Skiing Is Getting an Upgrade - Mittersill Performance Center Construction Begins!
Ski racing in New Hampshire took a giant leap forward on Thursday with the groundbreaking of the Mittersill Performance Center, a 9,200 square foot lodge at the base of Mittersill Slopes at Cannon Mountain. The project is a joint venture between Holderness School and Franconia Ski Club.
The lodge, which will be open to all resort guests, will provide Holderness and FSC athletes with much-needed space for alpine ski racing and training. The facility will include ski tuning rooms, coaches’ offices, video review rooms and gear storage areas. The building’s design will reflect the traditional Austrian chalet architecture of the surrounding village, and will incorporate modern amenities and large expanses of glass, offering some of the best views of ski racing in the Eastern United States. Evan Mullen '00 is the lead architect and project manager. The lodge is expected to be completed before the end of the 2020-2021 ski season. FSC Board Member and Holderness School Trustee Chip Martin ‘88 chaired the fundraising effort to make the Mittersill Performance Center a reality.
"Transformative is sometimes an overused word, but the vision, and soon reality, for Mittersill to provide an accessible world-class training facility for northern New Hampshire is truly exciting,” says Head of School Phil Peck. “We are honored to have played a leading role in making this remarkable facility and program a reality, not just for Holderness and FSC but for countless future generations of young New Hampshire skiers who will be able to achieve their potential thanks to Mittersill.”
Construction of the Mittersill Performance Center continues a partnership among FSC, the State of New Hampshire, Holderness School and the U.S. Ski Team. Together, these organizations have raised nearly $7,000,000 over the past six years to add snowmaking, install a new t-bar lift, regrade two race trails and now build a lodge at the base of the Taft Training Slope. While ski racers and the general skiing public have enjoyed the improvements at the Mittersill venue, it has lacked basic amenities like rest rooms, lunch tables and sufficient warming space. The Mittersill Performance Center will provide these needed facilities and enable the resort to hold larger and more prestigious ski races such as Nor-Am Cup races and U.S. championship events. Mittersill has been an official training site of the U.S. Ski Team since 2015, and serves as a home base for skiers from FSC, Plymouth State University, several local public high schools. The University of New Hampshire and many other area colleges and universities also train and race at Mittersill extensively.
"This is a monumental step forward for both Holderness and FSC's athletes and staff,” added Holderness Director of Snow Sports Ben Drummond. “We will now have a world class facility that matches the on-hill training site at Mittersill. We are paving a way for all our athletes to reach their goals, whatever they may be."
The Mittersill Performance Center is made possible, in part, by an anonymous $6 million gift to support Holderness athletics. In addition to funding a large portion of the lodge, the gift will support the construction of a new turf field and the renovation of the existing turf field; the creation of a freeski & snowboard jumping venue including a big air bag; and the development of a 5-kilometer homologated cross-country skiing venue that will incorporate 2 kilometers of lighted trail and 2.5 kilometers of state-of-the-art snowmaking.
COVID-19 has provided many challenges for all of us in more ways than we can count. One opportunity we've seen in this challenge is that it demands us all to be more creative and one place that was most apparent this fall was in the Holderness Art Department.
With world-class ski resorts just a short drive away, plus 20 kilometers of Nordic ski trails and an outdoor ice rink on campus, Holderness School seems like it was built for winter. The same can be said of the school’s new winter schedule, which was redesigned to help students thrive amid the challenges of cold weather, short days, and ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.
It is with profound gratitude that I share I will be retiring in June 2022. As Board Chair Nell Reynolds, the board, and I have discussed, the timing feels perfect for Holderness and for Robin and me. I am incredibly fortunate to be able to retire at this time, but I am also thankful to have another 18 months to serve Holderness.
Is Holderness right for you? The best way to find the right boarding school is to reach out. Check us out in person in New Hampshire or virtually. See why Holderness is more than a school, it's an elevated experience.