KSL Dishes on WSS :-)

February 26th, 2014

Many thanks to our friends at KSL for helping to tell our story during the closing weekend of the Olympics — especially to Shara Park, lead reporter on the segment.  We’re sure it’s all just another day at the office for the KSL team, but we were amazed at how quickly they put this piece together and what a wonderful job they did.  There’s a lot of information here crammed into just two minutes.  Have a look and see for yourself.

Thanks again, KSL!

Ted Ligety ’02 Wins Gold in Giant Slalom!

February 19th, 2014

The last time we hit the blog to write about one of our alums, it was about Steve Holcomb ’97 and his penchant for ending 62-year droughts.

How about… forever?  As in, ending a “forever” drought?

Ted Ligety ’02 has done precisely that by winning the first ever Olympic Gold Medal for the United States in Men’s Giant Slalom earlier today.

For once, the world press isn’t talking about a medal snagged by a Winter Sports School alum at the Sochi Games in terms of being “shocking” or “surprising,” as Ted was favored to win this event given his dominance of it for the past several years.  But competing as the favorite carries its own set of pressures, and Ted rose above them to make history for the U.S.

Kudos to you, Ted!  “Proud” doesn’t even begin to describe how we all feel about you.  We’ll see you when you get home… finally, after an epic season.  Enjoy!

For full coverage of the story, please visit USA Today here.

Ted Ligety -- 2014 Sochi Olympics Giant Slalom Flag

Ted Ligety ’02 after winning the Gold in Giant Slalom

Steve Holcomb ’97 Wins Bronze in 2-Man Bobsled!

February 17th, 2014

Ha!  Well, there must be something about the number “62″ that gets Steve Holcomb ’97 especially agitated.  After a 62-year Olympic medal drought for the United States in the 4-Man Bobsled, Steve brought home the Gold Medal from Vancouver in 2010.  Now, in 2014, since the United States Olympic drought had reached the magic 62 years in 2-Man bobsled, Steve once again stepped up and grabbed the required hardware to end it — the Bronze Medal this time.  “If anyone else has a 62-year drought, let me know,” Holcomb said after the conclusion of the event.  “I’ll help you out.”

Way to go, Steve, and we’ll all be watching you later in the week for the 4-Man race!

For full coverage of the event, please visit Yahoo Sports here.

Steven Holcomb -- 2014 Olympics 2-man Bobsled on course

Steve Holcomb ’97 on his way to 2-Man Bronze!

Andrew Weibrecht ’03 Wins Super-G Silver!

February 16th, 2014

Hey hey!  We’re not sure why the world press is so shocked at Andrew Weibrecht’s thundering Silver Medal run in the Olympic Super-G earlier today.  We can’t be the only ones who remember that Andrew’s a big-game player, what with the bronze he won in the exact same event in Vancouver four years ago.  Can we?  Well, today the lad upgraded himself to silver.  We’re not surprised.  We’re hugely impressed, but not surprised.

Awesome job, Andrew!  We look forward to your Super-G gold in 2018.  :-)

For complete coverage of the race, please visit Yahoo Sports here.

Andrew Weibrecht -- 2014 Olympic Super G

Andrew Weibrecht ’03 Mines Himself Some Sochi Silver

Joss Christensen ’09 Wins Gold in Slopestyle Skiing!

February 13th, 2014

Unbelievable!  Just unbelievable!  Joss Christensen ’09 has just made history by winning the first gold medal in Men’s Slopestyle Skiing ever to be awarded at a Winter Olympic Games.  Joss came into the competition as a bit of an underdog — followers of the sport probably had laid odds a little more favorably on some of Joss’s friends and competitors — but then Joss blew past all expectations not only to medal, but to win the whole shebang, leading a United States podium sweep in the event.

Your world is forever changed now, Joss, but it couldn’t have happened to a nicer person, and we’re all so proud of you.  Enjoy!

For full event coverage and a little more backstory on Joss, please visit espn.com here.

And for those of you who might want to see what Joss looked like as a fledgling competitor back in his high school days, check out this video, created by the man himself during his senior year with us in 2009.  :-)

Freestyle Skiing

Joss Christensen ’09, flying high on his way to Olympic Gold

Michaela Webb ’13 Named National Merit Finalist!

