The Mountain Times

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KMS junior Kyle Burcin competes against the best alpine racers in the country at the 2013 U.S. Alpine Championships at Squaw Valley

Meeting ski racing idols not only became a reality but also the competition last week for Killington Mountain School (KMS) Junior Kyle Burcin, of Basking Ridge, N.J., as he raced against members of the U.S. Ski Team, including triple World Champion and U.S. Ski Team member Ted Ligety, plus Division I racers, at the Nature Valley 2013 U.S. Alpine Championships at Squaw Valley. Burcin raced in slalom, giant slalom and Super-G, posting a respectable 31st-place finish in slalom, just outside a top 30 packed with top NCAA racers and U.S. Ski Team members including race-winner Ligety.

"This is the first time he skied against the guys that are probably on posters hanging on his bedroom wall," said KMS Alpine Program Director and Head Coach Tom Sell, a former U.S. Ski Team coach. "He competed against the best skiers in the U.S., and it was a great experience for him. He worked hard to qualify for the national championships and did well for his first outing. His performance here is a tribute to his dedication and the excellence he demands of himself every day."

At KMS, a fully approved Vermont independent school serving grades 7-12 (PG) and the longest-running winter-term ski academy in the U.S., student-athletes learn about the value of hard work and commitment in order to pursue excellence in academics and athletics. The school offers the five-month academic program and full-term, nine-month academic program. Classrooms have a maximum four to one student-teacher ratio for the best of both worlds-a quality education combined with world-class training and coaching.

"Today's culture has tried to "pave the road flat" by trying to remove challenges in a child's development path," said KMS Head of School Tao Smith. "Many believe this is the best way to help our children achieve, when in fact the opposite is true. Living the dual life of a ski racer and student is demanding, physically, emotionally and mentally. KMS students learn to face these challenges head on. They learn that if they commit wholeheartedly to something, opportunities abound regardless of success or failure."

Burcin, who began skiing at age 2 at Mountain Creek, in New Jersey, came to Killington to ski when he was five. He has been skiing for KMS since seventh grade. As a junior in the full-term program, Burcin has Ivy League aspirations, a testament to the hard work and dedication that ski academy student-athletes must pursue during high school, while training and competing at a high level.
Of the 75 number of student-athletes that are at KMS this year, 15 are seniors and some will attend Tufts University, Dartmouth College, Colby College, and Fairfield University, University of New Hampshire and University of Vermont, plus St. Michael's College. Many of these students received early acceptances as well.

"Being able to race against some of the best skiers in the world is a rare opportunity," said Burcin. "It is awesome to be able to see how much I can push myself when racing guys like Ligety, and also see guys who have accomplished many of my future goals in ski racing. To be in a race against some of the guys like Ted Ligety, Tim Jitloff, and Andrew Weibrecht, who I have looked up to since I was a kid, is a very unique experience. I look forward to going back to Nationals many more times and continue to climb the results in the future."

Burcin was first overall at the Western Region Junior Championships in 2012. He was on the 2011 and 2012 J2 National Teams and was the J3 Eastern Junior Olympics Champion in 2010, after winning every run and every race in the Mid-Vermont Council race series.

When not skiing, Burcin plays golf, soccer, football, and basketball with his friends and wakeboards and water-skis in the summer.
To learn more about alpine, snowboard, freestyle, and freeride training and opportunities, visit www.killingtonmountainschool.org or call 802-422-KMS1.