Getting Oriented

Sugar Bowl Academy opened the school year this week with fifty-two students, the largest-ever opening enrollment for this intentionally small day and boarding college preparatory ski academy located at the base of Sugar Bowl Ski Resort.

Classes started Monday, with new and returning students having already gotten acquainted through their three-day school wide orientation session. SBA orientation was held this year from Wednesday, August 21st through Friday, August 23rd in the Santa Cruz vicinity. SBA orientations in years past have been held as far away as Yosemite National Park and as close as Lake Tahoe.

This year’s coastal orientation trip was based at Monte Toyon Retreat Center in Aptos, California. After arriving at Monte Toyon and moving into their bunk quarters Wednesday afternoon, student-athletes regrouped with their advisories and headed off for an afternoon of advisory bonding activities.

Advisory group activities included, among other adventures, some hands-on exposure on foot and in kayak to coastal ecosystems at the tide pools on Natural Bridge State Park, the beaches of Wilder State Park, and the wetlands of Elkhorn Slough.

Advisory groups returned Wednesday evening and gathered by the Monty Toyon fireside to participate in the school’s annual “String of Hopes” orientation event. Each student and staff member wrote on hole-punched cards and then shared aloud a hope that he or she had for the SBA community this school year. The cards were then strung together and hung on one of the Monte Toyon bunkhouses.

Thursday’s morning and afternoon orientation programming featured a variety of group experiential learning trips to more surrounding ecosystems and cultural venues. Student-athletes took in the Shakespeare play Henry V at Santa Cruz’s Festival Glen, visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium, learned about the Point Lobos ecosystem, and surfed and boogie boarded on various Santa Cruz area beaches.

Thursday evening’s orientation programming entailed some spirited group challenges on the Monte Toyon grounds.

Before heading home Friday evening, student-athletes, faculty, and staff hiked some seven miles along the steep Rocky Ridge and Soberanes Canyon Trails to a scenic overlook within Garrapata State Park.