Rowmark Ski Academy
By combining world-class skiing with a leading academic program, we foster growth and resilience in our student-athletes. When they graduate, they're prepared for whatever path they take.
If you care about academics and athletics, there is only one academy in the country that really makes the cut, and that's Rowmark.—Rick Bleil, Rowmark Ski Academy parent
In 1982, Rowmark Ski Academy was founded as a division of Rowland Hall, the premier college-preparatory school in Salt Lake City. Just over three decades later, in 2014, Rowmark proudly became one of the first clubs designated for the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association’s (USSA) highest Gold Certification level. Rowmark skiers are full-time ninth through twelfth graders at Rowland Hall. Here you find a rigorous, year-round racing program coupled with an extraordinary academic high school. There's nothing quite like it in North America.
ROWMARK AT A GLANCE
COACH : ATHLETE RATIO
1 coach : 6 athletes
Academy: Ninth grade through postgraduate
Junior Program: Third through eighth grade
Academic program: Late August to early June. Conditioning program: Year round. Includes four off-season camps—Mammoth (June), Mt. Hood (August), and Colorado (October and November).
March 1 annually. Later applications may be considered on an individual basis.
2022–2023 TUITION COST
Without boarding: $44,302–$44,892
With boarding: $53,302–$53,892
Yes; also need-based financial aid.
843 Lincoln Street, Salt Lake City, Utah 84102
Phone: 801-355-3943 / Fax: 801-355-0474
Troy PriceRowmark Junior Director
Wendy HareTeam Manager and Academic Coordinator
Tristan McInnisFIS Coach,
Head Conditioning Coach
Head U16 Coach
The 30 Rowmark Ski Academy athletes are full-time students at Rowland Hall and make up about 10% of the high school student body. We offer an unparalleled combination of academics and ski racing for our student-athletes.
The Rowmark Junior Program offers an after-school/weekend ski program for Rowland Hall students in third through eighth grades and is designed to foster a lifelong appreciation of alpine skiing and racing. We develop young skiers from beginner to elite alpine levels, with the aim to produce all-around versatile skiers.
Todd Brickson stands tall as a mountain in the world of ski racing.
For the past 20 years, he has served as the program director of Rowmark Ski Academy, Rowland Hall’s world-class ski racing program, founded in 1982. An international level 500 coach in the US Ski & Snowboard Association, Todd has worked with hundreds of top-level Olympic, World Cup, and collegiate athletes. But, even with all that experience, those who know Todd don’t immediately bring up his coaching prowess, or his experience on the slopes. Instead, they talk about who he is as a person—and for good reason.
Priority one, before coaching, is to be a very good role model. You need to be the kind of person who young people aspire to be one day. Todd is solid in that way.—Olle Larsson, Rowmark Ski Academy co-founder
“Priority one, before coaching, is to be a very good role model in front of people. If you fail that, it doesn’t matter what kind of coach you are,” said Olle Larsson, former Rowmark program director and the co-founder of the program, who was instrumental in hiring Todd. “You need to be the kind of person who young people aspire to be one day. Todd is solid in that way.”
Building athletes of good character is central to Todd. He makes that clear on the first page of the handbook given to all team members. There, he writes that the main goal of the program is “for each Rowmarker to learn and develop responsible independence.” He emphasizes that there is more to being on the team than just making it down the hill, adding, “This is above all a process, a time of trial and error, a time to learn from mistakes, a time to learn how to win—and learn how to lose.”
The values of responsibility and independence that Todd promotes create a strong bedrock on which he builds exceptional competitors and people. But here is where Todd steps back a bit, to let the athletes find that fire within that’s needed to push themselves farther and achieve more. He’s the iconic definition of a coach in these moments, trusting that his athletes are capable of practicing what to do, and he allows them to do it. That mutual respect is what launches Rowmark athletes into greatness.
