Frequently asked questions about the Elite Snowsports Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is eligible to participate in the SMGS Elite Snowsports Academy?

In order to participate in the program, the athlete must:

  • Be enrolled at SMGS as a permanent or winter term-only student.
  • Be enrolled in a snowsports program at Thredbo or Perisher (any discipline). Either the resorts themselves, or the SMGS ESA Co-ordinator, Josh Armstead, can provide advice on which programs will meet your needs.
  • Have met with the ESA Co-ordinator, Josh Armstead and/or Head of Activities, Martin Philpott, and have had their application approved.

How old do I have to be to participate in the Elite Snowsports Academy?

The school considers applications on an individual basis and you can discuss this with the ESA Co-ordinator.

How old do I have to be to be a residential student at SMGS?

You must be in Year 7 or above to join the SMGS boarding house.

What is the cost of participation in the Elite Snowsports Academy in 2022?

Students permanently enrolled at SMGS:               $2,300

Students enrolled for winter term only:                 $3,200

Why does it cost more for winter term-only enrolments?

There is a higher administrative and academic overhead for temporary enrolments as your program of study will vary from that of existing students.  However, in the event that you complete the winter term, and then decide to enrol at SMGS on an ongoing basis, the difference will be refunded to you in due course.

When is payment for the program due?

For external participants, the program cost will be invoiced to you upon completion of your enrolment at SMGS.  Payment is due three weeks from the date of invoice.

For internal participants, the program will be invoiced on your regular Mid-Term 2 statement.

Is there a cap on the number of program participants?

The number of athletes who can be enrolled in the program may be limited by transport places and (for residential athletes) boarding house availability.  Admission to the program will be based on when the application is processed and payment of the deposit received.  All applications are subject to interview and approval by the school.

Is the program cost refundable in case of injury?

In the event that an athlete is unable to complete the program owing to an injury related to the program, which will prevent their re-entering the program before the end of the season, a proportion of the Program Enrolment Fee, equal to 1/13th for each remaining week of the program, will be refunded to the student’s school account.

In the event that an athlete is absent for a shorter period but is able to recommence participation in the program before the end of the season, no refund will be made.

What does the fee cover?

The ESA program fee covers transport to and from the resorts on a daily basis (Perisher-based athletes will need skitube included on their season pass), entry to the National Park, SMGS supervising staff member at the resort during the program, parent liaison, ESA tuition sessions, ESA mentoring sessions and support and liaison through the Director of Activities, ESA Co-ordinator and ESA supervisors.

Why is the physical conditioning program not included in the program cost?

The volume of physical conditioning taken by different athletes may vary greatly and some athletes may undertake no additional conditioning at all, as the ESA program is already extensive.  For this reason, we have decided to make the conditioning element of the program a ‘pay per use’ system, so that you only pay for what you use.  We have negotiated a discounted per use rate for our athletes.

What doesn’t the fee cover?

The fee does not cover your enrolment in the day school, associated tuition fees and other charges and if you are a residential student, you will also incur boarding fees. It also does not cover enrolment in the resort-based snowsports program,  or any lift and skitube tickets, which must be arranged directly with the service provider.

At which resorts does the school offer the ESA program?

ESA participants may ski at Perisher or Thredbo, depending on where their program is based.  The school may determine, at its discretion, to offer the program at one resort only, depending on the level of interest received for each resort.

Do I have to be enrolled in a 50-day training program to enrol in ESA?

You need to be enrolled in an eligible, resort-based program in order to participate in the Elite Snowsports Academy. SMGS recommends parents talk to training providers to select the most suitable program for their student-athlete.

Which resort-based programs make a student eligible for participation in the ESA?

To participate in ESA, students need to be enrolled in one of the following programs: 

Perisher Winter Sports Club

Thredbo Mountain Academy

Snow Australia Pathways (Case by Case basis).

Can I attend the program if I do a part-time on-snow program?

While the ESA is designed to support athletes enrolled in an intensive full-time program, it is possible for those enrolled in less intensive programs to participate, with additional non-training hours spent in the classroom.  Athletes participating on this basis will be liable for the full program fee.

Can I choose some parts of the program but not others?

The program has been created to offer the best possible support to our elite athletes to enable them to achieve their personal best, academically and physically.  In order to ensure all participants benefit from this holistic approach, it is not possible to select only parts of the program.  However, some program items are optional to allow some flexibility within the framework.

Do I have to be enrolled at SMGS to participate in ESA?

Yes, participation in the program is only available to students enrolled at SMGS full-time or for Term 3 of the corresponding ESA Program year.  Winter term-only enrolment is available for students who wish to return to another school after the season.

I’m already enrolled at SMGS; what are my costs?

Your additional costs will be the discounted ESA participation fee.  If you are not already enrolled in a resort program, you will need to consider this and other associated costs also.

Can I get collected from somewhere other than school for transport to the resorts?

No, due to the tight timetable, all students must assemble at school for transport and arrive by the scheduled time.

I would like to enrol for winter term only, but SMGS does not offer one of my current subjects.  What should I do?

