Vail ski scholars ride into future |

Vail ski scholars ride into future

Sarah Mausolf
Vail, CO Colorado
Kristin Anderson/Vail DailyVail Ski and Snowboard Academy graduates Kristi Waring, left, Michael Penhale, Cannon O'Brien, Anouk Guilmineau, and RD Cordova stand for the National Anthem to start their commencment ceremony Wednesday at the Donovan Pavilion in Vail.

VAIL – Some Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy students traveled the world during their high school years, while others competed in the Junior Olympics or mastered a backflip on skis.

Five seniors earned their diplomas Wednesday evening during Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy’s first separate graduation ceremony. For each of the prior two years, seniors at the academy graduated with Battle Mountain High School students.

A light rain interrupted the outdoor ceremony on the patio of Donovan Pavilion. The crowd took shelter inside, and that’s where seniors accepted their diplomas.

Here’s a look at the graduates:

• Kristi Waring moved from Denver to Vail to study at the academy and train in freestyle skiing. She traveled to Chile, Canada, Australia and all over the United States during her time at the school. Waring, 18, has competed in the Junior Olympics, U.S. Nationals and NorAm. She will be studying at University of Colorado at Boulder but first, she’s taking a year off in Vail to continue skiing competitively.

“I’m just seeing where it takes me right now,” she said.

• Cannon O’Brien, an alpine racer from Vail, also did his share of traveling during his three years at the school. For instance, he raced in Europe this year and won first place in the Beaver Creek junior FIS race.

“The one-on-one aspect of someone helping you pursue your dream is priceless,” he said of the academy.

O’Brien will be taking a year off school to pursue ski racing before heading to University of Denver to study business.

• Michael Penhale specializes in skateboarding and snowboarding. He traveled to New York and Denver for skating during his two-year tenure at the academy. The 18-year-old said he’s moving to California in October to work and appear in skating videos. He hopes to become at least an amateur skateboarder within the next two years.

• R.D. Cordova, from Minturn, traveled to snowboarding competitions during his sophomore year at the academy. He visited six states and competed in several competition tours, including the Revolution tour. A knee injury prevented Cordova from competing during much of his junior and senior years, but he stood out in other ways, whether he was playing varsity football for Battle Mountain High School or participating in a statewide debate competition. The 18-year-old is heading to Colorado State University in Fort Collins to study economics, in hopes of becoming a technical analyst.

“I really enjoy stocks and such but I don’t think I could handle the pressure of being a floor trader, so that leaves an analyst,” he said.

• Anouk Guilmineau, from Vail, competed in nordic skiing. She traveled to Utah, Steamboat Springs and Aspen for the junior qualifiers.

On studying at the academy, she said: “I liked it because it’s really focused on what your needs are.”

Guilmineau is heading to University of Colorado at Boulder to study engineering.

Staff Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2928 or

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