Winter Sports School prepares students for college and snowfall |

Winter Sports School prepares students for college and snowfall

Megan Yeiter , The Park Record

Ian Griffith, a freshman at the Winter Sports School in Park City, said his expectations of the school have been met so far this year.

The school is a college preparatory organization for students who are passionate about winter sports.

According to Headmaster Rob Clayton, the school’s mission is to prepare winter sports athletes for college.

"We provide a high school education during the off-season of the students’ respective sport," Clayton said.

Griffith said he transferred to The Winter Sports School because he was always leaving public school early for Alpine ski events.

"I was missing out on some electives and the fun classes, and I had to take all my work to the races and camps. It was a struggle," Griffith said.

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He said transferring schools was definitely the right move.

"I would call it a life-changing decision. It took me about a month and I decided that sacrificing some of my summer is a lot more beneficial compared to what would be happening in public school," Griffith said.

The first day of school this year was April 18 with its last day scheduled on Nov. 18.

Griffith said he’s excited to see how summer conditioning will help with racing, and he hopes things will continue to go well throughout the year.

"My teachers have been great and all really helpful. I can’t wait for the ski season where I’m free and I can work as hard as I can," he said.

The school year is in its third term with 54 students. Clayton said enrollment is up 19 students from last year.

According to Clayton the school has been in Park City for 18 years, with its largest class of 62 students in 2007.

He said the school attracts students from all over the world, including two students from Australia this year, as well as many from several states on the West Coast.

Clayton explained that one of the benefits of a small student body is the teacher-to-student ratio.

In addition to academic classes, Clayton said that everyone is actively participating in a summer training program.

He said the school not only wants to see its students achieve academically but also athletically, so they almost require the conditioning.

"If they don’t do the work during the summer, they can forget about results in the winter," Clayton said.

Dave Kaufman has taught English, videography, economics and finance at the school for four years.

Kaufman said his classes range in size between six and 12 students.

"There is so much more interaction between the teacher and the student. Our students are such good people," he said.

Kaufman said he enjoys teaching students who have interests that resonate with his own.

"I like the school’s place in the world and I care about education. I’ve always been interested in it. I care about winter sports and I’m a life-long skier," Kaufman said.

He said the school is unique.

"No one does quite what this school does in the level of preparedness and giving the students the winters off to truly focus," Kaufman said.

Kaufman said although he tackles a lot of the admissions work in the winter, he enjoys having the season off.