February 13th, 2014

Woo hoo!  Lest we forget, The Winter Sports School is… well… a school.  We take great pride in the athletic accolades racked up by our students and alums, but at the core of our mission is getting our students ready for college.  So we take equal pride in all those graduates who go on to study at the top tier colleges and universities in the nation, and manage to rack up awards and distinctions along the way.  And now Michaela Webb, Class of 2013, has just been named a National Merit Finalist for 2014!  Out of 1.5 million applicants, she’s made it into the top 15,000 — or 1%.  We should know in another few months whether she becomes one of the 8,000 who receive a monetary scholarship award.  Of, course, we’re betting that she will.  :-)

Kudos to you, Michaela!  Outstanding job!

2013 Commencement

Karsten Hokansen ’13, left, Amy Hoyt ’14, center, and Michaela Webb ’13
pose for a photo afterthe Winter Sports School graduation ceremony
Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 at the Utah Olympic Park. Christopher Reeves/The Park Record.

Julia Mancuso ’00 Wins Bronze in Super-Combined!

February 10th, 2014

Julia is at it again.  We’re not sure what gets into Julia come Olympics time, but she now has four medals in three consecutive Olympics, and is the most decorated female Alpine Olympian in United States history.  We’re all hopping from one foot to the other to see what happens in Wednesday’s Downhill event.  :-)

Way to go, Julia!   We’re all so proud of you!

For full event coverage, please click here.

 Julia Mancuso ’00 — 2014 Super-Combined Bronze Medalist

WSS February Newsletter

February 10th, 2014

Oo… there’s a lot going on with The Winter Sports School these days!  Please download our February newsletter to get yourself caught up.  :-)

WSS Newsletter i1v12014-4 compressed

WinterSportsLogo FA 09

WSS 2013 Commencement!

November 28th, 2013

Huge hat tip to Alexandria Gonzalez at The Park Record for this article.  We’re including the article in its entirety here in addition to linking to it, because The Park Record keeps its articles online for only a limited time.  Enjoy!


Winter Sports School graduates 10 in class of 2013

New graduates looking forward to training and travelling
Alexandria Gonzalez , The Park Record

Families gathered in the lobby of the Quinney Welcome Center at the Utah Olympic Park on Friday, Nov. 22, taking pictures of their graduates lined up by the door of the auditorium in blue and white graduation caps and gowns. The Winter Sports School class of 2013 was ready to walk across the stage and get their diplomas.

The Winter Sports School is a private school operating for the first time as a Utah State Charter School in 2014 for high school students who want to be able to focus on school in the summer in order to train for sporting events in the winter.

Head of school Dave Kaufman welcomed graduates’ family and friends while reminding his students that although they were a small group 10 students, to be exact they had accomplished many athletic and academic feats.

The 10 graduates hailed from five different states Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming and excelled in numerous different ski events, such as Alpine, Nordic and Freestyle. One student was also named a National Merit Scholarship semi-finalist, one of only 149 in the state of Utah.

“The smallness of your group is in no way indicative of the impact you have had on the school, faculty, staff or even each other,” Kaufman said. “I’ve watched you bond, and it’s really special to see, so I hope you stay in touch with us here and with each other.”

Kaufman then invited David Armstrong to the stage, the first of three seniors who made remarks during the ceremony. He likened the Winter Sports School to a zoo, saying that each athletic discipline was a different species of student.

“However, the Winter Sports School is not your typical zoo, because there are no bars, cages or separation,” Armstrong said. “We function as a cohesive unit of unique athletes, and despite our athletic and behavioral differences, we are all bonded together by the common desire to pursue our passions to the fullest.”

Armstrong thanked Kaufman and faculty saying that attending the Winter Sports School has been an amazing opportunity for growth that is unparalleled by another other school he could have attended.

Keynote speaker, Park City Mountain Resort’s director of finances Geoff Buchheister, told students about finding success despite failure. Buchheister was a collegiate Alpine ski racer for the University of Colorado Boulder and said he was proud of what had achieved in his skiing career but even prouder of the degree he earned.

