Dear CVA community,

While this milestone will be official in 2022, we’d love to reveal our 40th logo, and the artist behind it, to you all right here. 

We’re so honored that local artist, Claudia Diller, designed this commemorative logo to celebrate our important anniversary. As one of the most esteemed Maine artists, Claudia has called our state home since she was a teenager. Essentially self-taught, her work is an honest reflection of her own mental meandering, and a diary of the way she sees the world.
As the original designer of the CVA logo and the Big Dog icon, Claudia saw this as an opportunity to pay homage to the original logo, while showing how CVA has grown over the last 40 years. As a former CVA parent, she wanted to “conjure up the original spirit of CVA” in her design, including some iconic CVA images – the Big Dog, skiing, snowboarding, and The Loaf itself.

Beautifully designed, Claudia has captured the vibrancy of CVA, as well as our collective spirit, as we move into this new decade. I look forwarding to celebrating this milestone with you throughout 2022.

Kate Webber Punderson ’89
Head of School
We also have lots of other things to celebrate, and we’re excited to catch up.

There's so much to share in this newsletter, including these quick highlights:
  • Our students’ environmental movement 
  • Driving equity in our classroom (and world)
  • Two new coaches and a promotion on our Alpine team  
  • What our amazing athletes are up to 
  • Pre-holiday camps open for registration
  • Our exciting safety net news, thanks to our partners 
  • An inside peek into our Registration Days 
  • A look at our annual Mountain Work Day 
  • Results for our first Alpine vs. Action Sports soccer game
  • The latest Big Dog spirit on campus
  • How our “Worry and Grateful Boxes" are supporting mental health 
  • Why “Jeopardy” came to CVA
  • Mental Health Matters with Katie O'Hara
  • Our September and October Student of the Month Spotlight 
  • Meet and welcome our newest Board members
  • Save the date: November 30th - Giving Tuesday
  • How to give back to CVA with AmazonSmile
  • ‘Tis the season: Order your wreath today
  • The details on the 22nd Annual Sugarloaf Charity Summit
We’re so happy you’re here, so let’s dive into these past few months at CVA!
A strike for climate change.
On October 4th, our CVA students proved that true change comes from action. 

Hosted by the Environmental Club at CVA, this protest helped raise awareness about climate change – a powerful threat that impacts our school, our sport, and our community.

During this protest, the students made signs, then stood outside of the Capricorn building facing Carrabassett Drive. The enthusiasm to spark a positive change was amazing to experience. In fact, you can see it for yourself with the WSKI coverage right here!

Beyond this strike, the Environmental Club leads our school in weekly meetings on protecting our environment, and the club has implemented all-school changes to help reduce the carbon footprint of CVA.  

Just recently, this club installed a “chicken feed compost” to donate uneaten food to an area farm for their chickens. They also organized a drive to recycle excess plastic to help offset the impact of the recent COVID health protocols. These funds were reinvested back into the Environmental Club to further fuel their efforts to make our school and community more sustainable.
Driven for a more equitable society.
As a small, private, ski and snowboard academy located in rural Maine, there is a kind of “bubble” at CVA for many students who don’t regularly experience much diversity. Our school believes in expanding this “bubble” to promote equity in our classrooms, our sports, and in our community. 

We, like many of you, realized the importance of equity work in recent years – especially as our faculty and student body have expanded. In support of this, we’re pleased to introduce a new elective course in our catalogue - Honors History: Race and American Pop Culture, taught by Kristen Davis. This course is a gateway to understanding how our past and present are bound up in the construction, and hierarchy, of race. 

In this course, students dive deep into discrimination history and racial controversies, understanding the importance of sharing experiences and feeling heard – and meeting these (often different) experiences with empathy. 

This course also critically examines various genres of pop culture such as cartoons, advertisements, film, TV, music, and sports over the past century to better understand how the representations of race in our daily lives contribute to our current state of racial relations and inequities. As a discussion-driven course, students share ideas, ask questions, create discussion questions, journal, and debate. Students also create position statements, film reviews, song analyses, produce a creative writing piece, and prepare a researched argument paper on a pop culture text of their choice.

