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Beep...beep...beep...beep...even over winter break, alarm clocks flash at 5 am to wake Rowmark skiers for another day of training. The team bus leaves at 5:45 am on early morning training days, shuttling Rowmarkers to Park City so they can be on the ski lift by 7 am.
Academics, sports, and social lives combined with community service, internships, and family responsibilities; how do high schoolers do it all? The high school balancing act is a delicate one, and for 32 Rowmark Ski Academy athletes, the scales tip even further between November and April. On school days, Rowmarkers leave campus at noon, so their four core Rowland Hall academic classes are scheduled in the morning before they head up the mountain for four hours of on-snow training. They return to evenings that start with video review and ski tuning, and end with a full night of homework. The athletes also take a sports psychology class, participate in weekly physical conditioning, and travel to competitions across the U.S., Canada, and sometimes Europe.
Rowmark athletes typically miss several weeks of school during the winter months. Rowland Hall faculty, Rowmark's academic coordinator, and other students support them while they are away by providing school work ahead of time and sharing classroom notes to support the team. Rowmark students fulfill the same graduation requirements as all Rowland Hall students, and often excel academically even with the extra commitment to their sport. Instilled with the skill set of grit, determination, and the growth mindset promoted in all Rowland Hall students, over half of Rowmarkers earn a spot on the prestigious Headmaster's List or Honor Roll each semester.
Years later, Rowmarkers stand firmly behind the commitment to their sport, and its life lessons. "Rowmark pushes kids to manage their time early on," said Matt Glasgow '15, now a sophomore skier for Bates College. "This is a skill that applies to everything in life." Rowmark alumna Riley Whitney '16, a freshman on the alpine skiing team at St. Lawrence University, said the study methods she developed during her years at Rowland Hall and Rowmark have carried through to college. "Rowmark taught me how to work methodically to accomplish everything I needed to and still have fun."
Rowmarkers apply their skills in some unlikely places. University of Utah football kicker Andy Phillips, who attended Rowland Hall his sophomore and junior years of high school, credits Rowmark with his ability to focus and ignore noise and distractions. Andy compared his focus at the start gate of a race to readying himself to kick a field goal. "With enough practice, you learn to zone in on the course ahead of you and not get distracted by anything else."
Each ski race offers an opportunity for student-athletes to practice a growth mindset—the belief that improvement comes through dedication and hard work, and challenges are opportunities to improve. "In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point," Stanford researcher Carol Dweck writes in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. "This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment."
Skiing on Rowland Hall's elite alpine racing team requires hard work and a high level of commitment to the sport and academics. Rowmarkers leave Rowland Hall well prepared for college and beyond. "But what we are most proud of," Rowmark Director Todd Brickson said, "is when our alumni say that what they gained through Rowmark is so much more than skiing."
Rowmark Ski Academy was founded in 1982. Just over three decades later, in 2014, Rowmark proudly became one of the first clubs designated for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's (USSA) highest Gold Certification level. Rowmark skiers are full-time ninth through twelfth graders at Rowland Hall. Here you find a rigorous, year-round racing program coupled with an extraordinary academic high school.