Park City school caters to needs of future winter Olympians


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PARK CITY -- Some of the 2010 Olympic medal winners on the U.S. Ski team went to a different kind of high school, in Park City. It's called the Winter Sports School, and it allows students to go to class in the summer, and have winter off to compete.

"I don't have to worry about missing school or making up classes," says Sophie Frankenburg. "You don't have to worry about anything else besides skiing."

What is... The Winter Sports School in Park City?
The Winter Sports School in Park City is a non-profit organization that offers a college preparatory program and the opportunity to train and compete in winter sports. It operates as a full-year high school for grades 9 through 12. The academic calendar runs from mid-April to mid-November. Tuition is just under $16,000 a year.

Sophie loves to ski, plus she's pretty good at it. That's why she enrolled in the private school.

Jaime DePratt moved to attend school in Park City.

"Where I lived in California, I was two hours away from where I skied, so we had to split up our family," Jaime says.

At Winter Sports School, students are in classes from mid-April to mid-November.

"We provide education to motivated, driven athletes," says Rob Clayton, head of Winter Sports School, Head.

The school was set up by Park City locals.

"It was set up by a group of parents whose kids were in ski racing, and they decided that they needed to have a mechanism for those kids to travel during the winter, and go to those competitions," Clayton explains.

Some great athletes have gone to school here, several of which are competing in Vancouver in everything from Alpine skiing, to speed skating, bobsled and special jumping.

Olympic athletes from The Winter Sports School in Park City

AthleteSport
Ted LigetyAlpine skiing
Julia MancusoAlpine skiing
Andrew WeibrechtAlpine skiing
Megan Mcjames Alpine skiing
Ellie Ochowicz Speed skating
Steve Holcomb Bobsled
Anders Johnson Ski jumping

Since they began attending the school, Jaime and Sophie both admit they're better skiers and students. Because they don't miss as much class, their grades are better than they were in public schools.

"There's always a conflict in those settings. Coaches want one thing, faculty and teachers want another," Clayton says. "Here, we don't' have that rub, which makes it easier for the kids."

The girls admit it can be rough going to school in the summer when all their other friends are off, but going here is helping them get what they want out of life.

"I've always wanted to make the US Ski Team and Olympics team," Jaime says.

Tuition is just under $16,000 a year at the sports school. The students learn all the high school core curriculum, and NCAA curriculum to be eligible for scholarships, just like public high school.

E-mail: abutterfield@ksl.com

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