OMS named OVRCC Member of the Month

Chris Hurka and OMS staff. Photo provided

LUDLOW, Vt. – Okemo Mountain School (OMS) has been selected as the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce (OVRCC) October 2022 Member of the Month in honor of Chris Hurka being named the Vermont Alpine Racing Association (VARA) Rolf Gidlow Development Coach of the Year.

Hurka is the Alpine Program Director at Okemo Mountain School, as well as head U16 Men’s Coach. He also has worked for Okemo Mountain Resort in their Competition Program as a U16 Coach for eight years. Hurka has been instrumental in working with Okemo athletes, and has been a strong contributor to their race venue designs, construction, and winter maintenance.

Okemo Mountain School has been operating since 1991. They are a ski and snowboard academy, serving grades 5-12, providing full-time on-snow training for competitive ski racers, freeski, and snowboard athletes, while also teaching all of the usual academic content for middle and high school grades. OMS student-athletes hail mainly from the Northeast, but have come from all over the country, as well as other countries, in the past. Their student body is about 30% local to the greater Ludlow area, with the rest coming from outside of Vermont. Each year, Okemo Mountain School has approximately 60 student-athletes and 40 staff, including teachers, coaches, and administrators.

OMS is a winter term ski and snowboard academy, dedicated to delivering a rigorous academic curriculum while providing an intense on-snow training schedule that would not be possible within a traditional school setting. In addition to their alpine program, they also offer snowboarding and freestyle skiing programs. Besides these, they offer on-snow camps for students and various summer camps for the public. OMS also hosts a number of events, including fundraisers like their Annual Ski & Snowboard Swap in November and their golf tournament in September.

OMS assists their student-athletes in the realization of their athletic goals without compromising their academic education. Their mission is to challenge and support motivated student-athletes to grow into successful individuals. This is a close-knit and caring school community. They value each community member’s aspirations and goals and always encourage the achievement of personal bests in all pursuits. Leading by example, their dedicated faculty and staff teach respect for oneself, others, and one’s surroundings. They believe that their student-athletes leave OMS better prepared for their future with a strong sense of independence and outstanding skills in time management.

According to Head of School Mariel Meringolo, the best feature of OMS is “being able to inspire student-athletes to not only be successful on-snow and in the classroom, but generally as community-minded individuals.”

One thing most people would find surprising about OMS is that they are a separate entity from Okemo Mountain Resort, as a 501(c)3 non-profit, and a Vermont approved independent school.

Okemo Valley is very proud that Chris Hurka and OMS have been recognized for their efforts offering exceptional ski racing in the state of Vermont.

The Okemo Mountain School has been a valued member of the Okemo Valley Regional Chamber of Commerce for over seven years.

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