Details Announced for World Class Academy's 2023-24 School Year

Apr 7, 2023 at 13:24
by riley gardner  


Press Release: World Class Academy

World Class Academy MTB – the only world-travelling, accredited mountain biking high school – has announced its itinerary for next school year.

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The students of WCA MTB at the top of a high alpine ride in Spain. Photo: Gardner

On August 27th, 2023, the school year will commence in the epicenter of mountain biking – Whistler, BC. All six weeks of the first quarter will be spent in building our campus in a Whistler house while they ride everything the Sea to Sky offers - the bike park, enduro trails, dirt jumps, races, and more.

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Finn Smith from Kansas, no hands in Whistler. Photo: Gardner

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Head Coach Zach Petersen drops into Captain Safety at the bike park. Teacher/coach Ally Faller navigates through some rocks.

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Student Sianna Roka, from Vancouver, Canada, during the Canadian Enduro Series stop in Whistler

Then, the second quarter of the school year will take place in Northern Italy and Southern France, where riding spots include Finale Ligure and EVO Bike Park.

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Senior student Kai Manspeaker in Finale Ligure during the 2021-2022 school year. Photo: Gardner.

After winter break, on January 21, the school will travel to the southern hemisphere – New Zealand – for the third quarter. WCA will base in Queenstown for seven weeks – an ideal place to spend January, February, and March as a mountain biking high school student.

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Student Griffin Craige from Telluride, Colorado flowing through Mini Dream in QT. Photo: Lucas.

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Everett Gough from Oregon hits a step down in Queenstown. Photo: Lucas. Gibson Wade from Wisconsin races down a trail in Alexandra for the Crankworx Summer Series Enduro race.

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Program Director Gianna Ossello hits the step down on Dream Line. Photo: Lucas.

Then, on March 25th, WCA will hold the fourth quarter in Slovenia. The school intends to explore areas like Jamnica, Maribor, and others in search of great trails and rich culture for six weeks. This is a new location for the MTB program, but the country has been frequented by WCA’s climbing and kayak programs. Graduation will take place on May 4th, 2024. World Class graduates then go off to university or follow other aspirational plans. The undergrads enjoy the fruits of summer break or employment before returning for another year or returning to their previous school.

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The 2022 graduation in Finale Ligure, Italy.

World Class Academy is in its 22nd year of operation, and the MTB program is in its 2nd year. World Class Academy is an accredited private high school that combines academics, athletics, travel, and cultural immersion. WCA MTB is a school for students who are passionate about mountain biking. Students take regular high school classes– science, history, mathematics, English, foreign language, etc. However, students take these classes while traveling to some of the world’s best mountain bike destinations. The teachers double as the student's biking coaches, which not only helps create better bikers but also enhances the classroom. Imagine riding A-Line with your physics teacher on a school day. As the location of the World Class program constantly changes, so do the classrooms. Education and experience are intertwined at WCA, as traditional course content is elevated by daily happenings and surrounding environments. Students receive a quality college preparatory education from the college-prep curriculum, but also by learning Spanish while traveling in Spain, examining cultural studies in BC, and studying biology at a wildlife center in New Zealand. Small classes led by experienced and motivated teachers provide an individualized approach focused on active student participation in the educational process. Students are living what they are learning.

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Small class sizes are one of WCA's strengths in education. Seen here with a two-person geometry class taking place in Queenstown. Photo: Lucas.

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Ally Faller teaches Sianna and Grayson Pre-Calculus. Photo: Lucas.

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Left: outside the typical high school curriculum, life skills development is an integral part of the WCA education- here, Sianna and Gibson help prepare dinner in Whistler. Right: Gianna helps Grayson Hogue with his Spanish homework

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Gibson Wade in geometry class. Photo: Lucas

This year the school has traveled to Whistler, Spain, and New Zealand; the team is in France as you read this. The fall of 2022 was WCA MTB’s first trip to Whistler. Bike park laps, high alpine rides in the Chilcotins, enduro rides in Squamish, dirt jump sessions– it would take much more than six weeks to ride everything to offer in the Sea to Sky. While the itinerary of destinations changes every year, the Mountain Bike Academy will start every school year in Whistler.

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Head Coach Zach and students Oona, Greyson, and Sianna at the top of an adventure ride in the Chilcotins.

After Whistler and a short Fall Break, the team traveled to Spain. The team flew in and out of Barcelona and explored three areas surrounding the city known for great weather, delicious food, and underrated trails. 4Riders Bike Park, high alpine rides in Berga, Enduro trails in Santa Coloma de Farners, and La Poma bike park were among the favorites of the students and staff. While this was WCA MTB’s first trip to Spain, the country is a staple destination for the WCA Climbing program. Catalonia proved to be a location that the MTB school will return to in the future.

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Student Greyson Gerber from Telluride blasts a table at la Poma Bike Park. Photo: Gardner

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Senior Aidan Weld from Oregon in one of the perfect berms of 4Rider's Bikepark.

