MINTURN, Colo. (CBS4) – It’s one of the smallest schools in the state, but someday it might continually be producing some of the biggest names in skiing.

Public school students in Vail are getting the same training that’s taken American skiers to the winner’s podium. Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy is starting to get a lot of attention. It opened about 4 years ago with only 25 students. Now it has nearly 90 students.

“The whole school is actually set up around the ski season,” ski coach Bruce Hamlin told CBS4 Mountain Newsroom reporter Stan Bush.

At the school first period is giant slalom.

“The pedigree of this club is pretty good, as you know Lindsey Vonn is an alum; there’s a lot of quality skiers who come out of here,” Hamlin said. “There’s no reason these kids can’t make it that far or even better.”

The students get some of the best instruction in the world. What’s surprising is that anybody can attend the school since it’s open to the public. It’s the nation’s only public ski academy.

“Really the mission is to bring together both the athletic side of what these kids do and the academics,” Holly Beavers with the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy said.

School starts with 4 hours of intense skiing. It’s followed up by an afternoon in class in Minturn. Classes run until 5:30 p.m. and they can just as challenging as the slopes.

“These kids have physical training, they have school, they have their on-snow training, homework, equipment preparation,” Nigel Cooper with the Ski & Snowboard Club said. “It’s like a job.”

High School senior Cristhan Ravelo says he’s focused on making the Sochi Winter Olympics, but he also has to be just as focused on his grades.

“You definitely don’t have the high school experience but it’s definitely worth it,” Ravelo told Bush.

In order for students at the school to actually ski they have to maintain a C average.

Related Link: Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy


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