FARMINGTON – Two-time Olympic snowboard champion Seth Wescott and U.S. Ski Team Freestyle aerialist Kristean Porter Thorpe have been voted into the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Hall of Fame; both recipients of the induction graduated from the Carrabassett Valley Academy, achieving a success for themselves, but also for the state of Maine and its world-renowned ski and snowboard academy.
Kate Punderson, CVA’s Head of School since 2011, was fortunate enough to know both Wescott and Thorpe, though in different ways. She and Thorpe were in the same graduating class together at CVA, but even then, Thorpe made an impression.
“I always remember her as being very driven and hardworking in both her academic and athletic pursuits,” Punderson said. “The CVA experience is a challenging one, and Kristean took every one head on.”
Punderson was not at all surprised to hear that Thorpe is both a doctor and an athlete who is finally being recognized for all of her dedication. Punderson recalls her as someone who always cared deeply for others, and remembers the active role Thorpe took in the community at CVA. She was always willing to help out other students.
While Punderson didn’t know Wescott as a student, she did meet him later on when he returned to CVA to serve on the board of trustees. That doesn’t mean Wescott’s reputation as a student wasn’t already well-established on the CVA campus.
“He was really innovative. He was one of the first snowboarders admitted here in CVA’s snowboard program. He was a pioneer in the sport,” said Punderson. Wescott began as a skier but switched to snowboarding when he was 10 years old, never looking back. Wescott’s passion for the sport was contagious among the other students there at CVA.
Furthermore, it seems that both of them had an inclination to spread their passion throughout the community. Wescott too has “always given back to CVA as a volunteer here over the years,” said Punderson.
On the school’s website it reads that, “CVA’s charge was to develop a school for student-athletes based on the Greek ideal of developing equally the body, mind, and spirit.” Porter and Wescott speak to the school’s commitment to this creed, both as everyday people and as athletes.
Though of course this is an honor for both Wescott and Porter, CVA also feels an immense pride in their alums and recognize this as a success for the school, as well as for current students. When asked what seeing Wescott and Porter make it into the Hall of Fame meant for the school, Punderson said,
“These two individuals provide wonderful inspiration for our current student athletes. They came from this place, they studied here, they rose to these challenges. It shows our students that they can do the same.”