As you might expect from a school that actively utilises its natural environment, winter sports form an integral part of the program at Snowy Mountains Grammar School (SMGS).
Snowsports is a flagship program for SMGS. Students from a variety of levels, from first-timers to Australian national team members, are supported by the school to achieve all they can in their chosen snowsports discipline(s). SMGS’ snowsports program assists student-athletes no matter where they are on the Ski and Snowboard Australia (SSA) Athlete Pathway Framework across most SSA disciplines. The school’s values of Challenge Belong Explore are thoroughly embedded in our snowsports program and, in turn, flow through to the school community. 2016 was a superb year for SMGS, being crowned the Co-Ed Secondary School Champions again, and also saw the launch of our new Elite Snowsports Academy (ESA). This program continued to help us promote our focus of supporting elite athletes academically, pastorally and logistically.
Of the amount of planning, effort and, of course, passion that has gone into the creation of our vibrant snowsports program over the years, SMGS’ Head of Sport, Mr Tim Bland, said, “Over the past few years, Snowy Mountains Grammar School has worked hard to provide a quality snowsports program of difference for our students. I was fortunate to take over from the wonderful leadership of Mr Geoff Greentree and Mrs Sue West, whose support and encouragement of snowsports within an educational setting is one of the key reasons why our program is so successful today. We work with a variety of resorts over the season, including Perisher, Thredbo, Falls Creek, Hotham and Mt Buller, and have built strong partnerships with these organisations. Nestled beside the shore of Lake Jindabyne, SMGS is uniquely positioned to offer a world-class educational and snowsports experience. I am proud of the work of our students, staff and snowsports committee over the past few years, which culminated last year in the introduction of our flagship Elite Snowsports Academy. The entire school organisation is supportive of our shared vision and I am excited about the future. The Australian Snowsports School of the Year award is a testament to the hard work of our entire school community and I wish to thank Ski and Snowboard Australia for their acknowledgement of these efforts.”
The SMGS community is honoured to be receiving this award and SMGS Chairman, Mr Michael Jones, echoed this sentiment, saying, “As 2016 Australian Snowsports School of the Year and national co-ed school of the year for more than ten years running, Snowy Mountains Grammar School was established to provide ‘a city education in a unique alpine environment’. This program has been carefully developed over the past twenty years, operating permanently in the alpine environment. Each of our programs (and particularly our Elite Snowsports Academy) have been built with care and support for each student (as an individual, and as part of a team) by teachers for whom each child (and their needs) is personally known to more than one teacher. Whilst smaller than many larger and highly competitive schools, Snowy Mountains Grammar School has a deep commitment to supporting and enabling staff to go beyond the day-to-day work, and develop the special gifts and abilities in each child, through searching for understanding of the whole child, and demonstrate that size and financial capacity is not determinative. Our commitment, determination and courage to go beyond what can be seen and to invest in a child’s greater horizon, has resulted in:
- the recurrent and resilient success of students in our snowsports program;
- a contribution to our legacy in snowsports in Australia; and
- legitimacy in the uniqueness of our vibrant co-curricular programs at Snowy Mountains Grammar School.”
Mr Jones continued, “The Board of Snowy Mountains Grammar School are proud of our students and proud of our staff who extend our students’ aspirations to achieve beyond their young dreams, as they develop into well-rounded young people with active and creative minds, who have an understanding of and compassion for others, a passion for lifelong learning and the courage and confidence to act on their beliefs so that they can be competent and confident citizens in a global future.”
The efforts of SMGS’ Head of Sport, Mr Tim Bland, to help raise the profile of snowsports has not gone unnoticed. Mr Rob Dickson, Chair of the SMGS snowsports committee, said, “I’m exceedingly pleased for SMGS to achieve the result of being awarded both Australian and NSW Snowsports School of Year and, in particular, thank Tim Bland, who has headed up our ESA program last year and this year. The program has exceeded all expectations in terms of results and the representation of the students at our school and I look forward to working with Tim into the future to grow the program to its full potential.”
When asked about SMGS’ application this year, SSA National Participation Committee Member and Head of Interschools Australia, Steve Cooper, said “Well done to all involved in the extensive Snowsports Program at SMGS. Their application for the Australian Snowsports School of the Year sets a new bench-mark standard in reporting, presentation and detail, to the point that we will need to alter and increase the criteria in future years to generate a greater differentiation between applicants. In 2017, Ski & Snowboard Australia received 8 nominations from Snowsports Schools for the Award, from NSW, Victoria and the ACT. With almost 80% of their students involved in on-snow programs, SMGS has won this National Award for the 2ndtime, in 2011, and now again in 2017. Congratulations.”
Wendy Olsen, Executive Officer of SnowSports ACT echoed her collegue, Steve Coopers’ sentiment about SMGS, she said “Snowy Mountains Grammar has made a significant contribution in developing and supporting snowsports athletes in Australia and this is reflected in the school winning School of the Year at the 2017 Ski and Snowboard Australia Awards. The SMGS snowsports program excels at encouraging their athletes, no matter where they are on the athlete pathway, to achieve their best.”
The legacy of our school’s efforts to support its snowsports athletes in their endeavours continues long after students graduate from the school. Adam Dickson, who graduated from SMGS in 2013, is currently an NSWIS-supported athlete, and competed on the FIS World Cup in Snowboard Cross for Australia this year. Of the benefits of our Snowsports program in helping to support snowsports athletes along the SSA pathway, Adam said, “SMGS’ Snowsports program helped me develop as an athlete through my schooling years by enabling me to train and compete in my sport during the winter months in Term 3, while also supporting me academically in my education by providing opportunities for me to study outside of regular schooling hours.”
As the snow starts to fall in the Snowy Mountains region, SMGS snowsports is readying itself for another exciting year.