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XC Sterling

Sterling School

Sterling School, located in Craftsbury Common, VT was founded in 1958 as a boy’s college preparatory school by Norman Rioux. In 1964, Dartmouth graduate Bob Ramsdell and Tom Bryant of Stowe started the nordic ski program. With the help of other faculty members and students, they built one of Vermont’s premier cross-country racing trail systems. A nordic team was also developed, which competed on the high school and prep school circuit.  

The Sterling School under the direction of Bob Ramsdell was well known for hosting races with excellently prepared courses and prompt accurate results. In an era without electric timing and sophisticated grooming equipment, the Sterling School races were well attended by most of the top nordic skiers in the country. Many Eastern Ski Association sanctioned events including the Eastern Championships and the 1972 Olympic Trials were hosted by Sterling School. As the popularity of cross-country skiing increased in the mid 70’s, many touring centers and other venues began to host races and compete for participants. The attendance numbers dropped off at the Sterling School events at the same time the institution was experiencing financial difficulties. Faced with closure in 1974, a group of faculty chose to remain and established an academic year-round program similar to Outward Bound programs known as Grassroots Project in Vermont at Sterling Institute. As the Sterling School reinvented itself, the competitive ski program was discontinued in favor of a more back to nature non-competitive ski program.