On July 16, AP News reported that American alpine legend, Bode Miller, plans to open his own winter sports academy. In partnership with the Institute for Civic Leadership (ICL) Academy, Miller plans to launch an online learning program designed for ski racers, snowboarders, cross-country skiers, and any other sports enthusiast from grades 7-12. 

The hope was to open an actual school down the road in Big Sky, Montana where he and his family reside in the winter. According to AP, Miller’s academy project has been in the works for about a year and a half but has since accelerated after he witnessed what his kids went through with online learning during the coronavirus pandemic. The plan is to have the online program stand-in for the interim, with Miller directly communicating with students through video content, online workouts, and webinars that will help local club coaches with instruction of their athletes. 

Following the ICL Academy program, students are required to sit in one live online class per day. From their balancing their classload around their sport of interest is up to them. Classes are intended to integrate personal interest into teaching methods. AP News cited the example of a skier or snowboarder that may study physics by learning the power generated out of a turn, or the principles of edge angulation. 

“This is a total game-changer,” Miller said in a phone interview with AP News. “Because this allows students to operate on their own schedule, get a first-class education, and still develop into whoever it is they’re meant to be.”

“We kind of address the things that I hated about the basic online curriculum, which was isolation, non-standard teacher, sort of the online triage version,” he added. “Hopefully we’re opening more of a super high level private-school type education that’s COVID proof, and that allows for our kids to pursue whatever passion they have.”

Thus far, about a 100 students have expressed interest. Costs for the program are expected to be around $13,000 with financial aid available.