Burke Mountain Academy To Build New Indoor Training Facility

Ronnie Berlack Center to offer year-round, cutting-edge physical preparation for student-athletes

 East Burke, VT (May 12, 2016) – Burke Mountain Academy (BMA), the nation’s premier ski racing academy, announces today its plans to build the Ronnie Berlack Center (RBC), a $2.8M state-of-the-art physical training facility which will significantly  advance the physical preparation of its alpine and Nordic student-athletes.

With a target opening date of late fall 2016, the new facility will feature more than 6,000 square feet of turf field and 4,700 square feet of training area with rubberized floor and sophisticated training equipment. The infrastructure will be conveniently located on the academy’s campus, next to the dining hall and overlooking the soccer field.

“This project represents a major milestone in BMA’s history,” said Steve Berlack, father of Ronnie Berlack, men’s FIS coach at BMA and lead on the project’s silent funding development efforts. “Ski racing and adolescent athletic physical preparation have significantly evolved in the last decade. With this new infrastructure, BMA will be in a strong position to offer consistent year-round indoor training to take our students’ training to a whole new level.”

BMA intends to leverage this new facility to deliver high performance programming in strength and conditioning, sports psychology, sports medicine, nutrition, athletic movement, coaching development, wellness, as well as research in and dissemination of the latest work in sport science.

“The building’s generous scale will also give the academy the opportunity to host school-wide training sessions to continue to build its strong community spirit. Its year-round accessibility means we’ll be able to extend usage to local programs in the summertime as well” added Berlack.

The facility will be named in honor of Ronnie Berlack, an accomplished athlete who graduated from BMA in 2012. Ronnie was named to the U.S. Ski Team development squad in the spring of 2013 and was renamed in the spring of 2014. An avalanche took his life in Soelden, Austria, on January 5, 2015.

“Ronnie grew up in the BMA community,” shared Steve Berlack. “I started working at BMA when he was four years old. To have such a vibrant center of athletic development named in his honor is an incredible tribute. He would be so proud of this. His legacy and spirit will live on inside the walls of the facility, as he represented many of the important attributes of the programming that will be delivered here.”

The building’s design, construction, and five years of operational expense coverage were made possible thanks to $2.8M in committed gifts from generous donors from the broad BMA community. A new fundraising campaign will soon get underway to raise an additional $3M for the creation of an endowment fund that will support high performance programs that will take place within the RBC in the future.

“The BMA community’s support of the RBC over the past nine months has been overwhelming,” expressed Willy Booker, chairman of BMA’s board of trustees and BMA alumnus from the class of 1996. “Thanks to the contributions of many generous donors, we’re excited to be in a position to move forward with making this vision a reality and look forward to providing current and future generations of BMA student-athletes with the cutting-edge facilities they need to reach their full potential.”

BMA is hosting an official ground-breaking ceremony for the RBC on May 21 at 5:30 p.m. at BMA. The event is held in conjunction with the farewell party held for Kirk Dwyer, the academy’s headmaster for the past 16 years. The on-campus farewell party will take place from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m.

“Kirk is leaving a rich legacy at BMA,” added Booker. “We look forward to celebrating both his accomplishments as a headmaster and the ground-breaking of the RBC with the entire BMA community,” he concluded.

For more information about the RBC, visit: Ronnie Berlack Center


Jodi Flanagan

Burke Mountain Academy / Director of Development and Communications

P: 802.626.5607 ext. *1506 / E: jflanagan@burkemtnacademy.org