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Student Oona Nelson from Kansas sends a jump at 4Riders.

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Student Gibson Wade rallies through one of 4Rider's epic berms.

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The students work on a landing during a service learning project in Santa Coloma de Farners.

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Student Alex Blanar from Eagle, Colorado tables an immaculately sculpted jump in SCF.

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Grayson Hogue, a senior from Delores, Colorado, sends the big jump line at 4Riders. Photo: Gardner

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Teacher Svenga Forstrom at La Poma. Student Greyson Gerber at 4Riders.

After winter break, World Class Academy MTB traveled to Queenstown, New Zealand. QT is likely on most riders’ bucket lists; if not, it should be. This place is a global hub for mountain bikers for a reason! The variety of riding and high-quality trails, combined with summer weather, made Queenstown the group favorite of the year. The seven-week quarter proved too short, as virtually no one in the school wanted to return home for spring break. New Zealand will be another staple destination for the school.

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Student Alex Blanar boosts Dream Track. Photo: Lucas.

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Many WCA students are very focused on racing as part of their athletic goals. Traveling to places like New Zealand in January makes this possible for high school students. Here, 11th grader Sianna Roka stands on the podium after earning 2nd place at the Crankworx Summer Series enduro race in Alexandra, NZ.

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Senior Grayson Hogue stands on the Crankworx Sumer Series Podium after earning 3rd at the dual slalom race in Wanaka.

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Finn Smith accomplishes one of his biggest athletic goals of the year– learning to backflip! Photo: Lucas.

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Griffin Craige slides a berm in Queenstown. Photo: Lucas.

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Teacher Ally Faller hits a drop. Student Ryder Alastra from Helena, Montana, has a good whip. Photos: Lucas

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Teacher Nicole Mansfield in the forests of Queenstown. Grayson Hogue during the Dual Slalom race.


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Throughout the past two school years, dirt jumping has proved to be an important tool for athletic development at World Class Academy. Here students Finn, Aidan, Ryder, Kai and Everett "train" with their teacher Riley. Photo: Lucas.

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Kai Manspeaker whips at Gorge Road. Photo Lucas

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Alex Balanar at Gorge- both riding and watering.


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Head of School for WCA MTB- Riley Gardner at Gorge Road. Photo: Lucas

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Everett Gogue from Eugene, Oregon, had never ridden a dirt jumper prior to arriving in NZ. With one of the best dirt jumps spots in the world, good coaching, and friends to do it with every day, he picked it up super quickly! Photo: Lucas.

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Student Grayson Hogue steezin' on Dream track. Photo: Laurence Leat. Gibsonn Wade in the air at Wynard. Photo: Lucas.


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Alex, Griffin, and Finn push up. Aidan Weld Nac's at Gorge. Photos: Lucas.


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Immersion Research hooked up the school with custom bike jerseys this year.

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Coach/teacher Riley coaches Griffin through Mini Dream and pulls him through the line. Photo: Lucas.

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Sianna Roka racing in Alexandra during the Crankworx Summer Series. Finn Smith making Dream line look easy. Photo: Lucas

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PD Gianna Ossello demonstrates air control. Photo: Lucas

Currently, the WCA MTB team is in Southern France, where they will finish up the school year. The team is starting in Sospel, riding enduro trails and high alpine adventures, until they move to Digne to ride EVO Bike Park, the Terre Noire, and other epic rides.

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Kai Manspeaker in the Terre Noire near Digne, France.

The application period is currently open for students who wish to apply to the school for the 2023-24 school year. World Class Academy works hard to ensure as many students can attend as possible; scholarships and financial aid are available. Most students who attend never thought that they could make it happen until they applied and learned more.

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The bonds and camaraderie created at World Class Academy last a lifetime- evidenced here by Alex, Finn, and Riley at the top of Dream Track. Nicole teaches Finn some geometry. Photos: Lucas.


If you want to know more about World Class Academy MTB, please check out our website. Also, check out the school on Instagram, Youtube, and Facebook for more of the happenings at the school. If you're interested, feel free to read this article, this article, and this article about the school as well!

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Finn Smith, dreamy toboggan. Photo: Lucas

Where is your classroom?



Author Info:
rileygardner avatar

Member since Aug 11, 2015
11 articles

26 Comments
  • 22 2
 Is there a community college version of this for adults with jobs and kids? I'd even settle for night classes. . .

But seriously - "Imagine riding A-Line with your physics teacher on a school day." . . . this is really great. Very cool program.
  • 3 0
 Central Wyoming College Outdoor Ed program is as close as you can get to that...we've go our own mini A-lind 15 minutes away from campus
  • 6 1
 "Introduction to Physics: Gravity 101"
  • 18 3
 I can't say enough good things about this program. My daughter is currently enrolled. While her main focus has been the biking, I can't say enough about the schooling. Education isn't a side show to biking and the biking is amazing. It seems every day she tells me "today was the most epic day".
  • 18 0
 you piss me off. can you adopt me
  • 9 0
 My son is currently doing his junior year with the school. I was so impressed with the program that I also enrolled him for his senior year. Academics are much better than what our county offers; he travels the world and gets better and faster on his bike. Strongly recommending this program.
  • 8 0
 My kid is pretty tight with some of the WCA kids.

