WATERVILLE VALLEY — Waterville Valley Elementary School just completed its pilot season of an innovative public elementary ski program, School on the Mountain, a partnership between WVES and Waterville Valley Resort’s general manager and president Tim Smith. Not only did all of the K-8 students learn the joys of alpine skiing, they also learned about the resort town in the White Mountains that they call home—the history of the mountains, ski resorts, and stewardship efforts in the region.

WVES faculty and staff worked with Smith over the summer and throughout the school year to develop an all-encompassing, New Hampshire State Standards-based curriculum appropriate for each grade level. Students in all grades learned about the history of Waterville Valley; animal habitats in New Hampshire; snowmaking on the mountain; resort operations; and marketing. They met with experts in each area, including the resort’s head chef and local scientists--and then broke out into groups to work on related activities by grade. On snow-making day, for example, after the presentation K-3 students read a short story, “Snowflake Bentley,” and played a math game, while older students worked on a water cycle project. In addition to presentations, activities, and school work, students skied and snowboarded with resort instructors, with the littlest skiers learning in small groups, and the older students working on advanced techniques.

“As the president and general manager of Waterville Valley Resort I’m thrilled to have the community’s school at the resort learning about the mountain and their unique surroundings," Smith said. "And as a parent of two children participating in the program I’m thankful that they get the opportunity be taught in an active learning environment.”

Adams-Davis attributes the success of the program to the faculty’s connection with Smith and the “willingness on the part of the mountain to make space for us, enthusiasm from the staff to create a meaningful program, and a positive learning attitude from our students.” Since the pilot year was so successful, Smith and Adams-Davis are looking forward to future collaborations and the development of additional programming. “We have yet to dive into the science of snow; effects friction; mechanical and electrical engineering; and first aid and emergency response. It feels as though there are endless lessons to be learned at School on the Mountain,” Smith said.

For more information about the program contact Adams-Davis at 603-236-4700 or gadams-davis@pemibaker.org.

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