidential emotional support to our students including short-term, solution-focused therapy, crisis intervention, advocacy, and referral, when necessary. He will be providing support on campus in the form of pre-scheduled meetings and drop in office hours, as well as conduct group work and activities. His services will augment the Community Clinical Services Outpatient Counseling our students currently access through telemedicine.
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