CVA believes that part of diversifying winter sports includes creating a welcoming environment to everyone with an interest in skiing and snowboarding. We are committed to fostering a place for all people to thrive at our school.
We are now accepting applications for the 2022 - 2023 school year.
We are here to help you discover the opportunities and advantages of continuing your academic and athletic future at CVA. We want to know more about you, answer your questions, and connect you to the people of CVA as you make big decisions for your future. If you, or someone that you know, is interested in applying for the 2022-2023 school year, please check out our Admissions page at
Alpine department.
The Alpine department is proud to announce the addition of two coaches this year - Anne Rockwell and Jenny Piot!
Anne Rockwell, a CVA alumna, is the coach for U16 Women this year.  

Anne grew up in the small town of Greenville, Maine, where her father was, and still is, the Greenville Lakers Alpine race coach. With an early love for ski racing, Anne received an Alfond Scholarship to attend four years at Carrabassett Valley Academy at age 15. She was later recruited by Bates College to ski for their Division 1 ski team in her senior year. Anne competed all four years and qualified for NCAA Championships. Following her retirement, Anne started her coaching career with Gould Academy. In her seven years of coaching, Anne worked with a variety of ages, including U16 Men and Women, Women's FIS/U19, and U14 Men and Women. With a background in outdoor recreation, Anne has also worked with LLBean Discovery School and is an active Level 2 Maine Whitewater Guide, Recreational Maine Guide, and Level 1 Mountain Bike Instructor.
Jenny Piot, a retired World Cup racer, is coaching U19 Women. 

Jenny grew up in the small mountain village of Bourg d’Oisans, in the High Alps near Grenoble. She started skiing at two years old, and never stopped. At age 20, Jenny made the French A team and won the Downhill at the World Junior Championships at Le Massif, Quebec. At 22, she was selected to compete in the World Championships in Beaver Creek, CO, where she scored her first top 15 result in World Cup events. At 25, she qualified for the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. She continued to ski at the World Cup level in DH, SG, GS, AC & Parallel events until her retirement in 2021.
In addition to these new team members, CVA Alpine promoted Sean Sullivan to the lead U19 Men’s coach. 

Sean attended CVA for two years and graduated from CVA in 2016. His senior year of high school, he skied to a 5th place finish at U18 Canadian Nationals at Blue Mountain, Ontario. After CVA he was offered a spot on the Plymouth State Ski Team before choosing to attend CU Boulder for one year as a regular student. After that year, Sean decided to pursue a career in coaching. Sean spent two seasons coaching at Eldora Mountain in Colorado as a head coach for their U14 program and assisting in the U16 program. While at Eldora, Sean brought four U14 athletes to the Rocky Mountain Regionals, the most Eldora had sent in years. Sean joined the CVA Alpine coaching staff in 2019 and brings first-hand experience, enormous passion, great energy, and spark to the Alpine program. Sean was recently promoted to Lead U19 Mens coach.

Head Coach, Sean Chattelard, is immensely proud of his former student’s promotion. It’s a true testament of Sean Sullivan’s coaching abilities to work alongside his previous mentor. 

To learn more about our coaches and staff, go here.
Alpine athletes.
Since the start of the fall term, Alpine athletes have been focusing on rigorous dry-land training and physical testing. They just embarked on their first discipline-wide training trip of the year. 

Here’s the latest:

  • Alpine U16 & U19 Women are skiing and training in Loveland, Colorado, from October 31st to November 15th. 21 full term student-athletes left Saturday, October 30th, and 5 winter term student-athletes flew out one week later to join the camp. These athletes will be working on pre-season drills and free skiing drills, with a slow progression into gates training. 

  • Alpine U16 & U19 Men are based out of Vail and are free skiing and training in surrounding areas, from October 31st to November 15th. 16 full-term student-athletes departed on October 30th, and 3 winter term student-athletes joined them a week later. While doing some GS training at Copper Mountain last weekend, the team loaded the lift with Mikaela Shiffrin!

  • The Alpine U14s and U12 & U14 Weekend Program athletes left for Colorado on Saturday, November 6th and will be returning on November 18th. They are based out of Summit County and skiing between Loveland, Arapahoe Basin (A-basin), Keystone and Winter Park. Both the U14 and Weekend Program athletes, the focus will be on the ski racing fundamentals including body position, balance, turn shape, proper nutrition, conditioning, and mindset.  
Backcountry athletes.
October was a busy month of exploration, and it marked the end of Fall travel for our Backcountry athletes.

