Skiers - Scholars - Athletes

School News
May 7, 2019-  The mountain has been closed for weeks, but one can still see distinct “S” shapes carved into the snow on Golden Peak where ski racers practiced running gates. Throughout the season, more than 50 students took part in the VMS After School Tutorial Program run by Kate Blakslee and Lizzy Reed. A longtime hallmark of our school, this program supports our scholar-athletes who are training for high-level, competitive skiing through our partnership with Ski & Snowboard Club Vail or with independent coaches. During the winter season, the support provided by this program allows students to train on snow in the morning and stay current with school work through after-school meetings with program staff and VMS teachers. 

And what a season it was, both on snow and off. 

Before we dig into the results, it’s worth digging a bit into some of the reasons why the VMS program has been so successful and continues to produce top-notch scholar-athletes. “The culture of the program, the one-on-one opportunities for students, and small group cross-age collaborations really are the heart of our program,” notes Kate Blakslee, who ran the After School Tutorial Program this year. “It is a direct extension of our mission and rapport-based approach and the program would not be what it is without the dedication of our teachers, who have really stepped up and partnered with our students.”  

Kate Blakslee works side-by-side with Lizzy Reed, who is new to VMS this year but is no stranger to the challenges faced by students endeavor to balance academics and athletics. Reed competed in two different sports a high level during her college career. “I have a tremendous amount of admiration for these kids,” she says. “They are balancing incredible demands between dry land training early in the morning and extended absences to compete, and all the while they are not only keeping up with their studies but excelling in their classes.” 

Establishing a balance, it turns out, is so much of the battle according to Blakslee. “Important life lessons are learned in After School Tutoring. In addition to learning subject-specific content, we emphasize executive functioning skills and self-advocacy, which are certainly valuable in life, but critical for a scholar-athlete who aspires to compete at the highest level AND balance academics, training, travel, competition, and communication, in addition to friends and family.” 

Throughout the 2018-19 competition season, VMS students competed in countless that took them across the country and around the world. And while each student’s hard work and personal growth this season merits recognition, below are just a few of the highlights. 

Cam Wolfe (NORDIC) competed at National Championships in Anchorage, Alaska taking 3rd in the U20 men's 15k classic mass start and 4th in the 10k skate. He was joined at the competition by teammates Ian Hardenbergh, Bridget Donovan, Emma Blakslee, Molly Blakslee, Katy Jane Hardenbergh. 

Henry Heaydon (FIS) had a great year in FIS and recorded a handful of top ten finishes significantly elevating his standing on the international level where he competed with college and professional, career ski racers. 

Allie Resnick (FIS) claimed a number of top ten FIS finishes early in the season including a standout 1st and 3rd in slalom races held in New Zealand. After an early-season injury, she is very much looking forward to coming back strong next year. 

Nicola Rountree-Williams (FIS) Following a win at last year’s OPA Cup, Nicola skied on the U.S. Skied Team’s D-Team. She competed in the North American Cup Tour, which is the level of FIS racing just below World Cup, and recorded a number of top ten finishes. Nicola trains independently and participates in the VMS skier tutorial that provides support for full-time athletes. 

Congratulations also to Cam Wolfe, Ian Hardenbergh, Emma Blakslee, Peter Littman, Bridget Donovan, Henry Heaydon, and Kate Kirwood who are members of the Class of 2019 who plan to ski competitively in college. 



Nick Kirwood (U16) placed 3rd in slalom at the Whistler Cup, which is described as the premier ski race in the world for 15-year-olds. To qualify for whistler, you need to be one of the top three first-year U16 athletes in the U.S. This year’s Whistler Cup included athletes from 21 different countries. 

Sophia Lehmann (U16) is the #1 ranked U16 skier in her home country of Argentina. She also earned a spot at the Whistler Cup, as well as the Alpe Cimbra FIS Children Cup formerly known as Topolino. 



Kjersti Moritz (U16) won the GS race and placed 2nd in Super-G at the U.S. National Championships in Breckenridge. She also qualified for and competed at the Whistler Cup.



Emma Resnick (U16) placed first in GS at the OPA cup in Switzerland, which is considered the most competitive event in the world for ski racers ages 14-15. She also won the overall U16 title and took first in both slalom and Super-G at the U.S. National Championships, which were held in Breckenridge this year. 

Liv Moritz and Kaitlyn Keane (U16) both qualified and competed at the U.S. National Championships held in Breckenridge. 

Phoebe Heaydon (U14) qualified to represent Australia at Alpe Ciembra for the 2nd year, that is described as the biggest and most prestigious race for U14s in the world. 

Frankie Marston & Sawyer Reed (U14) both qualified for the Can-Am Races, an international competition between U.S. and Canada held in Quebec that athletes qualify for based on strong performances at the regional level. 

U14 athletes finished their season at the Rocky Central Regional Championships held at Steamboat. Frankie Marston, Shu Avery, Luke Arrigoni, Alex Krupka, and Sawyer Reed each notched one or more top-ten finishes at this culminating race.  

U12 athletes wrapped up their season with the Regional Championship that was held at Powderhorn. Jackson Leever and Solveig Moritz both found themselves on the podium.



In freestyle competition, which involves a combination of mogul skiing and jumping, Ryan Stockton and Evan Sapp both had several podium finishes in their age class this season and stepped up to compete in Rocky Mountain Freestyle’s Advanced Competition Division which judges athletes of all ages by the same standard regardless of age. Ryan also received SSCV’s Character Award for the Mogul program. Overall, the season provided valuable insight for both of these relatively young skiers about what it takes to be consistent in the competitive mogul arena. 

We’ve endeavored to include all instances where athletes have distinguished themselves in their respective age group’s highest level competitions. If we’ve missed something, please email communications@vms.edu

About Vail Mountain School

Founded in 1962, Vail Mountain School is a K-12, coed, independent school in Vail, Colorado. Our philosophy is to provide a demanding, college preparatory, liberal arts education in an atmosphere of mutual respect between faculty and students, where nurturing a healthy self-concept and stimulating academic inquiry are parallel objectives. Intentionally designed cross-age programs promote role modeling, responsibility, self confidence, and a sense of community. Our location in the Rocky Mountains allows us to integrate the outdoors into the academic and cultural fabric of the school through hut trips, all-school Ski Fridays, and other experiential learning opportunities. The result: our graduates possess a quiet confidence that serves them well in college and in life—confidence to assert themselves in their first college level essays; to raise their hand in a class of hundreds; to live on their own for the first time, to meet with and engage their professors; and to lead among their peers.