“Todd provided me with tools and then didn't put any pressure or expectation on race day. He knew that pushing wouldn’t help, and that I needed to figure it out,” said former Rowmarker and Olympic athlete Breezy Johnson ‘13. “He provided me with the means to reach my incredibly high goals, and then was there with a hug and a word of advice, win or lose, at the end of the day.”
Todd does teach competitive spirit, but not in ways you may expect. He meets his students in competition in other arenas to show them that he respects them enough to go nose to nose. It may be on the golf course, in a go-kart, or by the side of a lake with a fishing pole in hand. Todd understands that coaching is a disposition and not contained to a certain time or place.
“There have been times when Todd has played hockey with us on a pond after skiing, or field hockey on dry land,” said Elisabeth Bocock, a senior who currently competes for both Rowmark and the US Ski Team. “He is never afraid to go shoulder on shoulder with us if that’s what it takes. He is super intense and does what he needs to do to win the game.”
And in his 20 years with the program, Todd’s intensity has helped raise the bar for Rowmark as an elite ski academy. Since 1988, there has been a representative from Rowmark at each Winter Olympics, and in 2014, the program became one of the first in the nation to achieve the Gold Certification level from the US Ski & Snowboard Association, and they’ve held onto that certification in the eight years since.
Rowmark’s skiers achieve off the slopes as well. The team currently has a 100 percent college placement rate, and its students are sought after by the best colleges and universities in the nation. “Todd is very involved in our academic success,” said Ian Hanrahan, co-captain of the Rowmark Academy Program. “He and the other coaches do a lot of work to make sure our teachers understand our busy schedules to help us stay on top of school and make sure we are successful skiers while still growing our academic careers.”
And Todd’s concern about the success of Rowmark skiers starts before they are even on the team. From the outset, he makes sure new recruits can thrive in the program. “Todd gives so much time to prospective families,” said Kathy Gunderson, former director of admission for Rowland Hall. “He cares so much about the candidates not only being a good fit for Rowmark but also finding academic success at the school as well. He’s brought recruiting to the next level.”
Todd’s recruiting prowess also extends to the coaches he selects to help guide the team. Every coach on Todd’s team knows they were selected for their excellence and are expected to reach extraordinarily high standards. But they also know that Todd views them as peers and wants them to feel welcome and able to grow as professionals through trial and error.
“Todd works to develop his staff,” said Rowmark Junior Program Director Troy Price. “Recently, three former staff members have gone on to coach for the US Ski Team. You must have excellent training to get job offers at that level.”
Staff development goes beyond coaching skills under Todd’s mentorship. After all, there is much more to the job than improving skiing skills. There are also all the logistical concerns, financial planning, health tracking, and emotional support needs that must be handled. Then there are the moments that are totally unexpected.
“My first season with the team we had a group of Rowmarkers involved in a head-on car accident while racing in Oregon,” said Troy. “Todd was coaching at another race in Whistler, Canada, yet he made arrangements to get to Portland. He stayed with our injured members during this extremely difficult time and was the glue that held everyone together. His empathy for others and his ability to stay calm in difficult situations is unmatched.”
Todd was a very important person in my development as an athlete. He taught me the tools I needed both technically with the fundamentals, and the greater work ethic required to make it to the highest level.—Breezy Johnson ‘13, Olympian
Todd’s two decades with Rowmark have left an indelible mark on all aspects of the program, and that impact will only continue to grow in the coming years. In 2019, an alpine training addition to the Utah Olympic Park became the team’s primary training facility, giving athletes access to the very slopes where their idols have competed. “This is the most important development for Rowmark since 1982,” said Olle. “The training arena that they now have does not exist anywhere else in the Northern Hemisphere.”
Time will tell what athletes will come off those slopes and into the national and international spotlights, but it’s clear that all of them will have benefitted from having Todd Brickson as a coach, mentor, and friend, just as those who came before them have.
“Todd was a very important person in my development as an athlete,” said Breezy. “He taught me the tools I needed both technically with the fundamentals, and the greater work ethic required to make it to the highest level.”