During the fall season, Backcountry athletes took extended trips to North Conway, NH, and Acadia National Park, to focus on developing rock-climbing skills, while also enjoying hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking. 

The student-athletes also enjoyed several exciting outings close to home, including mountain biking at Freeman Ridge Bike Park, rock climbing at Chain of Ponds, and running throughout trails in the Bigelow and Crocker Mountain ranges. 

As they wait for snow, Backcountry athletes are focused on welcoming the Winter Term athletes and preparing for the Wilderness First Aid course they will hold this weekend, on November 14th-15th.
Action Sports department.
This past year, CVA created an Action Sports Department, bringing together the disciplines of Freestyle, Snowboard, and Skicross under one director, Nate McKenzie. As a more effective way to improve training consistency, this reorganization has been a huge win for CVA. 

Our Action Sports athletes had the opportunity to get off campus and experience fun, elevated training in cross-disciplinary groups this fall. 

Here’s a quick recap of training opportunities this crew has had so far this year:
Snowboard and Ski/Park athletes
In October, these student-athletes headed to Maximise in Quebec to hone their skills. They got to use the airbag, which offers the same inclination as a standard park landing. This allowed student-athletes the opportunity to practice their tricks, before executing them on the snow, to reduce the risk of injury. 

Freestyle Moguls athletes 
In September, CVA full-term student-athletes, and Level A weekend program Freestyle athletes, headed to MacKenzie Intervale Ski Jumping Complex in Lake Placid, NY, for a water ramp training camp, to refine their jumps and tricks. This innovative ramp training provides Freestyle athletes the chance to improve their airs, test out new tricks, and safely practice inverted and off-axis maneuvers before the season officially begins.
Boardercross, Ski Cross, and Alpine Snowboard athletes
In October, these athletes went on a Go-Karting trip in Albion, ME, for some pre-season training, to explore elements of speed, bunching, and G-forces that these teams experience daily while on the snow. The student-athletes participated in multiple race heats, focusing on drafting, spatial awareness, learning where and when to make the move to pass, when to accelerate, when to back off, and making split-second decisions - all of which translate from the track to the hill.

Winter Holiday Camps Update: Pre-Holiday Camp for U12-U16.
2021 Annual Pre-Holiday Camp for U12-U16 athletes. This camp is based on slalom and giant slalom technical and tactical fundamentals, as well as comprehensive work with the Skills Quest program from US Ski & Snowboard.

Dates: December 21-22, 2021

To learn more about CVA Pre-Holiday Camps, go here.
To learn more about Skills Quest, go here.
Thanks to our partners for keeping our kids safe.
Ski and snowboard competition is not without risk, and no protection system (i.e., A-Nets, B-Nets, Air Pads) can totally eliminate the risk or possibility of injury. While this is true, CVA always puts the safety and well-being of our kids as a top priority, and we’re happy to announce that we just had some big help in protecting our students. 

The Sugarloaf Competition Department, along with the help of the Kelly Brush Foundation, the Sugarloaf Ski Club, Colby, and CVA, purchased 300 rolls of B-Nets this year to help ensure the safety of our student-athletes. Each roll of B-Netting is about 20m long and assembled with polycarbonate poles, costing approximately $400 per roll.  

All competitions require different amounts of safety netting. Downhill races require the most, since they require that B-Netting be installed from the top to the bottom of the course, on both sides. In total, between A-Nets, B-Nets, Air Bags, poles, and padding, the cost to the mountain of keeping our student-athletes safe is upwards of $312K.  

Beyond money, assembling and installing the B-Nets is a time-intensive process. That’s why Sugarloaf, and the Sugarloaf Ski Club, partnered with our Alpine student-athletes, and UMF student-athletes, to assemble the new netting in October. The continued partnership between Sugarloaf, The Sugarloaf Ski Club, and CVA is something we are very grateful for. This truly was a greater Sugarloaf community effort. 
Registered and ready to go.
We just wrapped up our Fall and Winter Registration Days. It was so nice to see our new and returning families excited for the year at CVA!

