NSA opened its doors as a full-time ski academy in Canada in 1987, with 16 students and 5 staff. Since we were the first academy, we had to convince people that we could provide the environment and program to meet the needs of student-athletes to succeed at the highest level. We knew that the challenges to fulfill our vision were still ahead of us – to prove to the ski community that we would deliver an excellent program. National Ski Academy was striving to deliver a package that would address all the athlete’s needs; academic, physical, psychological, and social.
During the first year, the students made great progress, and we established relationships with sponsors and suppliers. Very quickly, we doubled our enrollment and had a waiting list. A bursary fund was established to financially assist talented athletes and give equal opportunity to all. National Ski Academy improved its facilities through the years with the help of many generous individuals and fundraising events – a weight room was added in the basement; a new floor and heating system was added in the gym; a library was added to the schoolroom; the driveway was paved, and many other important maintenance projects were carried out.
Through our experience, we adjusted and delivered a program which clearly met the demands of the student and families, while watching our students grow and develop into fine athletes. We began to witness our students graduate as Ontario Academic Scholars, moving on to university or to pursue other areas of interest. The Academy’s first athlete to graduate to the National Ski Team was Graydon Oldfield. Graydon started with the Academy during our first year of operation. Our first female athlete to make the National Team was Jennifer Mickelson. It was such a proud moment for all of us!
We know that we will not all be world champions but realize the importance of the experience gained on the journey that NSA provides.