All students enrolled in the ESA Program are expected to participate in the regular SMGS curriculum.  In the case that an elective is not offered at SMGS, you should obtain your term’s work and assignments from your regular school for completion during tuition and study periods.  Our academic staff will be on hand to assist you to the best of their ability but cannot deliver content outside the regular SMGS curriculum. The ESA Co-ordinator can assist in maintaining contact with teachers and ensuring work is completed in a timely manner.

How does ESA work with the day school?

In order to maximise learning outcomes, ESA athletes participate in as many lessons as possible within the normal day school timetable (approximately two-thirds of normal classes).  ESA athletes receive additional support through specific ESA tutorial sessions to cover items for which they were not present in class.  The ESA Co-ordinator and study co-ordinators will help ESA athletes plan and complete their academic work.

What uniform items am I required to wear?

All ESA athletes are expected to wear their SMGS snowsports jacket on transport to and from school and training in the resort, although they may elect to train in discipline-specific clothing (such as race suits). All SMGS students, including winter term-only ESA, are required to wear their SMGS snowsports uniform while representing the school in interschools competitions.

Full-time SMGS students are required to wear full school uniform at all times while at school.  Winter term-only ESA students may elect to wear the school’s PE uniform (polo shirt, fleece, soft shell jacket and tracksuit pants) for day school activities (full uniform is optional but not required).

A copy of the current uniform price list is available on the SMGS website.

Do ESA participants require private medical insurance?

Yes.  All ESA participants should have private medical insurance of an appropriate level for the activity undertaken.

Our students, while enrolled at the school, are also covered by Platinum Student Cover through which parents can claim some items.  Cover commences when the student begins classes at the school, so this cover is not in effect during the July holiday period.  This insurance is ancillary to, and does not replace, private health insurance.

Do ESA participants require private property insurance?

The school does not carry insurance for students’ personal effects, such as skis and boards.  As these items can be expensive, the school recommends that families ensure such items are covered under their own insurance.  This might be household insurance (there is usually an extra premium to insure against theft items that are removed from the home, and items may have to be itemised on the policy), or purchasing insurance on the credit card used to purchase the item.

How does the ESA work with the boarding house?

Residential ESA students will participate as far as possible in the normal boarding house timetable.  They will be able to take advantage of evening study periods in addition to their ESA sessions.  Residential students will be supplied with packed meals rather than eating in-house where their training timetable dictates.

My coach has changed training times for my group this week – how will I get there?

The school is aware that training times may vary during the term owing to a number of factors and the ESA Co-ordinator is in close contact with resorts and coaches throughout the program.  We have the ability to provide an additional trip to the resorts and endeavour to accommodate these variations wherever possible.

What support does the school offer for race attendance?

The school provides entry management, transport and, if necessary, accommodation for the regional, state and national interschools competitions and the ASSSTCs competition.  These costs are kept to a minimum and charged through the school account.  If you choose to attend additional events, you will need to arrange entry, transport and accommodation personally.

I want to spend a winter at the snow, but this all sounds a bit  “full-on”.  What other options are there?

Day and residential students at SMGS who are not enrolled in the ESA program can participate in full-day snowsports lessons every Wednesday during the winter term.  Our residential students can also ski and board on both days of the weekend.  Term 3-only enrolment may be available (depending on boarding availability) for students wanting the experience of spending a winter at the snow.  Please speak with our Registrar about these options.

What type of accommodation is provided in the boarding house?

The number of winter term residential students in a dormitory for 2023 will be between 2 and 3.  Existing permanent students have single bedrooms.

Where do I get changed and store my gear once I get back from the snow on Tuesdays and Fridays?

A lockable ESA-only area is available at the school for gear storage.  There are male and female change rooms at the school if you need to change into your uniform.

On half-training days, will I get time to eat my lunch before I attend afternoon classes?

On half-days, the return trip from the resorts is scheduled to arrive at SMGS at the beginning of the normal lunch break.  You will have a chance to eat and catch up with the other students before commencing afternoon lessons.

How can I prepare for the season?

ESA athletes are strongly encouraged to participate in a tailored and specific snowsports conditioning program prior to the winter season in order to build and maintain appropriate fitness for the snow season. These should be organised independently with your local provider.

How do I access teaching support when I am competing at other events?

Athletes can access their work and contact their teachers from any location via our online learning management system, Canvas, or via email.  The ESA Co-ordinator and SMGS staff can provide an actual point of contact for athletes while away at competitions.

What do I eat at the after-school tutorials?

If necessary, non-residential students are able to eat a hot dinner with the school’s residential students in the dining room.  There is a reasonable per-meal charge applicable, and 48 hours’ notice should be given to the ESA Co-ordinator if a meal is required.

How do I get home if I attend the after-school tutorials?

Non-residential students must arrange their own transport home if they are staying after school.

Should I get concussion baseline screening before the season?

Athletes are strongly encouraged to get concussion baseline screening prior to the commencement of the season.  The SMGS ESA will be organising a session for this at the beginning of the season with Elevate Physio using CCMI Baseline Testing. There is an extra cost associated with this and further information will be available closer to the time.

Should I hire a locker for the season?

While not essential, some athletes find it easier to have a locker if they are participating in the PWSC program. Snowboard, Freeski and AMF should aim to get a locker at the Perisher Valley Skitube terminal, while Alpine and Moguls should aim for Bluecow Terminal. Lockers can be purchased through the Perisher website closer to the season.