Here’s a quick snapshot of the incoming crew:

89 student-athletes from all five disciplines (Alpine, Freestyle, Snowboard, Ski Cross and Backcountry) arrived for Fall Term and 34 arrived for Winter Term, bringing our total enrollment to 123 students. 

Families came from across the globe, from as close as Carrabassett Valley, to as far as Turkey.  

On arrival, families received a packet including the student's class schedule, a map of the classrooms in the Webber Academic Center, the schedule for the upcoming week (including orientation activities and physical testing), and the school calendars. 

At the conclusion of Registration Day, students participated in Gratitude Ceremonies where they thanked their parents. It’s so reflective of the kindness and compassion that our students exude daily!

See our photos of Fall Registration Day here.
See our photos of Winter Registration Day here.
Teamwork makes the dream work.
It's our long-standing tradition to lend a helping hand to our partners at Sugarloaf Mountain. We all have a special spot in our hearts for The Loaf, as it has provided so many special experiences and memories of accomplishments big and small. It’s our honored tradition to give back to the mountain on our annual Mountain Work Day, hosted this year on October 20th. Our students stacked firewood at the Sugarloaf Salt Shed and picked up trash around the mountain. We’re so proud that our students share our love and respect for The Loaf, and we’re already looking forward to next year!

See our photos of Mountain Work Day here.
First annual Alpine vs. Action Sports soccer game.
With Big Dog love in the air, we hosted our first annual Action Sports vs. Alpine soccer game on Saturday, October 23rd. 

The first game was Women’s Action Sports vs. Women’s Alpine, and the game consisted of two, thirty-minute halfs. 

Up next was the Men’s Action Sports vs. Men’s Alpine, and this game consisted of two, forty-minute halfs. 

Points were awarded for sportsmanship, as well as overall score. The matches resulted in tie games due to the amazing balance of athleticism and sportsmanship. Thank you to everyone who came out to support our players and cheer them on. You could feel the Big Dog love in the air.

See our photos of the soccer match here.
Dance like you mean it.
On Saturday, October 23rd, we had our annual homecoming dance for grades 9-12. Thanks to the huge help, and the collective spirit, of Beth Hamblet and the student body, the atrium was transformed into a dance hall. The students worked so hard to make this happen, and it was awesome to see them dance the night away and enjoy the magic that they created.

See our photos of Homecoming here.
There’s no spirit quite like Big Dog spirit.
We are still feeling the excitement from Spirit Week that just happened in the last week of October! Hosted by the student council, students went all-in for themed days including pajama day, retirement day, twin day, costume day, and color wars. 

We also want to give a huge shout out and thanks to the Parent Support Organization. They put on an amazing Halloween-themed dinner and dessert night at campus – and the treats and costumes were equally “spooktacular.”

See our photos of Spirit Week here.
When getting hit with a paintball is a good thing…
At least that’s what our kids said when they fired off over 500 paintballs at each other! Across boarding and day students, and all disciplines, 24 students played for two hours at Town Paintball in Vassalboro for an amazing morale-building experience.
What's on your mind?
Mental health is important for everyone. And, thanks to our Peer Mentors, we have an interactive mental health activity that is already popular on campus. Meet our "Worry and Grateful Boxes."

Located in the Academic Center, these simple boxes encourage students to place their worries in the Worry Box, and what they’re grateful for in the Grateful Box. 

Later this month, CVA will hold a campus bonfire to burn the Worry Box and celebrate letting go of the things that don't serve us. 

P.S. Even if you’re not on campus, we think this is a great idea for your home or workplace to make room for the energy you most want in your life!
I’ll take Social Skills for $500, please.
Middle school is a crucial time of navigating lots of things, so CVA hosted a life skills session for these students on October 19th. We covered topics like social awareness, building healthy friendships, and giving and receiving feedback with peers. Our senior Peer Mentors also took some extra time to share some wisdom with our newest CVA students. As the grand finale to this session, kids got to test their new knowledge with a game of Social Skills Jeopardy!
Mental Health Matters with Katie O'Hara.
Starting with this issue of our newsletter, our Mental Health Advocate, Katie O'Hara, will share an article that addresses mental health wellness and awareness. This is the first installation of her monthly update.