Todd's anniversary isn't the only celebration for Rowmark Ski Academy this year. Rowmark is also excited to celebrate its 40th anniversary with a celebration weekend, to be held March 11–12. Current Rowmark athletes and families, as well as Rowmark alumni and their families, will be invited for a weekend of activities, including free skiing with friends, a dual ski race, BBQ tailgating, hors d’oeuvres, and remarks and a slideshow at the Utah Olympic Park. More details to come.
At only 18 years old, Rowmarker Mary Bocock has already had an impressive skiing career.
In addition to her achievements as a top Rowmark Ski Academy athlete, Mary had the chance to compete with the US Ski & Snowboard Team in Europe in January 2021, an opportunity that led to her first nomination to the US Alpine Ski Team later that year. Earlier this month, she was nominated to the US Ski Team for a second time. And prior to sustaining a knee injury in December, Mary was ranked first in super-G, third in giant slalom, and eighth in slalom in the United States for her age.
Mary will soon add another achievement to her resume—college athlete—when she joins the Dartmouth College women’s ski team next year. She plans to enroll as a first-year student in fall 2023, after taking a gap year to continue her healing and focus on her commitment to the US Ski Team before she dives back into a routine of balancing school, training, and racing.
“Joining the Dartmouth ski team has been one of my athletic goals since I started thinking about colleges,” said Mary, who long considered the Ivy League school not only because it offered a top ski program, but also because of its academic excellence.
“This is a great fit for Mary on all levels,” said Todd Brickson, Rowmark Ski Academy program director. “Dartmouth has a long history of developing world-class ski racers within their storied NCAA Division 1 ski team, in conjunction with their flexible academic structure and top-notch education.”
To celebrate Mary’s plan to attend Dartmouth, we asked her a few questions about her decision and her journey as a skier. The following interview has been lightly edited for length and clarity.
When did you find out that you have a spot on Dartmouth's ski team? How did it feel to receive that news?
I started talking to the coach about a year and a half before I committed to skiing for him. I knew the coach was interested in me, but I knew that I shouldn’t get my hopes up because there could be other girls out there. So when he told me he wanted to offer me a spot in the fall of 2023, I felt relieved and excited that I didn’t have to worry about my college experience.
You'll be taking a gap year before heading to Dartmouth. Why did you make that choice?
I will be taking a gap year after I graduate in the spring so that I can focus on my commitment to the US Ski Team and take advantage of all the resources they provide. Throughout my whole racing career, I have always had to balance traveling and school, so I want to experience the sport without having to balance the stresses of high school alongside the pressure of performing well in races and traveling. The Dartmouth coach actually offered me a spot to start in the fall of 2022, but I decided that I want to take a year to mature as an athlete and really focus on racing to make the most of my opportunity with the US Ski Team.
You've been offered a spot on the Dartmouth team and you're on the US Ski Team—basically, you've achieved two of your dreams. While you can't know what lies ahead, how are you approaching these two amazing opportunities?
I feel very lucky to have these two incredible opportunities ahead of me. I am trying to stay present and not worry about how I will balance the two programs. I am just trying to take advantage of the places and lessons I am experiencing. I always try to not take anything for granted—especially after COVID—and make the most of my time traveling and exploring new mountains and countries.
Focusing on your time at Rowland Hall, what moment as a member of Rowmark are you most proud of?
I’ve had a lot of great experiences on Rowmark, so it’s hard for me to pick my favorite moment. But if I had to, I would say one of my favorite memories is when I won a GS [giant slalom] race in Breckenridge, Colorado, at the end of my junior year. It was that race that helped me lower my points enough to make criteria for the US Ski Team. When I came down and everyone was cheering for me, I was so excited that I couldn’t stop smiling. Then, a few minutes later, my coach came down and gave me a hug (which is rare because he’s not one for hugs), and I started to experience an overwhelming amount of emotions because it all felt real.
