Alumni Spotlight: Graham Small


Graham is passionate about sports, the outdoors, religion, family and friends. He loves being active and living a healthy lifestyle.

Why did you choose this program?

I choose this program because I love skiing. The location was also was a reason that I chose this program. Another factor was because they have a very strong health and fitness program.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program provider provided me with a packing list, as well as an example schedule of an average week. I made my own plane reservations.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

One piece of advice I would give somebody going on my program is that there is a lot of uphill skiing which is intense exercise. Also the diet that we follow is possibly very different from the diet that you may be used to at home. It is very healthy but also extremely tasty.

I would also tell my friends that this program is awesome and it changed my life for the better. I achieved things both mentally and physically that I did not think I could do and I became much more independent.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

The average day would start with going to the gym or going to yoga. We would head onto the mountain around 9:00 and ski until around 1:00.

After we came off the mountain we would attend snow science class or prepare food for the week or take a steam, hot tub, sauna or shower. In the evenings we would go to the movies or bowling or go out on the town to fun shops.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was if I could handle all the uphill and backcountry skiing. It was both physically and mentally taxing. I overcame it by focusing on the moment and being engaged with my friends and coaches. My views on my own strength grew immensely.

What was your favorite part of the experience?

My favorite day at RIDGE was a 10 inch powder day. We canceled all of our other plans on our schedule and skied from the opening of the mountain to the close. It was one of the best days of my life.

I would recommend this program to anybody that loves skiing or snowboarding. The staff is amazing and you become really close with the group of students you live with. I really would not have done anything different. RIDGE is AWESOME!