Inviting the light in.
While there’s a beauty to the change of seasons, as we enter the winter months, the loss of light is often challenging for the people that call our state home. In protecting your mental health, invite the light in. Katie shares this article that can help to do just that.
September Student of the Month Spotlight.
Join us in giving a huge congratulations to these amazing kids!
High School Student of the Month:  
Luna is a strong student, and is achieving high marks across her courses. She has embraced all the opportunities presented to her throughout the CVA community this fall. Congratulations, Luna!

Middle School Student of the Month: 
We’re happy to recognize Ali for her effort and her willingness to go the extra mile in her classes this fall. Way to go, Ali!
Community Member of the Month:
It’s important to have positive leaders at the start of the year and Amy has been such a leader. She is eager to lend a hand around campus and goes out of her way to keep other student’s spirits up. Thank you, Amy!
Middle School Athlete of the Month: 
Ethan’s coaches describe his effort as “off the charts.” He is early to practice with all the right gear, never complains, is full of integrity, always inclusive, and is enthusiastic even through the hard stuff. Keep up the good work, Ethan!
High School Athlete of the Month: 
In his first month at CVA, Shire fully embraced what being a Big Dog athlete is all about. He is super positive, works hard, is respectful and resilient. Way to go, Shire!
October Student of the Month Spotlight.
Another round of applause to this impressive group of kids!
High School Student of the Month:  
Noah has kicked off his Senior year with strong effort and grades in all his classes. Doubling up on science, he has shown collegiate level work in both physics and Environmental science. In class he is focused, respectful and mature. Congratulations, Noah!
Community Member of the Month:
Dahlia consistently makes time to care for others while maintaining a rigorous course schedule, working hard in athletics and serving as a peer tutor. Her fellow students lean on her for support, which she gives with kindness and empathy. Thank you, Dahlia, for all you do for us.
Middle School Athlete of the Month: 
Kenadie has led the Middle School team this fall with maturity, confidence, encouragement, and patience. She is always there to lend a hand and help a teammate. She developed a coach's eye for technique, listens well and follows directions, all while working hard. Way to go, Kenadie!
High School Athlete of the Month: 
Abby's hard work in the gym has paid off as she set PR after PR in the weight room. She always displays a great attitude towards training and respect for her coaches. She consistently stays late to help the coaches put equipment away and lend a hand wherever she can. Congratulations, Abby!
Say "hello" to our newest Board members.
At the meeting of the CVA Board of Trustees in September, Benjamin Bisson ‘09 and Sudheer Tyagi were voted in as our newest Board Members. Kevin Burns was also named as an Honorary Member of the Board of Trustees. 

As a proper introduction, here’s a bit more on our new members, and please join us in giving them all a warm welcome!
Benjamin Bisson ’09 
Development and Alumni Committee, 2021-2022 

Benjamin grew up in Woolwich, Maine, before moving to Carrabassett Valley with his family at age 10. He attended CVA from 8th to 12th grade, and graduated in 2009. 

During his career as a snowboarder, Benjamin focused on halfpipe and slope-style. He was named to the USASA All-American Team and competed in World Junior Pro in Les Deux Alpes in France. Following graduation from CVA, Benjamin graduated from Westmont College in 2013, and headed back to Maine to work with his family’s real estate business and be part of the CVA snowboarding coaching staff. 

After meeting his wife Marianna, Benjamin joined the USA Paralympic Snowboarding Coaching Team in 2018 and spent the following year traveling as a Paralympic Coach while living in Georgia. Benjamin and his wife then decided to plant roots back in Maine, and today they sell real estate from the Midcoast to Sugarloaf. In addition to growing the family business, Benjamin enjoys training for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, surfing, and snowboarding.
Sudheer Tyagi P'24
Finance and Enrollment Committee, 2021-2022 

Sudheer grew up in India and attended a boarding school in the foothills of Himalayas, completing the Basic Mountaineering Course at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at age 15. Two years later, he was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh's Gold award for his Mountaineering and Social Service achievements. At 18, Sudheer came to the United States to pursue his undergraduate studies in Engineering at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey.