On the other side, some of the most memorable experiences from Rowmark have been off the snow. The conditioning/team bonding week is always a highlight of the year because the whole team comes together to compete with each other in a very cohesive way. Competition is one of my favorite aspects of ski racing, so I always have a lot of fun on the camping weekend when the whole trip is just filled with competition.
Tell us about the skills you built at Rowland Hall and on Rowmark that you'll be taking with you after graduation.
One of the most notable skills I’ve learned from being on Rowmark while attending a challenging high school is time management and communication. In order for me to keep up with my work while I’m gone, I have to be very diligent with letting my teachers know when I will be gone and updating them on my progress throughout my trips. My first few training camps with the US Ski Team have been very different compared to those with Rowmark because nobody else in my group is in school. I am the only one trying to keep up with classes while skiing at a high level. I have to find time to separate myself and sit down and do school work while my teammates do their other activities. However, I have actually started to really enjoy Zooming into my classes while I'm away on ski trips because it is an opportunity for me to take time off from thinking about skiing and still feel connected with my life at home.
Congratulations to junior Elisabeth Bocock, who this week was nominated to the US Ski Team.
Elisabeth is one of 42 athletes nominated to the US Alpine Ski Team and one of three athletes who will be joining the women’s Development Team (D-Team) for the first time for the 2022–2023 competition season. (Athletes qualify for the team in the spring based on selection criteria, and the official team is announced in the fall once nominees complete physical fitness testing and medical department clearance.) She is the youngest addition to the D-Team and the only new member from the state of Utah.
“It was unreal,” said Elisabeth of the moment she received the call from US Ski Team Coach Chip Knight congratulating her on her season and confirming her place on the team. “It was what I’ve been hoping for basically my whole life.”
She’s not kidding. Thanks to her family’s love of skiing, Elisabeth has been involved with the sport for as long as she can remember: she clipped into her first pair of skis at age two, and some of her earliest memories include traveling with her family to Colorado to watch the World Cup—an experience that inspired her first dreams of joining the US Ski Team. “Seeing people on the team there was super exciting,” she remembered. “It made me want to be a part of that.”
It was unreal. It was what I’ve been hoping for basically my whole life.—Elisabeth Bocock, class of 2023, on being nominated to the US Ski Team
It also didn’t hurt that Elisabeth has three older siblings—brothers Scottie ’18 and Jimmy, and sister Mary—who were early naturals on the slopes and whose ski racing journeys inspired her own competitive drive. Elisabeth began racing for the Snowbird Ski Team at age six, and she joined Rowmark Ski Academy at age 13—a move she credits for preparing her to excel in both racing and academics, and where she’s had an exceptional career. In the 2021–2022 season alone, Elisabeth had five podium finishes in elite-level FIS races and is currently ranked first for her age in the US in slalom, giant slalom, and super-G, and second in the world in giant slalom.
“What is so impressive about Elisabeth objectively earning a spot on the US Ski Team is that her season was filled with setbacks,” said Foreste Peterson, Rowmark Ski Academy’s head women's FIS coach. “Whether it was having to quarantine from COVID exposures, or the many hard crashes she took that left her concussed, bloody, bruised, and banged up, she was knocked down time and time again. Yet, she bounced back every time, better than before, and always with a smile on her face. It was truly a pleasure to work with Elisabeth this year, and I so look forward to seeing what her future holds.”
And while Elisabeth’s riding the high of simply making the US Ski Team, she’s also enjoying an additional perk not available to every athlete in her position: the knowledge that this new experience will include her older sister (and role model), Mary, who was nominated to the US Ski Team last spring. “I’m super excited to work together in a different atmosphere,” said Elisabeth. “Mary’s been a real inspiration to me and has shown me what it takes to get to where I need to go.”
We can’t wait to see where she goes next. Congratulations, Elisabeth—we’ll be cheering you on!
We are proud of the Olympians representing Rowmark Ski Academy and Rowland Hall at this month's Olympic Games, which kick off February 4.
