The Arlberg skiing technique came to New England in the early twentieth century with its arrival credited to the Dartmouth undergraduate Fred Harris and his proposal to create a ski and snowshoe club. Founded in 1911, The Dartmouth Outing Club, through the 1929, hiring and arrival Otto Schneibs as ski coach, brought downhill skiing to New England.
Dartmouth began celebrating Winter Carnival in February 1911 and New England prep schools found themselves following suit. New England boarding schools fortunate enough to live in the shadow of, or atop, a local mountain, wanted to mirror and parallel the healthy outdoor winter activities like those at Dartmouth. Here we find the genesis of outing clubs and the development of on-campus ski hills for those schools fortunate enough to set in the mountains.
This rich, on-campus, ski mountain tradition continues living today.
These five New England boarding schools use their hills for traditional winter and family friendly recreation. The ski hills provide the backgrounds for traditions such as winter carnivals and winter family weekends, as well as serving as the home course for alpine ski and snowboarding teams.
At the Kents Hill School in Maine, the campus sits atop a beautiful hill with spectacular panoramic views of the mountains and lakes of Maine and New Hampshire. It is also located near two major skiing/snowboarding resorts, Sugarloaf USA and Sunday River. Skiing has long been a tradition and passion of Kents Hill. During the Second World War, Headmaster Bill Dunn decided to build a ski program next to Torsey Lake. The students cleared the land, and Kents Hill established an alpine racing program that endures to this day. Today the O'Connor Alpine Center serves as the home of the Kents Hill Ski and Snowboard teams, the facility includes snowmaking and professional grooming, lights for night skiing, a tuning room, video equipment and digital timing and a terrain park.
Dublin School was built in 1935 in the shadow of Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire and is fortunate to have connections to three mountains. Mount Monadnock, having inspired the poet Henry David Thoreau to walk from Concord, Massachusetts to climb it, figures prominently in many Dublin traditions, including Mountain Day and Winterfest. Crotched Mountain to Dublin's serves as home to Dublin's alpine ski and snowboarding teams. But closest to home, and most prominent in the Dublin community, the school reopened- in 2011- the on-campus Norm "Pro" Wight Ski Area for downhill skiing and snowboarding. This on-campus facility captures small town, New England local ski hill ethos. It's open to students and faculty; it's a great place to learn how to ski; and, it's recreation facility that brings together and binds the community during New England winters.
Eaglebrook School is a junior boarding and day school for boys in grades six though nine located on 800 acres in Deerfield, Massachusetts. Like the Dublin School, Eaglebrook students also enjoy a Mountain Day tradition, hiking Mt. Monadnock. Closer to home, Eaglebrook has its own alpine ski area. The Easton Ski Area is a small, private alpine ski area located on the western slope of the Pocumtuck Range with snowmaking and groomed trails for skiing and snowboarding. Eaglebrook School's skiing history dates back to 1923 and for many decades, various areas were used around the campus, including a small slope served by a rope tow located near the northern portion of the present day ski area.
Nestled in a valley between Ragged Mountain and Mount Kearsarge, Proctor Academy has offered competitive ski racing since 1932. Trails were cut on the north-facing ridge overlooking the Blackwater River in the 1960s, and the addition of a 1400-foot T-bar lift in 1970 helped to set the facility apart. In the following decades, the ski area was improved with top-to-bottom lighting and extensive snowmaking. In 2007, Proctor made additional improvements, replacing the T-bar and adding a second lift, expanding lighting and snowmaking. Today, the Proctor Ski Area offers man-made snow (groomed by a new Prinoth BR-350,) as well as the Norris Ski Jumps and is known to have one of the best and most challenging slalom pitches in the state. With two trails homologated to FIS standards, the area now hosts J4 and J5 races, USSA weekend races, NEPSAC Championships, College Carnivals as well as National FIS qualifiers.
The mountain also provides professional development and training opportunities for students. Proctor students can earn National Ski Patrol credentials while operating all aspects of the Blackwater Ski Area. Ski Patrolers learn rapid response techniques for all types of ski accidents and injuries. Immobilization, splinting and emergency evacuation are practiced with EMTs from local rescue squads. In addition, students manage the rope tow and T-bar lifts, snowmaking and assist with the operation of Yarrow's Lodge.
Set on a 515-acre campus, Vermont Academy overlooks the Connecticut River Valley and is surrounded by the Green Mountains. Vermont Academy features an on-campus Winter Sports Park that includes three state-of-the-art ski jumps (10-meter, 20-meter, and 35-meter), lighting, snowmaking, a grooming machine, and ski lift. For competitive skiers and snowboarders, Vermont Academy provides many opportunities to train and compete. For recreational activities, during the winter most weekends include Sunday skiing and snowboarding. Skiing also figures prominently in a few school traditions, including Winterfest and Head of School Day. Both feature different outdoor activities for the day like skiing, boarding, skating, sledding or cross-country skiing on campus.
If you enjoy outdoor winter recreation, these on-campus skiing and recreation opportunities provide great opportunities for a healthy, and enriching winter. Whether you're a competitive skier or snowboarder, a recreational athlete, or interested in becoming a ski patroller, having a ski hill in your backyard is sure to provide extraordinary opportunities that can make your boarding school experience even richer.