October E-Spillway Newsletter
A Note From Kate
Gratitude is one of CVA’s core values, and our community is feeling especially grateful to have spent our first month of school together on campus. On August 30th, we welcomed 71 student athletes for full-time in person academic and athletic programming and we are currently preparing for 30 more Big Dogs to join us for Winter Term on November 1. The dedication of CVA’s staff and the Sugarloaf community allowed our school to open knowing with confidence we could do so safely and ready to go the distance. For this, I am personally grateful. This feeling of gratitude is unmistakable and can be felt and seen throughout the campus. We are CVA United!


Kate Webber Punderson '89
Head of School
Back on Campus: What's Happening
During the first 6 weeks of school, student-athletes have been fully engaged in academics, athletics, and responsible community living. They’ve participated in traditional rituals, new activities, and blends of both.

On registration day, 71 families brought their student-athletes to campus, prepared with paperwork, negative COVID-19 test results, maybe a few happy tears, and tons of excitement to start a fresh new year on campus. Teachers and coaches covered a variety of topics including introductions to health and safety protocols, academics, and athletics. Students signed their CVA United social contract, committing to keeping our community safe.

During the first week, students met their teachers and hit the books the morning after they arrived with typical programming involving two academic blocks and two athletic blocks. Thanks to the beautiful weather several classes met outside.

New Teacher: Kristin Littlefield, Academic Success Program Director and English
After spending last winter tutoring CVA students, Kristin Littlefield returns full-time as Director of CVA’s new Academic Success Program (ASP). As Director, Kristin will bring her educational expertise and passion for supporting individual students to help all students find success in their classes. Prior to coming to CVA Kristin earned a BA in English Teaching from UNH and worked in the Special Education Department in the Yarmouth School Department as a Level III Ed Tech. She has experience analyzing IEPs and will work directly with classroom teachers to address different learning styles. Kristin will also teach our full credit 8th/9th Grade English and The Fundamentals of Study course. "It is very exciting to be joining the CVA community full time. I am committed to providing our students with the opportunity to be successful in all areas of their education by teaching them how to learn more efficiently. I look forward to helping students create effective study habits, understand their own learning style and reach their personal best.”

New Teacher: Jessie Scannell, Math & Science
Jessica grew up in Maine and skiing at Sugarloaf. She received her BS in Mathematics from Simmons College in Boston and went on to receive her Masters Degree from James Cook University in Australia. For 13 years she lived and worked in Australia in the field of marine research, specifically ichthyology with a specialty in tropical reef fish ecology and shark fisheries. She began working as a teacher 3 years ago. Last year, Jessie and her son Jack returned to Maine, and they recently moved into Murfey Hall on campus. They'll spend the summer getting settled. Jessie enjoys SCUBA diving, fishing and skiing.

Physical Testing - The first week included comprehensive physical assessments guided by the SkillsQuest program. SkillsQuest is a cornerstone program of the U.S. Ski & Snowboard Training Systems. It’s designed to motivate and reward athletes in working toward and improving abilities in the key areas of emphasis. As its name implies, it represents a quest, or journey, toward success in competitive skiing and snowboarding, by focusing on skills, the critical components that make up a high-performing athlete. We are so proud of all our athletes as they learn to push their own limits and pursue their performance goals.

Other athletics activities this fall have included soccer, mat circuits, sprinting, hurdle mobility, core workouts, and exercises in the new sand pit behind the soccer shed. River running is also a popular fall tradition where athletes run fast from rock to rock in a stream trying to stay dry!

Backcountry Team Training Trip - The Backcountry Team spent a week in New Hampshire's White Mountains rock climbing, hiking and backcountry camping. These activities helped the student-athletes develop mountain travel, teamwork, and leadership skills that will serve them well once they hit the big mountains this winter. The crew is stacked this year so keep an eye on their future goals accomplishments, there will be many!

Freestyle Team Training Trip - Lake Placid’s water ramps are a cornerstone of the Freestyle team’s fall training. Athletes pushed their limits with flips and spins, using the opportunity to develop their skills in preparation for the winter season.

