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The NSA is more than a ski academy; it’s a learning experience for life. How do you assess a Ski Academy? What should you be looking for? How do you know if it will be the “right fit” for your child? These were just some of the questions we struggled with a year ago while weighing the pros and cons of moving our daughter from an IB school in Toronto to attending and boarding at the Academy starting in grade 11.
While as parents we’ve been thrilled with the experience thus far, what’s particularly rewarding are the unsolicited calls and texts from our daughter telling us just how much she “loves it” – the supportive environment, the amazing athletes, and the feeling of being part of something so different and so cool. You can see what she’s talking about – just watch the athletes as they gather at the bottom of a race course, all in their red Descent team jackets, to cheer on their friends – from Ontario, Quebec and other parts around the world.
The NSA culture is unique. It starts with Jurg – his passion, his experience and his perspective of what it is all about. Yes, it’s about ski racing, fitness training and academic excellence. But talking to Jurg, you quickly see it’s really about so much more – life lessons and international experiences you simply cannot learn in other environments – lessons that will serve these student-athletes for life.
The academic program is definitely more rigorous than we anticipated. While the NSA does not offer higher level IB courses, the structure and compressed nature of the program means that the students really have to focus, balance commitments and prioritize their time.
The Women’s FIS coaches – Sami, Karson and Dave – are great. They’re experienced, knowledgeable and passionate – but most of all, they care and they focus on each athlete independently. Communication with us, as parents, has been great and we like the fact they work well as a team. They all know what’s going on, and it’s not just one set of eyeballs watching.
Living full time at the NSA has also been a great experience. Having a (great) room-mate, being on dish-duty, even doing the occasional laundry – a perfect time to experience independence in a safe environment. Overall, the holistic and integrated nature of the NSA program has exceeded our expectations. So too has Jimmy’s cooking – but don’t tell him!