Since their earliest days on the mountain, these skiers have been on a journey toward athletic excellence. Being named to their countries’ Alpine ski teams is one of the highest honors of their careers, and represents hours of sacrifice and a steady commitment to intense training and competition.
While four of our former athletes qualified for the 2022 Olympics, two will be competing in Beijing this month.
“Unfortunately, Breezy Johnson and Madi Hoffman both sustained season-ending knee injuries while training for the Games and will not be able to compete,” said Todd Brickson, Rowmark Ski Academy program director. “Nevertheless, they qualified for the Olympics and we could not be more proud of Breezy and Madi. Injury is a common reality in our sport and the timing is devastating, but they will be back stronger than ever. Katie Hensien and Katie Vesterstein will carry the Rowmark Ski Academy and Rowland Hall torch, and we will be watching!”
To help the Rowland Hall community prepare to cheer on our former Rowmarkers at the Games, we have provided brief overviews of the Olympians below (as well as a throwback photo for each!).
Team USA: Katie Hensien ’18
Katie Hensien graduated from Rowmark and Rowland Hall in 2018. She is a five-year member of the US Ski Team, and also currently skis for and attends the University of Denver. Katie is originally from Redmond, Washington, and will make her Olympic debut in Beijing. She is the 2020 national champion in giant slalom and was a part of the Junior World Championships team that won the silver medal in the team event in Val di Fassa, Italy.
“Katie is an incredible talent and hard worker, and is someone who always has a huge smile on her face,” said Todd. “She brings incredible energy and positive vibes into every room.”
Update February 9, 2022: Katie placed 26th in slalom.
Team Estonia: Kaitlyn (Katie) Vesterstein ’17
Katie Vesterstein graduated from Rowmark and Rowland Hall in 2017. A native of Duluth, Minnesota, Katie is currently a senior at the University of Utah and an All-American member of the university’s national champion ski team. Katie is a dual citizen of the US and Estonia and will be representing Estonia at the Beijing Games.
“Katie is a fierce competitor and incredibly kind teammate who grew up ski racing on the small hills of Minnesota before joining Rowmark and Rowland Hall for two years and propelling herself onto the prestigious University of Utah ski team,” said Todd.
Update February 7, 2022: Katie placed 35th in giant slalom.
Update February 9, 2022: Due to a crash, Katie received a DNF in slalom.
Team Australia: Madison (Madi) Hoffman ’18 (Injured)
Madi Hoffman graduated from Rowmark and Rowland Hall in 2018. She has been a member of the Australian National Team for several years and is also a two-year member of the national champion University of Utah ski team. Madi is a three-time Australian National Champion in slalom and giant slalom, and was one of only two Aussie women to qualify for the 2022 Olympics in Alpine skiing. She had been preparing for this moment with her coach (and former Rowmark head coach) Jim Tschabrun for four years.
“Madi is one of the hardest working and thoughtful young women I have ever had the pleasure to coach,” said Todd. “Her unfortunate knee injury will keep her from competing in this Olympics, but she is a very determined, talented ski racer, and I have no doubt that she will be back stronger than ever."
Team USA: Breezy Johnson ’13 (Injured)
Breezy Johnson graduated from Rowmark and Rowland Hall in 2013. Originally from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Breezy joined the US Ski Team in 2014 and qualified for her first Olympic Games in 2018, where she placed seventh in downhill and 14th in super-G. Prior to her knee injury, Breezy was a clear medal contender after reeling off seven podium finishes and nine top-fives in her last 10 World Cup downhill races.
“In Breezy's time at Rowland Hall and Rowmark, she was incredibly determined and hardworking, both on the hill and in the classroom. At a young age Breezy had a very strong belief in herself and what was possible for her to achieve,” said Todd. “All I can say is that she is one of the world's best and she will be back with a vengeance.”
Women’s Alpine skiing events begin on Monday, February 7. Check out the full Alpine skiing schedule for event information.
Help Us Cheer on the Athletes!
Banner: Katie Hensien competing for Rowmark Ski Academy.