Vail Mountain School, Vail, Colorado


Vail Mountain School is a community of learners in which we share and celebrate life’s successes, while also working together to learn from our greatest challenges. The homebase program creates space where students feel safe to better understand themselves and their peers and take the emotional risks critical for growth and maturation. Faculty strive to create an environment in which every student has multiple avenues to gain a sense of belonging to the school and the greater community. Students also explore their potential for emotional growth through sports, music, and the arts.

Providing students with a balance between content and the skills they need to apply to future academic and life situations, Vail Mountain School faculty emphasize higher thinking skills, including analysis, evaluation, synthesis, and creation. The school’s independence allows faculty to explore best practices and promote inquiry-based and critical thinking. Small class sizes allow teachers to get to know each student as an individual and use that knowledge to continually challenge and motivate students in their academic pursuits.

Vail Mountain School’s international program focuses on total American cultural immersion.To achieve this, our highly selective program remains small, diverse and intentional. We offer homestay, full spectrum ESL instruction, daily advisory meetings, and an extensive peer mentor program to support students academically, socially, and at home.

Students are engaged in physical education a minimum of twice per week. The goals of the physical education program are to build fundamental skills, encourage a strong work ethic, teach good sportsmanship, and educate for a healthy lifestyle. Named after the Gore Range, the captivating backdrop of the school, Vail Mountain School's mascot is the GORE RANGER. Middle and upper school students participating in interscholastic sports are part of VMS GORE RANGER teams.

The Arts
The arts are a key element of Vail Mountain School’s college preparatory education. The visual arts department is driven by the philosophy that creative capacities, when enhanced by the arts, help students take risks, formulate new ways of representing thoughts, become more innovative, and have more confidence in assessing various situations with an open mind.  The art department has developed a program rich in production and appreciation of art.  Knowledge of art history is central to the K-8 curriculum, which incorporates materials and techniques in a variety of media and encourages originality and creative problem-solving skills.

Ski Fridays at Vail Mountain School
Ski Friday is a defining tradition at Vail Mountain School dating back to the founding of the school when the kids would ski each day after classes. Their parents built and ran the mountain, as well as the school, so it was a natural extension of the classroom. Today, the tradition lives on and is celebrated each Friday afternoon during winter term. Clad in bright yellow bibs that proudly proclaim their identity as VMS students, lower schoolers ski in groups closely supervised by teachers and lucky parents who can take the afternoon off and join their children. Middle and upper school students ski in groups based on ability and goals, which means that some chase powder “bell to bell’ while others take a more leisurely approach, enjoying french fries at Mid Vail as well as the company of their friends. It’s yet another way for everyone at VMS to get to know each other better, to interact in a fun, positive way outdoors, and to enjoy one of the finest perks of life in the Vail valley.

More information via StudyUnitedStates EU <- click for e-mail

See a VMS video on their Ski Friday activities:

See our Vail Mountain School Outdoor Education and Elite Snowsport Training here

Educating students of character is central to the mission of Vail Mountain School.  As a K-12 community, the school believes true learning can only happen when students possess self-knowledge along with a well-developed moral foundation on which to operate. Character education is part of the fabric of Vail Mountain School and is intentionally interwoven throughout. It can be found in our curricula, community service opportunities, co-curricular activities, and traditions. Character development is a work-in-progress and as such, the school strives to provide ongoing formal and informal learning opportunities for all community members to enable them to function as grounded, thoughtful, and responsible global citizens.

Fundamental to Vail Mountain School’s mission is to “to prepare students intellectually, emotionally, and ethically to thrive in a collegiate setting and beyond with the life-long purpose of active participation in global citizenship.” Multifaceted programming, including academics, arts, athletics, community service, outdoor education, and daily “homebase advisories” is inextricable from the school’s success in achieving this mission. Moreover, in keeping with the school’s belief in the educative and moral efficacy of an age-integrated environment, faculty leadership develops and guides myriad cross-age interactions within these programs that range from individual events to full year curriculum.

Vail Mountain School’s upper division is the final stage in our mission to promote character, community and knowledge in our students. Through a rigorous college preparatory curriculum, a strong athletics program, visual and performing arts, outdoor education, community service and cross-age activities in a k-12 environment we create independent thinkers that upon graduation are prepared to take their places as role models within the multiple communities in which they live.

All upper school students are required to participate in a minimum of one Vail Mountain School interscholastic athletics program per year. In addition, upper school students are required to be physically active a minimum of three times per week during the entire school year. This can be satisfied through school and club programs or individually designed schedules approved by the athletic director.

The use of technology at Vail Mountain School is developed to support the school’s focus on a college preparatory curriculum. The technology program is not only geared for academic growth, but also emotional development and an understanding of the use of technology. Lower school grades use the computer lab and iPads to supplement and enhance material they are learning in core-subject classes. In middle school, technology is used not only as a tool for learning and research, but also as a means to express oneself. Students have opportunities to create short films, Prezi, Keynote, and PowerPoint presentations, and various other forms of digital media. Access to a mobile lab allows teachers to bring computers into the classrooms to augment specific units, initiating cross-curricular learning and illustrating different ways of conceptualizing complex ideas. Upper school students learn to utilize technology in a responsible manner to enhance their academic experience without inviting distractions into the classroom. As the technology evolves, the school periodically re-visits how technology is used to ensure that all means are in place to support the dynamic philosophy of an integrated technology program.

2017 Tuition Schedule

US$ 25,560 per year tuition
Please enquire for homestay prices 

Full Academic Year Immersion Homestay Program Includes: Total English immersion, college preparatory school program; One-on-one college counseling for students and parents; College application and essay workshops and support; Peer Mentor Program activities; Dedicated international student support class including ESL as needed; AP and other course offerings; Access to school e-mail and networks including Google Apps and Naviance College Counseling; Extracurricular clubs and activities (music, art, theatre, sports, technology, skiing, chess, etc.); Academic advisory support and monthly action plans; Academic reports, feedback and counseling; Year round, state-of-the art greenhouse; Daily gourmet, catered school lunch (Sage Dining); School field trips including winter hut trips (does not include Intraterm trips outside Colorado); Outdoor orientation trips (rafting, horseback riding, etc.); Secure homestay —private bedroom, all meals, and transportation to and from school; Monthly homestay check-ins; Transportation to/from school daily arranged by homestay family

Additional costs to the student include: American cellphone and service; American bank account and credit card; Heath insurance and any medical costs; Laptop computer and software; Student ski pass for Vail Mountain; Equipment and clothing for skiing or snowboarding; Sports fees; Other fees may apply dependent upon participation in certain programs