Looking back over his early education, interests and experience, you might say CVA History and English teacher, Lucas Milliken was destined to end up as a faculty member at a private ski academy. Lucas grew up in North Yarmouth, Maine, and started Nordic skiing at roughly the same time he learned to walk, and he certainly never looked back. He went on to attend Burke Mountain Academy, Vermont, for his final two years of high school for a more focused athletic environment – which ultimately helped him on his way to becoming the captain of the NCAA Nordic team at Bates College. While at Bates, Lucas studied Anthropology and History, in preparation for what would eventually become a career in teaching.
Young athletes who have had the opportunity to experience Joan Dolan as a coach know one thing – don’t to be fooled by her soft-spoken, unassuming demeanor. Her expectations are both high, and quite simple: you can perform at your full potential, and she is going to help you get there.
DAY 1: SKI LEGS
We could not have asked for any better weather to start our Stubai adventure. The sky was clear and temps were cold enough for a hard glacial surface.
The snow on the mountain consists of the tail end of summer's melt off. There is not much new snow yet but it is making for a good hard surface for our training. We started the day with free skiing drills focusing on foot movement and the athletic stance. For most of our group, this was the first return to snow since last April/March. There were obviously some first day adjustments that have been resolved, mostly getting their summer feet back into winter boots, but that will work its way out with mileage.
CVA has been coming to this area for several years, thanks to that connection, we have the wonderful housing spot at Patsch once again. It is a beautiful place to call home for the next two weeks.
How is your summer going, what have you been up to?
My summer has been really great, on many different levels. Coaching wise, I was in Montana with the Freeride and Moguls crew for pretty much the whole month of June, with both Academy athletes and camp athletes. This was our first time in Montana for summer training. Not only were we treated to some fantastic summer snow, we took in a lot of new and truly spectacular sights – Yellowstone, Red Lodge, the views were absolutely stunning. The snow pack was really good. The area we went to received 180% of
their average snow fall this past winter so we were treated to excellent early summer skiing conditions.
Our sport is a 4-season sport for sure – so my summer is largely dedicated to facilitating various training opportunities for all of our athletes.
In between the camps, I was able to bring my family along on a road trip from Toronto back to Maine. We saw Niagara Falls for the first time as a family and that was a great experience.
You are entering your 20th season as a coach at Carrabassett Valley Academy, that’s an impressive run no matter what industry you’re talking! How do you keep your passion for the sport, the athletes, and the process alive after all this time?
There’s no question I truly love, and have loved this sport, right from the beginning. Every year, working with the younger athletes refuels me – I see their fresh excitement, their realization of the passion they have for the sport, it reignites my desire to help them get to their goals.
So that makes it easy. You literally fall in love with the kids, you see their future and it’s so hard not to want to be a part of that. You see them coming up as really small kids at the Weekend Program level and it creates such a deeper relationship, knowing them, their families, and helping them achieve their potential.
In addition to the athletes, being at CVA is awesome. The leadership here has always been hugely supportive of my personal growth and giving me the opportunity to evolve the program in my own way as well.
It's hard to believe that in only four weeks time, our student-athletes will return to the valley to begin the 2018/19 academic and athletic year! We are always excited to welcome them home and get back into the CVA routine. Here's how one of our newest coaching additions, CVA Alpine Program Director Garrett Lashar, spent his summer - and the ways he is looking forward to the upcoming season to continue the tradition of excellence at the Academy.
How is your summer going, what have you been up to?
GL: My summer has been great; I love summers in the valley! It's been filled with hiking and biking as well as plenty of golf at Sugarloaf. But it’s also been quite busy as we turn the page to next winter. We have been building our Fall and early Winter camps, and will have lots of new content and info for incoming parents and athletes. I was also fortunate to attend camp with the US Ski Team and the new National Development system. It was a great experience and I look forward to implementing some of those aspects into our own athletic development process.
This year's commencement was not unlike all CVA graduation ceremonies for the past three-plus decades; rooted in tradition and guided by our community leadership. But what makes each of these days unique are the special personalities that each individual in the graduating class brings to our community. These personalities shine brightly throughout the speeches given, and in the genuine smile of each graduating senior. Congratulations Class of 2018!
Carrabassett Valley Academy is pleased to announce receiving the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Safe Sports School award for its athletic programming. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that provide safe environments for student athletes. The award reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention and treatment.