New Coach: Tristan Clegg, Snowboard Cross
Tristan is from Salt Lake City where he grew up snowboarding. He began competing at age 8 and from 2004-2014 he competed in all disciplines. In 2013 he was Snowboard Cross champion at USASA Nationals. He went on to compete in the NorAm tour and multiple Grand Prix events, and earned multiple Gold Camp invitations. Tristan turned to coaching in 2014 working for Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, Team Utah Snowboarding SBX team, and most recently the Head Coach and Assistant Director of the Jackson Hole Ski and Snowboard Club’s Freeride program. Also joining the CVA community will be Tristan's wife Brenna Huckaby Clegg and their two young children. Brenna is currently training with the U.S. Para Snowboard team to defend her double Gold medal Snowboard wins in Peyong Chang 2018.

New Coach: Jesse Lowell '18, Assistant Moguls
Jesse Lowell graduated from CVA in 2014. At school here, he was a three time Nor Am finalist with a few top ten finishes in Moguls. Jesse started out skiing with the CVA weekend program and continued to cultivate his talents all the way through high school under the coaching of Nate Mackenzie and staff. After graduating from CVA, Jesse moved on to St. Lawrence College to graduate with a major in environmental studies in 2019. Jesse has now been a USSA Freestyle judge for the past two seasons, working at events in both Freeski and Moguls. Jesse will be a great asset to our Freestyle program with experience in all the areas; Moguls, Freeski and Freeride.

New Coach: Jeni Conover, Alpine
Jeni Conover has many years of coaching experience in multiple aspects of youth development. As a mother of 3, she is devoted to guiding children to achieve new skills on all levels and she strives to build self- confidence in every athlete she works with. Jeni attended Stratton Mountain School in the 80s, where she earned herself a spot on the US Ski Team’s development squad. She earned a BS in Kinesiology and exercise science from Western State College in Gunnison, CO. Her alpine ski coaching experience is extensive. She began her coaching in Telluride, CO, and upon returning to Maine, she revived and directed the Ragged Mountain Ski Club at the Camden Snow bowl for many years before joining us at CVA to head our U12 program. At the Snow Bowl, she played a major role in race and event organization. Last year Jeni returned to Colorado for a year to coach U12s with Ski Club Vail and brought back valuable experiences. Jeni’s certifications are extensive, including Ed Tech #3, US Coast Guard captain, US Ski & Snowboard Level 200 alpine coach, and CPR/First Aid. She ran a licensed day care in her home town of Camden, and also runs many summer maritime based and adventure camps. In her time with us here at CVA, Jeni has been a major positive influence on our young athletes, and has played a key role in many preseason and winter camps here at Sugarloaf, in Colorado, and Chile.

Orientation trips have long stood as the highlight of our first weeks back at school. They offer the opportunity for student-athletes to get to know their classmates in a fun and challenging environment. Each class went on their own overnight adventure, including Moosehead Lake, a high ropes course, whitewater rafting on the Kennebec River, rock climbing in NH, and Maine Huts & Trails Poplar Hut and Stratton Brook Hut.

Mountain clean up - One way our student athletes show their gratitude for Sugarloaf while participating in community service is Mountain Clean-up done several times throughout the year. This fall, athletes and coaches participated in another super Mountain Work Day. They worked in small groups in the lower resort areas to pick up litter. They received the following note from Sugarloaf’s President & General Manager Karl Strand: “Dear CVA Students, You all did an amazing job yesterday on resort-clean-up-duty. Thanks so much for your hard work and dedication to our community; you make us proud in multiple ways. Have a great season and I’ll look forward to seeing you on the slopes soon.”

Congratulations to newly elected student council members. We’re proud of these 12 students for offering to serve as leaders for the CVA student body: 12th Grade: Arden Velenchik, Brighton Bradford, Angelique Labelle, and Acy Craig. 11th Grade: Cassidy Strunk and Adin Freeman. 10th Grade: Dory Michaud and Addison McDermott. 9th Grade: Charlie Koenig and Max Krizo. 8th Grade: Mia Bruno. 7th Grade: Kenadie Dickey.

