Located at Lake Tahoe, California, Sugar Bowl Academy is a fully accredited college preparatory high school for competitive skiers. It's a world-class ski academy for Alpine, Nordic and Freeride athletes.

In the Words of SBA Alumni...

By Kristen Giordano Faculty

Often, schools are asked what makes their program different, special, or unique. At Sugar Bowl Academy we could talk about many things including our academic and athletic programs that are designed to work together for student-athlete success, our location on Donner Summit, or our new academic and residential facilities and use of a dedicated race arena. These are the easy and more obvious answers that might start to explain what our program is to someone from outside world of competitive skiing. What I would argue makes SBA is special and unique are the experiences that are outside of the classroom or off of snow. Our student-athletes have lives that allow them to pursue an academic path while living their athletic passion. Outside of this commitment there is the need to be a kid; to be heard, to laugh, and to make memories. I have been at SBA for 12 years, and while I could write a series of books listing all my favorite things or most memorable moments, I am going to share with you what some of our alumni had to say about three questions this spring.


What was your favorite thing about attending SBA?

“To be frank I loved almost every aspect of the Academy. There are plenty of times I think about my time there and wish I could still be there."

“Traveling, having a team to race with and support you”

“Small classes with amazing teachers, thinking outside the box, it was the best learning environment and prepared me well for college and life”

“The people”

“Close relationships with teachers and friends”

“Community and skiing”

“Sugar Bowl allowed me to pursue my passion while receiving an excellent education. Small class sizes, dedicated teachers, and schedule flexibility were the greatest academic benefits of SBA. I learned the importance of hard work and focus to accomplish goals.”

“Being in the dorm because I loved having people around me and having a routine”

“Super tight knit relationships with peers and teachers”

“Friends; living near my athletics and academics; the types of teachers and coaches they chose to staff were very important to me”

“The emphasis on strength as an athlete and as a student”

“Well the skiing and travel were obviously great, but I also really liked the size of the school as it was cool to know everyone on campus, and in most cases pretty well. I built some great friendships at SBA, and I also think it taught me a lot about dealing with people you may not get along with because you had to see them constantly.”

“Skiing and small community”

“Being able to focus on skiing and have the support for school work. I was not the odd one out like I was at my previous high school, we were all in it together.”

“The teachers”

“Easy one--my favorite part about SBA were the friends I made. I learned a whole lot from my peers, teachers, and coaches. I remember looking up to just about everyone at SBA.”

“By attending SBA, I was entering into a close community. The community that the academy has built helped me grow as a person.”


What were the most memorable moments you had at SBA?

“I remember our accomplishments pretty well. The finishes of century rides stick out and everyone cheering at the top of old 40 sticks out.”

“All of the XeD trips”

“My best memories are, again, regarding the community. Coming from such a huge school, it was great to be able to know your teachers, coaches, and peers so well.”

“Completing the century ride my second time ever on a road bike was a huge personal accomplishment for me and represents the determination that I discovered about myself while I was at Sugar Bowl.”

“Orientations, dorm trips, scuba trip, receiving the “Hard Charger” award, and graduating.”

“The dorm camping trips, orientation trips, and experiential trips were always a highlight for me. Spending time outside of campus with the community!”

“All great memories with friends that I would still call close friends today.”

“Experiential learning trips, and fun activities with our advisory groups”

“Oh, too many to list here. One right off the top of my head is the dorm Olympics we had my freshman or sophomore year. We were split into teams and all wore the same color. The scavenger hunt was documented with pictures and it was just a great time.”

“Hiking Mt. Shasta has to be one of the most memorable experience, it was something I never would have imagined doing. Same goes for the experiential trips that followed. I never would have attended the Ashland Shakespeare Festival or canoyeered through Zion National Park.”

“Formal dinners were always really special!”

“There was a big storm my freshman year and I was on shovel duty with some upper classman I didn't know very well. We bonded over the toughness of the work, and I remember celebrating with them afterwards with hours of Mario Kart on the Wii--I remember this as a classic way of meeting friends on the summit.”

“My most memorable experience was just looking back at how much I grew as a person. It is nice to just look back and see how far I have come as a person whether that was athletically, academically, or socially.”


How did SBA prepare you for college?

“My writing and research skills are quite good”

“Time management”

“Incredibly well. A deep desire to learn and seek out knowledge with the tools to do just that.”

“I was already prepared to live in a dorm, and although it is very different in college, I think being a boarding student helped. Also, I feel like the education I got and the way I was exposed to learning at SBA helps me to stand out now that I am in College.”

“Teaching us critical thinking and ways to adapt to unusual situations”

“I think the most valuable thing was that it prepared me to be independent, or more independent than the average high school graduate. While we did have great dorm parents looking after us, it prepared me to be responsible for my own actions.”

“Sugar Bowl Academy gave me a fierce work ethic, and made me comfortable speaking to my professors in college. I am not afraid to speak up in lecture halls of several hundred students or seek out help from professors outside of class.”

“SBA helped me prepare for college by teaching me how to communicate to professors”

“TIME MANAGEMENT. 100%. Knowing how to balance athletics and school has been huge in college and will only continue to help me in life as a real person!”

“Discipline, time management, confidence, strength, health, motivation”

“It taught me a lot of time management skills that were really important for surviving school. It also taught me about living without my parents and how to handle a roommate you don't know super well. Oh and it helped my skiing a ton and I wasn't behind in my academics.”

“I was amazed at how unprepared other freshman were at the start of my college experience. I felt very prepared and received a great education. Skiing gave me great time management skills. The teachers at SBA prepared me well for life after high school. Thinking back to my senior project has helped me so much in every presentation at college.”

“The writing skills we learned through our senior project were particularly helpful. I also think that getting to be part of such a highly academic community was generally helpful to prep for college.”

“Living with other people was easy in college. After living on top of a huge rock with the same people for a few years, I had no trouble navigating the social friction often associated with college dorms.”

“SBA helped me to see all the potential I could have if I just put some effort and time into my work. Also, because of the busy and hectic schedule, time management is an essential skill that you pick up.”

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