Last weekend myself and some buddies piled into the car and made the trip up to Mount Snow in Vermont for some skiing. Definitely not our ideal location but skiing nonetheless. While there we ran into some bros and gals from St. Johnsbury Academy, one of Vermont’s oldest prep schools that has produced numerous senators and a president in Calvin Coolidge. When I asked how the skiing had been I received a strange look. Then it hit me and my buddies, not one of them had poles, they were all snowboarding.
I was in awe, I had always viewed skiing as the traditional winter sport epitomizing the prep-school lifestyle. If anyone remembers the Johnny Tsunami movie, skiing was only for the elite private school kids and snowboarders weren’t allowed on their side of the mountain. What happened to the good old days? Maybe times are changing and snowboarding is becoming acceptable among the elite when it used to be just for mountain bums. I’m not sure what the answer is so I figured who better to ask but the preps yourselves.
Like I said Mount Snow is definitely NOT ideal for skiing, and maybe that’s where I went wrong so I wanted to hit you guys with what are going to be some gems this winter for New England skiing. Obviously besides the amazing slopes out west such as Vail Resort in Colorado, my personal favorite, the second best option is New England. My biggest hidden gem is Jay Peak in northeastern Vermont. Since being taken over by Forbes lister Bill Stenger, foreign investments totaling over 200 million dollars have poured in from Switzerland, Austria and Canada.
With all that money being poured into the resort the mountain is becoming a luxury to ski at and one of my new favorites. The same investment group has also bought nearby Burke Mountain and is transforming the small slopes into a hotbed for skiers. Although a four and half hour drive from Boston these mountains are guaranteed to have some of the freshest powder in New England and are a prime location for prep schoolers who want to hit the slopes over winter break.
It seems that the Spence School isn’t content reigning as queen of the single-sex private school scene on just one block of East 90th Street. The elite girl’s institution, named one of the top ten prep-schools in America last year, has added substantial property to their Upper East Side empire.
City records show that the school bought a lot at 412 East 90th Street for $26.1 million. The acquisition won’t put the school in the red, however: Forbes claims that the school had an endowment worth over $85 million in 2008.
The newest addition, however, is much further East than the central school buildings. While the school’s main campus is located at 22 East 91st Street, and it also owns a row of properties across the street, the new lot is way over at First Avenue, encroaching on the territory of rival Chapin.
The Observer put in a call to the Spence communications department but has yet to hear back. Oddly enough, the only reference to be found on the lot comes from the school’s Wikipedia page. “On September 16, 2011, the Spence School announced the purchase of a fourth building, a very large space located at 412 East 90th Street, that will become a state of the art physical education facility (with multiple gyms, courts and fields) within the next several years.” No news sources carry any mention of this.
Spence has recently been locked in a conflict with neighborhood locals who object to some of the school’s construction plans. In 2008 Spence purchased the Wanamaker Munn mansion at 17 East 90th Street for $27 million. The school hopes to build a glass atrium connecting the main building to the adjacent townhouse, sheltering students from the dangerous Upper East Side world.
We can’t imagine that the city would sign off on a glass tunnel stretching all those avenue blocks to the new soon-to-be gymnasium, however. Perhaps a fleet of town cars will be on call to bring the girls to sports practice?
The lot was purchased from the Hertz Corporation and seems to include a massive car lot. Perhaps the school will scrap the gym plans and keep the lot as a garage to house the older students’ Jags and Beemers.
Spence is spending in the wrong direction. They just spent $26.1 million on girls sports and possibly a parking garage. Let me rephrase that, Spence is spending $26.1 million on girls sports and their cars. Does this seem backwards to anyone else? Eventually all the insurance cost from the girl’s car accidents will eventually outgrow the $26.1 million right?
On a better point, Spence could have spent its money towards a boys school and instead of having an $85 million endowment they could have a $200 million + fund, and isn’t that what the game is about? Then again they’re probally worried about ending up like Landon.
A sex scandal among its freshmen has officials of the elite Landon School scrambling to reassure the public that the academy is still a good neighbor — and a good school. Freshmen at the school were caught playing a “fantasy draft” with young girls last year, scoring them based on their looks and offering points to players for bedding them. Among the team names were “Southside Slampigs.” T-shirts were reportedly printed and a sex party organized. The school moved quickly to discipline the high school students and keep the “league” quiet, but the game was exposed by the New York Times’ Maureen Dowd in her Wednesday column.
On Thursday, amid mounting publicity, headmaster David Armstrong sent an e-mail to Landon graduates that the situation was well in hand. “When incidents such as the one Maureen Dowd wrote about earlier this week arise, we deal with them,” he said. “We treat these situations as opportunities to teach.” The Bethesda all-boys school has graduated generations of congressmen and scholars, along with some high-profile athletes. But in recent years, the school has attained notoriety.
There was a cheating scandal in 2002. Ten students admitted to cheating on their SATs, and the school was accused of being lenient with the lacrosse players among them. One of Landon’s alumni, David Evans, was accused of raping an exotic dancer in the Duke lacrosse scandal. Evans was formally cleared and the prosecutor in his case stripped of his law license, but the boorishness of the team — with one teammate sending an e-mail detailing a lurid fantasy of killing exotic dancers and then skinning them, another making an obscene gesture with a broomstick, and yet another teammate cracking a crude racial joke — left bad feelings toward the team. Earlier this year, former Landon lacrosse star George Huguely V was charged with murder in the savage beating death of his former girlfriend, Yeardley Love.
Huguely hearing set A preliminary hearing was set for Oct. 7 in the murder case against former Landon School and University of Virginia lacrosse player George Huguely V. Huguely is charged with murder in the beating death of his former girlfriend and fellow U.Va. lacrosse player Yeardley Love. School officials have downplayed the incidents as isolated.
But Scott Webber, whose son graduated from Landon, said he wasn’t surprised to hear about the sex scandal. “There’s no question that there’s an aura of entitlement that pervades Landon culture — especially among the athletes,”All too often, they give off a feeling that they’re above and beyond most rules.”
Looks like Landon knows how to get their rage on! Honestly though, these kind of actions are what give prep schoolers and lacrosse players especially bad reputations. It’s one thing to have a good time and totally another to rape/kill/sodomize women. Come on Landon, show the world we’re better than that.
Yeah that’s me. NantucketRedMan. The new writer for Twines and Vines.com I’m a good friend of the boss and a huge fan of the site. I look forward to writing some exciting stuff about the prep world. I’ll be writing on everything from sports, school, swag, chill people, music, you know what I mean, the prep-school lifestyle.