I'm just like, "Sorry son. Not gonna happen, unless I win the lottery."
  • 9 0
 "Semesters at WCKA cost $25,000 and our annual tuition rate is $46,750."
  • 7 3
 Wow, that's on par with a very ordinary university tuition in the USA. I say do this in high school and skip college. Better value for your money.
  • 16 2
 Must be nice to have parents able to afford this level of luxury.
  • 9 1
 @plyawn: Not in the USA. If you think you couldn't get a job with a bachelors and 120k in debt, how about going here and trying to get a job with only a high school diploma, and also 120k in debt...

This is a very cool program for the very few who are fortunate enough, but to do this instead and skip the bachelors and somehow think you'll be better off is asinine.
  • 4 2
 @jdkellogg: Maybe 20 years ago but now the value of most Bachelor's is nill, unless you KNOW exactly what you wanna do like be a Dr or Lawyer out of high school, the days of just getting a bachelor in some general field as a leg up is a fools errand.

I'm sure the kids that come out of this are thinking outside the box, have worldwide contacts, have navigated real world scenarios in travel, different languages, and the stresses of competition, and will most likely have something to offer the world unique and creative. Compare that to the typical college kid in traditional 4 year college shuffling from classes to dining hall, that wind up in severe debt with an art history degree. As a current director of a non-profit, guess which resume looks more promising to me..
  • 5 0
 Met these guys a few times in Queenstown this year-lovely staff and really great kids. If I was a decade or two younger it would be a privilege to take a couple of years out to both teach and mentor these kids.
  • 2 0
 It was a pleasure meeting you as well!
  • 3 0
 I'm another parent of a student this year at WCA. It was this same type of article on Pinkbike last year that caused us to send our son to WCA for his junior year.

We are not "elites" to be able to send our son to the school, but we figured the sacrifices we make to be able to do it were worth it so that he could attend for one year. It has been such a great experience for him that I would love for him to finish his senior year with WCA too.

It is as much about the schooling and the excellent staff as it is about the riding. He did more homework in the first quarter than he did in his previous 2 years of school. His grades were good before, but they are better now, and I know that he isn't just floating through without doing the work.

He's getting to ride in places that most of us just dream about. He's meeting and riding with World Cup racers that we see on Pinkbike. How cool is that?!

He's gained independence, maturity in the interactions and close living conditions with kids from all over and various backgrounds. He thinks nothing of us dropping him off at the airport with 2 bike bags and a large duffle and flying to the other side of the world all by himself.

I think I was mature when I was his age, but I would not have been brave enough to leave my bros, traditional ball-and-stick sports, and comfort zone to do something like this. My parents certainly wouldn't have offered it up and encouraged me to do so if there would have been such a thing as WCA.

Again, I can't say enough about how great the staff is. I don't worry what-so-ever about him being away. He's getting great schooling, and great coaching.

People always come back to the cost. Believe me, I get it. To us as parents, it's worth it for the experience he's gotten. Hell, it might even be cheaper to have him gone! Have you seen what it costs to feed and entertain a teenager these days?!
  • 4 0
 I am 40(ish) can I still apply? I have been thinking about a career change and I think professional mountain biker sounds fun.It could happen Smile
  • 5 1
 Please share average graduating class score on standardized university acceptance testing. Curious to see how my little buck would compare to the local high school.
  • 2 0
 That would be a good stat to see.
  • 3 0
 Hi! I assume you are referencing average SAT or ACT scores? We do not have a collection of average student scores on those tests. Students do indeed take them every year, but their scores are sent straight to them, not through us. We do not mandate that students take these tests, although most students do. Many students also take these tests before they attend our school. What I can say about this topic is that our students tend to get accepted to their choice of universities. The experiences and skills that our students have in their high school years set WCA students apart from other applicants and help our students attend the colleges and universities of their choice. Our graduates are better prepared for the rigors of college life because we have given them the skills and confidence to succeed on their own. Check out this page - worldclassacademy.com/bike/academics/#bike-school-profile to see many of the universities our alumni have attended.
  • 5 0
 Do they need a highly qualified science and art teacher who also LIVES for mtb??? Seriously tho.
  • 4 0
 So glad to see that your project is rolling!!!

Was amazing experience to meet you in Sintra trails Smile
  • 4 0
 The polar opposite to my early mountain bike days. WTF.
  • 1 0
 @henryquinney The kids 'check' in Sunday 8/27. Be fun to see a follow up with with this year's student roster and their exploits in Whistler for 7 weeks
  • 3 0
 Why am I hearing
Alice Cooper in my head?
  • 3 3
 Where the elites go to ride, geesh.
  • 4 7
 Is this a joke? lol







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