CVA is a dog-friendly campus and during any given year, several dogs reside in the faculty apartments and join students during class and athletics. This year, we also have a service dog in our community who helps an 8th grader manage her Type 1 diabetes.

The Carrabassett Valley region is remote but has no shortage of things to do and places to see. Our student-athletes enjoy a variety of local activities during the week and on the weekends. This fall, weekend activities have included open time on the outdoor trampolines at the AGC, cornhole tournaments, swimming at Meyers Beach on Flagstaff Lake, hiking, hanging out at the base lodge area, and outdoor movie nights. Other weekday activities have included a surfing trip at Old Orchard beach, visiting the local bison farm, hiking and mountain biking on the local world-class trails, fly fishing, golfing, and disc golf.
Alumni News
Seth Wescott '95 and Kristean Porter Thorpe '89
A well deserved award for two CVA Alums- Two-time Olympic snowboard champion Seth Wescott '95 and U.S. Ski Team Freestyle aerialist Kristean Porter Thorpe '89. They join 3 other Big Dogs already in the Hall of Fame: Bode Miller '96, Kirsten Clark Rickenbach '95, and Julie Parisien Nuce '89. Election as an Honored Member of the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame is the highest honor in snowsports in America, involving over 400 industry advocates to help with the decision.
Best senior gift ever
The new CVA gong, a gift from the class of 2020, makes its debut to start our daily all school meeting. The student council president has used a variety of tools to get attention to start the meeting over the years, this one is certainly the most unique and memorable.
Lindy McKinnon Gruen '92 and CVA Board of Trustees Leadership
The CVA Board of Trustees has elected a new Chair, Lindy McKinnon Gruen. Lindy has taken the reins from Kevin Burns who led the Board tirelessly for many years. Kevin is staying on the Board in the capacity of Development Committee Chair. Please join us in thanking Kevin for his dedicated leadership.

Lindy becomes the first alumna to lead the Board of Trustees as Chair and CVA is fortunate to have Lindy in this leadership role. A graduate of the CVA Class of 1992, she is currently the Director of Administrative and Strategic Affairs at The Fessenden School in MA. She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge from the private school sector. Lindy was also a scholarship recipient student while attending CVA and is passionate in her belief of the CVA mission.  

The Slate of Officers listed below provides CVA a strong leadership team with the skills and passion to meet the strategic goals ahead.

CVA 2020 / 2021 Slate of Officers
Lindy McKinnon Gruen '92, Chair 
Sean Dundon, Vice Chair 
Paul Fritzson, Vice Chair 
Gilly Hitchcock, Secretary
Peter C. Smith ’08, Treasurer
CVA Weekend Program
Competitive athletes ages 7 to 19 train at Sugarloaf with a coach weekends and vacation weeks from December to April. There are programs for alpine, freestyle, snowboard and ski cross. Registration is open now!
CVA Winter Camps
Attending a winter camp with CVA is a great way for athletes to gain extra time on snow to train on world class courses and experience life at Carrabassett Valley Academy. Camps are held in a variety of time periods (long weekend, partial week, multi-week) usually with day and boarding options. Coaches work with athletes on technical skills, video analysis, school work monitoring and much more.

Our camp offering is beginning to develop, with a few camps announced for Alpine and Backcountry programs. Others are still being developed. Stay tuned for more information, or contact Venise Fournier if you're interested in an opportunity for your student-athlete.
Online Store
Visit our website to find links to opportunities to purchase CVA apparel, including:
  • Jackets for parents, team members and weekend program athletes
  • Sweatshirts, joggers, t-shirts, hats, masks, bags
  • Unique logos for Weekend Program families, Alpine, Freestyle, Snowboard, and Ski Cross

Dates for all stores:
  • Round 1: Place order online by October 22, receive orders by December 8.  
  • Round 2: Place order online by November 15, receive orders by January 1.
  • Round 3: Place order online by December 1, receive orders by January 15.

Questions, please contact Sarah Krizo, 207-215-6662, skrizo@gocva.com 
3197 Carrabassett Drive
Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947
Phone: (207) 237-2250