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Non-Competitive Snow Sports

Exploring the Whole Mountain

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  • Happy Place Found

    Anyone who skis or rides at Sunday River Resort is likely familiar with the Gould Competition Program. They have seen our snowflake logos racing gates and boardercross courses and in terrain parks sliding on rails and doing mind-blowing aerials off massive jumps.

    What they might not realize is that of the 90 percent of Gould students who spend their winter mornings engaged in snow sports, almost half of those are in non-competitive co-curricular programs that really set Gould apart. Gould students have been taking advantage of seasoned opportunities like Ski Patrol, Rugrats, and Learn to Ski and Ride for decades. This year, a unique co-curricular program was offered for the first time: All Mountain.

Enter All Mountain

The All Mountain Program was created specifically for experienced freestyle, freeride, and freeski athletes who want to explore glades and parks at Sunday River to famous backcountry venues like Tuckerman Ravine in the White Mountains without the demanding schedule and travel of the competitive program.

Whichever program students opt into, there is a wide array of ways for students of all abilities to enjoy every acre of terrain Sunday River has to offer and hone a craft they will enjoy for a lifetime.

All Mountain Coach Kaleb Guinn explains that his goal of the program was to re-inject the fun and joy into skiing. He’s tired of hearing the knocks on East Coast skiing and explains that the East has so much to offer, and All Mountain is going to do it all.

“We’re bringing back the idea of making the entire mountain fun,” says Kaleb. “We ski in the trees, we prioritize groomers in the morning to get those fresh turns in, and then, on our way over to the trees, we’re laying over edge turns. We’re fully engaged in the woods and practicing safety techniques, and then, towards the end of the day, we’re in the park, jumping and having fun. The kids are constantly engaged. We’re not specializing in any one direction, which allows us to keep the learning curve really steep. These kids are having fun.”

Ski Patrol

Ski Patrol is for students drawn to service and keeping the mountain safe. It's the only program of its kind in the United States where students-in-training become “jacketed” patrollers who actually work shifts at Sunday River and beyond. Getting jacketed is not a rare occurrence. It usually takes four years of training and hard work, but multiple students earn the honor almost every year.

Sophia Nichols ’24 and Allison Nevins ’24 are two such patrollers this season. Sophia became so passionate about ski patrol that it influenced her to become an EMT for her Twelfth-Grade Four Point project and enter nursing school next year in college.

Sophia emphasized that much of the ski patrol’s work is proactive, making sure the mountain is a safe place for guests.

“We do a lot to make sure that the mountain is up to the standard, making sure that everything is marked and that we’re not opening trails that would be dangerous for people,” says Sophia. “But also ensuring that if someone gets hurt, we offer them a really good experience. Public safety is the top priority at Sunday River.”

Sophia Nichols ’24, Gould Ski Patroller

If someone gets hurt, we offer them a really good experience. What is most important is knowing how to care for all different types of injuries and how to treat them, from the time that you're called to the scene to the time that you’ve brought them in.

Rugrats Instructor Program

Rugrats is a cherished program, both at Gould and for the surrounding community. Crescent Park School (CPS) buses its students to Sunday River on winter mornings so that students who might never have access to the mountain get the chance to snowboard and ski with instruction from Gould students. Providing transportation, gear, access, and coaching removes every barrier, making it an exceptional and inclusive experience.

Rugrats Program Director Sarah Crockett points out the benefits.

Sarah Crockett, Rugrats Program Director

Gould students take away an appreciation for what they often take for granted and can pass on their passion for winter to a whole new generation of kids. It pushes them outside their comfort zone [and] into a leadership position.

Learn to Ski and Ride

Not everyone is lucky enough to live in a town like Bethel, Maine, and grow up going to the mountain. Many Gould students have no experience skiing or snowboarding at all, and the “Learn to” programs are designed to demystify everything about the sport. Students get familiar with gear, riding the lifts, and making turns. Once they discover the joy in their new lifelong activity and gain a level of proficiency, they typically move on to one of the previously mentioned programs or to the varsity level of competition in their discipline.

At Gould, we believe the mountain and the outdoors are for everyone. We have the best partners in the world at Sunday River, and at a time of year when many prefer to hibernate, Gould athletes and coaches are knee-deep in East Coast powder, finding their happy place. ■
Private High School for Boys and Girls | Grades 9-12, Postgraduate and Winter Term for Grades 7-8 | Boarding School in the Mountains of Maine

Gould Academy guides students to be creative, courageous and resilient and to lead lives of fulfillment and purpose.