After college, Sudheer joined Citibank as a Management Associate, traveling to roughly 30 countries while dually obtaining his Master's degree in Systems Engineering from Cornell University. After 12 years with Citibank, he left his job to pursue an MBA at the Indian School of Business in India, and he has been working at the Credit Suisse Investment Bank in NYC for the past 11 years as a Program Manager.
Kevin Burns P'04
Honorary Member of the Board of Trustees

Elected due to his loyalty and commitment to CVA, Kevin was one of nine members voted as an Honorary Member of the Board of Trustees since CVA opened in 1982. 

Kevin has served CVA with distinction in the following capacities:
  • Loyal and involved parent of CVA alumnus Benjamin Burns ’04
  • Member of the Board of Trustees, 2005- 2021
  • Chair of the Board of Trustees, 2007- 2013 and 2018-2020 
  • Chair of the Executive, Leadership, Development, and Scholarship Event Committees
  • Active member of the Executive; Leadership; Development; Finance; Investment; Human Resources and Governance; Program; Strategic Planning; and Anti-Gravity Complex Committees
  • Led the Board through hiring a Head of School and the leadership transition
  • Responsible and thoughtful fiscal oversight delivering mission-driven decisions
  • Steward of the Academy’s transition to the King Cummings Campus in 2007
Save the date: November 30th - Giving Tuesday. 
When you give back to CVA, you do so much. You allow us to continue to provide exceptional classroom instruction and offer a world-class winter sports experience to students who want to pursue their dreams with us.

We invite you to join us in making a gift to CVA on Tuesday, November 30th, Giving Tuesday - a global generosity movement that unleashes the power of radical generosity. Established in 2012 to encourage people to do good, it’s grown into a year-round global movement that inspires hundreds of millions of people to give, collaborate, and celebrate generosity.

Give back with AmazonSmile.
It’s never been easier to give back to CVA! When you shop on Amazon this holiday season, you can support CVA using AmazonSmile

Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. 

It’s so simple to use:
  1. Sign in to on your desktop or mobile phone browser
  2. From your desktop, go to Your Account and select the option to “Change your Charity”
  3. Or, from your mobile browser, select “Change your Charity” from the options at the bottom of the page and select to support “Carrabassett Valley Academy.”
Happiest holiday shopping, and thanks so much for your support! 
'Tis the season: Order your wreath today.
Your most-loved Annual CVA Wreath Sale is here, thanks to the CVA Parent Support Organization.

Each fresh, balsam Maine wreath is made locally, in Maine. Proceeds from the sale support educational, cultural, and athletic projects at CVA. 

You can order your wreath online through December 1, 2021, right here: A deluxe wreath, with bow, is only $35, with $12 to ship anywhere in the US. As a perfect gift, wreaths will be shipped the first week in December. Wreaths not being shipped/delivered, can be picked up at CVA, or delivered locally by our PSO volunteers, on December 4, 2021.

For more information, please contact Jodi Polchies '25 at
22nd Annual Sugarloaf Charity Summit.
The Sugarloaf Charity Summit, Sugarloaf’s premier fundraising event, provides an opportunity for Sugarloafers, old and new, to join forces in the fight against cancer. The funds raised will stay right here in Maine and will go on to support the life-changing work of the Maine Cancer Foundation, the Martha B. Webber Breast Care Center and the Dempsey Center. Join us by participating in the moonlit Climb for a Cure, bidding in our eclectic online auction, buying a raffle ticket for a two-year Season Pass to Sugarloaf, and fundraising with us during the second annual Sugarloaf Charity Challenge. Please visit for more information, and be sure to check back frequently as new details will be added soon!
Can we ask one small favor?
CVA is on Niche, a website that helps families decide which school is best for them – and it’s a site solely built on reviews.

No one knows – and loves – CVA like you do. Do you mind sharing your unique experience and insight on Niche with other families looking to make this important choice? You can do so directly, right here.

Just a few minutes of your time will have a huge positive impact on the future of CVA, and we’re so appreciative of your help. Thank YOU for being the most important part of our CVA story!
3197 Carrabassett Drive
Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947
Phone: (207) 237-2250