Over 150 Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy (VSSA) students along with staff were captivated by this week’s Monday All School Meeting speaker, Tom Kelly, Vice President of Communications at the United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA). Tom kicked off his talk with a history of the Olympics and a mesmerizing video from the Sochi Olympics highlighting many of the audience’s snow sports heroes.

Tom went on to share with his engaged audience a number of lessons to be learned from some of the most elite ski and snowboard athletes of our time, including Kelly Clark, Nikki Stone, Shannon Bahrke, Phil Mahre, Lindsey Vonn, Mikaela Shiffrin and Ted Ligety. These lessons included the importance of (i) setting goals; (ii) belief in oneself; (iii) failure as a means to building confidence in one’s preparation; (iv) 100% preparedness; (v) determination; (vi) risk taking; (vii) team and others who help you along the way; and (viii) heroes as role models.

Tom also shared a special part of himself with the audience—his own lifelong passion for competitive snow sports. This passion was ignited in Tom the first time he watched the Olympics as an eight-year-old boy. It created a dream which Tom has pursued in a planned and purposeful manner throughout his career, ultimately leading him to work alongside and in support of the top snow sports athletes in the country from the development to Olympic level at USSA.

When asked about his speaking engagement at VSSA, Tom replied, “Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy is a remarkable asset to your community. It brings youngsters with similar interests in snow sports together in an educational setting where they can pursue their athletics in parallel with their academics.”

Tom went on to share, “I consider it an honor to speak to a room full of children who share a dream to be the best they can be in their snow sport. They become remarkably goal-oriented at a very young age. Although I typically deliver this morning’s topics to a room full of adults, it was evident from the onset of my presentation that these VSSA students were engaged and excited to learn more about and from a number of their snow sports role models.”

Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy is the first public ski and snowboard academy in the country comprised of 5th through 12 grade Ski & Snowboard Club Vail full-time athletes. For more information, contact SSCV’s Director of Admissions and Communications at 970-790-5161 or sschmidt@skiclubvail.org or go to www.skiclubvail.org.