Michaela Webb, one of two young women graduates, spoke about what she thought mattered or was most important.

“Although rock climbing, skiing, doing calculus and many other things don’t have objective value, they can and should have subjective value; things only matter if you believe they matter and find ways to make them matter,” Webb said. “With that in mind, my open expectation for myself and my fellow graduating classmates is not necessarily to go on to be successful business people, Nobel Prize winners or even Olympic medalists but to choose to do the things we find meaningful and find meaning in the things we do.”

Karsten Hokanson, senior class president, was the last student speaker who thanked the school faculty and his family and friends and congratulated his fellow classmates. When Hokanson finished his speech, classmate Max Raymer approached the podium to announce the traditional senior class gift to the school.

The gift this year was a framed photograph of the senior class with the Winter Sports School sign in front of the new building they will operate out of next year at the corner of Old Ranch Road and State Road 224.

Then, the faculty speaker – math and science teacher Alex Burlacu – grabbed the audience’s attention by telling the story of how he turned down an offer from Princeton graduate school, threw it in the trash and poured coffee on it to keep himself from changing his mind.

“If you know yourself well enough, you can make an intelligent decision, so I knew that was the right choice for me even if it was the wrong choice for every other person on the planet,” Burlacu said. “Make sure you know yourself really well and make decisions off of what you know rather than what you think you know.”

Kaufman thanked Burlacu for his remarks and handed out awards for outstanding achievement in different subject areas. Webb took home the awards for art, Spanish and science, Hokansen received the award for math and Hannah Hunsaker not in attendance won the award for history.

The David Seiger Math and Science award, which memorializes the school’s original math and science teacher, went to Hokansen for excellence in the areas of math and science. The Kay Wright award memorializes the school’s first headmaster, and it went to the student Kaufman said most embodied the mission of the school: Hunsaker.

The 10 graduates received their diplomas and flipped their graduation tassels to the tune of Pomp and Circumstance and were then free to leave the auditorium and take photos with their family and friends in the lobby.

The graduates were not only excited to be done with their studies but to travel, compete in their respective sports or head to college.

Hokansen said he was looking forward to focus on his skiing, travel and race the best he can and hopefully go international this year.

Armstrong said he was more looking forward to relaxing and “finding out who [he is] at heart.”

Van Wright suffered an injury that has hindered him skiing-wise, so he said he plans to travel and explore as much as he can before going to college. He said he has applied to several schools but has not decided where he wants to go yet.

Senior class president Karsten Hokansen, left, Amy Hoyt, center, and Michaela Webb pose for a photo after the Winter Sports School graduation ceremony Friday, Nov. 22, at the Utah Olympic Park. Christopher Reeves/The Park Record.

WSS 2014 Charter Enrollment is now OPEN!

November 4th, 2013


It’s been a long, long time coming, but now, after…

…unanimous approval from the Utah State Charter Board in February of this year…

…unanimous ratification of that approval from the Utah State Board of Education in April…

…receiving our Utah State Charter Agreement in June…

…finding the perfect new location for our campus in July…

…unanimous approval from the Snyderville Basin Panning Commission in September to operate at that location…

…and now, finally, after having secured complete rights from the owners — our friends — to operate there…

…enrollment in The WSS State Charter School for the 2014 academic year is OPEN!!

This is a tremendously exciting time as we officially embark on our process of creating the inaugural student body of The Winter Sports School as a public education entity, tuition-free for Utah State residents, and the first of its kind in the history of The United States.  No other secondary school in the nation offers our unique combination of calendar, curriculum, and the flexibility for student athletes to train with coaches and teams of their choice, in any winter athletic discipline.  We invite and encourage all prospective students and their families to visit our admissions page and, if you’re committed to attending our program, please announce your intent to enroll by filling out and submitting the online form.  Please be sure to follow directions carefully.  :-)

Thank you all so much for your interest, help, and support.  The WSS Charter School is becoming a reality thanks to the hard work of so many people at the school, in the community, and at the Utah State and Summit County levels.  Kudos to you all!

Please keep watching this space or subscribe to our news feed for upcoming announcements on how you can support our efforts to renovate and build out our new campus!

WSS Enrollment

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