CVA Backcountry PROGRAM 

CVA Backcountry is an immersive backcountry skiing and snowboarding program for high schoolers. Whether your focus is backcountry skiing, big mountain skiing, or ski mountaineering, the Backcountry program allows you to travel to locations around the world to train, learn, and mentor with world-class educators and mountain guides.

Backcountry athletes gain experience, training, and coaching in:

  • Backcountry skiing in a variety of terrain and snow climates
  • Avalanche studies and snow science
  • Wilderness medicine
  • Rock and ice climbing
  • Orienteering
  • Backcountry ethics
  • Pre-season and post-season training
  • Backcountry athletes earn certifications in:Avalanche studies (AIARE Level 1)
  • Wilderness medicine (SOLO Wilderness First Aid and Wilderness First Responder dependenton experience)


Program Director Patrick Scanlan brings years of experience to the position ranging from backcountry and big mountain skiing, ski mountaineering, rock climbing, and adventure travel. Patrick is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire where he earned a dual-degree in Kinesiology and Outdoor Education and


Environmental Conservation. Previously, Patrick has worked for the Appalachian Mountain Club as a backcountry site manager in Tuckerman Ravine where he worked and mentored under US Forest Service avalanche specialists to build his knowledge and experience in snow science, mountain rescue, and riskmanagement. Patrick's industry certifications and trainings include: American Mountain Guides Association Single Pitch Instructor, SOLO Apprentice Course Instructor, SOLO Wilderness First Responder, AIARE Level II, MWAC Avalanche Rescue Course, and Leave No Trace Trainer.  



Below are the trips that are planned for the current school year:

November: Trip to Seneca Rocks, West Virginia and Great Falls, Virginia for an introduction to rope skills, technical climbing, backcountry camping, and team development.

December: Tetons, WY for backcountry touring while learning about snow science topics and earning the AIARE Avalanche 1 course certificate.

February: La Grave, France with a focus on big mountain skiing, and intro to skimountaineering.

March: Chic Choc Mountains, Gaspe Penisula, Quebec

Winter weekends: depending on snow conditions and major trip timing we may venture away from Sugarloaf on select winter weekends to take advantage of the many skiing and winter adventure opportunities in Quebec, NH, and VT. 


  • Expand opportunities for student leadership. Valuable learning experiences come from assuming, or attempting to assume, leadership roles in appropriate situations. 
  • Establish a collaborative team project. The project will be up to the team but potential examples are a blog, a media project, adopting a trail.

Freeride Development Team

Skiing in the backcountry and side country is rapidly growing and middle school students are becoming increasingly interested in the two disciplines that utilize that terrain; Freeride and Backcountry. We have found that eighth graders don’t always have a clear sense of which discipline they want to focus on or may need a year to learn skills or gain maturity; the Freeride Development team might be for them. Click here for more information.




3197 Carrabassett Drive
Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947


Fax: 207.237.2213