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Competitive or recreational sports at Putney are valued for fostering individual skills and strengths. Sports do not conflict with art activities, so there is no need to choose between one or the other. The school's rural hilltop location provides superb outdoor recreational facilities. There are seven acres of playing fields, a new riding stable, ring and jumps, a swimming and skating pond, a serious weight-training and exercise facility, 25 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails, and even more kilometers of the Connecticut River for crew.
In the fall groups hike over the network of school trails, mountain bikers head out on the dirt roads of Windham County, and others gather for games of ultimate frisbee or tennis. The Putney horse program offers both trail riding and jumping and dressage; students may bring their own horses or use a school-owned horse.
Putney teams compete in the Lakes Region independent school league, as well as with nearby public and private high schools. Men's and women's soccer teams play approximately 12 games during the fall. The cross-country running team competes on the public school schedule and is eligible to take part in the Vermont State championships. The crew rows single, double and quad shells on the Connecticut River and competes in a variety of scholastic races in spring and fall. In past two years the crew has won a variety of team and individual awards against high school and college competition.
The recreational cross-country ski program focuses on teaching the basics of the diagonal stride and the skating technique. Putney's cross-country ski team traditionally is a strong competitor among independent high schools. Putney’s cross-country skiing legacy includes several Olympic team members and four members of the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame, including Olympic medalist Bill Koch ’73 and retired math teacher and three-time Olympic coach John Caldwell ’46. Read more about them here..
The Putney School promotes skiing in the community by maintaining and informing the public of our groomed trail system and encouraging other teams to train with us. We cultivate (with 5 formal practices/week) competitive boys and girls teams in the Lakes Regions Nordic ski league and supports and encourages aspiring skiers to compete in additional Junior Olympics qualifying races. In cooperation with the Putney Ski Club, Putney hosts races that include occasional Junior Olympic qualifiers, Lakes Region Championships and other large events such as the New England Bill Koch Festival and the 2009 New England Prep School Championships. Off-season support includes an on-snow early winter training camp in Quebec, year-round training plans, summer/fall roller ski time trials and a fall dryland training program.
In addition to cross-country skiing, a large contingent of recreational alpine skiers and snowboarders make use of nearby Mt. Snow and Stratton ski areas, while others snowshoe or go backcountry skiing at Putney.
While some compete at the highest levels, Putney does not recruit athletes nor does it offer athletic scholarships. Intrinsic to sports at Putney is the conviction that it will nurture the development of healthy bodies and provide students with the necessary skills and appreciation of play so that they may enjoy recreation and physical activity throughout their life.