STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Steamboat Mountain School is an independent college preparatory boarding and day school that challenges students in both academics and unique learning programs outside the classroom. The co-educational school was founded in 1957 by Lowell Whiteman, who wanted to combine a rigorous academic curriculum with outdoor learning experiences.
“His real passion was getting kids into the out of doors and getting them to have these amazing experiences,” said Head of School Meg Morse. “Our students leave here with great time management skills because they had to work on that balance.”
Morse said the school has about 70 students and recently expanded to K-12 continuous education after merging with Emerald Mountain School.
Steamboat Mountain School offers a rigorous academic program inside the classroom and focuses on two populations to enhance outside the classroom experiences. The first is the school’s global immersion studies program where students go on an annual four-week stay in a developing country. In recent years the school has visited India, Morocco and Ecuador.
This year, students and staff traveled domestically due to the pandemic but hope to resume their global learning next year.
“In the last decades, the world’s more of a united place,” said teacher Gina Wither. “I think it’s so important to learn about the world around us, to learn about our differences but more importantly about our similarities and to learn to respect different cultures, different people.”
The second focus is the school’s competitive ski program that offers top ski and snowboard athletes the opportunity for high-level competitive training with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Morse said the program hosts about 25 athletes who come here so they don’t have to compromise their athletics or their academics.
“We tell our ski families we’re really setting them up to ski both in college and to also follow their dream that they want to go to the Olympics,” Morse said. “We’ve had Olympians, we’ve had skiers who’ve skied in the World Cup, but they all have that foundation of academic work that when they turn their mind to college, they're absolutely prepared for that.”
Nick DeMarco is a sophomore at the school and is in training as a competitive alpine skier. He said between classes and training, time management is important.
“During winter, I’d be doing school until about noon and then I’ll leave for training…train for a couple of hours, come back do some homework, wax skis (and) do it all again the next day,” he said. “Probably for the first couple of weeks you start doing it, you figure it out pretty quick…you got to get all your work done and then you can go play.”
Morse said the school wants to make sure when their students go off to college, that they really have the skill set they need and the intellectual curiosity that will drive them forward for the rest of their lives.
“There’s a core academic program that really focuses on making sure that they have all the skills necessary for college,” she said. “Our academics are equally as high as the athletic opportunities that our students are going to be exposed to here.”
SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Education stories from 9NEWS