Big Mountain Program

Led by Brandon Sorel, former professional snowboarder for Burton Snowboards and long-time Wy’East employee, the Big Mountain program is designed to expose and develop a group of hand-selected skiers and snowboarders to the vast possibilities of big mountain and backcountry terrain at the professional and competitive levels.

This unique high school program will educate and train athletes on safely assessing, navigating and conquering the varied alpine challenges, while facilitating college preparatory academics and industry connections. Our goal is to promote and create lifelong stewards of the mountains by fostering a community of like-minded individuals who all share a passion for adventure.


Coupled with its foundational backcountry educational curriculums and athletic coaching, media will be a key component of this program to share the epic skiing and snowboard adventures through great photography and video. These images will not only capture apex moments but be foundational to these athletes’ portfolios for media and sponsorships.

Students will learn proper backcountry practices through snow science exposure while earning avalanche safety (AIRE Level 1) and wilderness first aid certifications in a small coach to student-athlete ratio of 5:1. Along with these tangible skills are unforgettable travel opportunities for training around the Pacific Northwest, industry-networking opportunities for possible sponsorship outlets, and optional IFSA (International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association) competitions at the regional, and possibly national level.

For more information contact:
Athletic Director:
Big Mountain Coach:


Wy’East Mountain Academy (formerly Windells Academy) is the world’s exclusive academy than offers students on-snow training, all year long. With the Academy nestled at the base of Mt. Hood, access to the mountain’s year-round snowfield allow for training on real snow, every month of the year. Windells Academy has partnered with Timberline Ski Area to offer students the only Private Park™ in North America during the months of August, September, October, and November. During the winter, students will ski and ride locally at Timberline Lodge, Mt. Hood Meadows, and Ski Bowl, as well as travel extensively to other resorts near (such as Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Baker, to name a few) and far (Jackson Hole, Mammoth Mountain, Whistler, and more).

Our private campus offers world-class training facilities which include a dry slope, two Olympic-sized trampolines, a “Super Tramp,” and much more, to maximize training off the snow. The students’ schedules include trampoline clinics that are led by our coaches twice a week, with access to supervised trampoline sessions daily. In addition, Wy’East Mountain Academy has in-house workout equipment to help students build muscle strength to enhance performance and decrease risk of injury.

Video review is conducted daily by coaches and is an essential part of our training program. This allows students the chance to analyze their performance, helping them further understanding of how they can improve.  Goal sheets are completed at various parts of the year to measure student progression and to establish a clear path for their progression.

Competition season brings many travel opportunities for students. Depending on their level of ability, coaches compile a competition schedule that meets their goals and matches their skill level. In the past, students have traveled domestically to events such as USASA Nationals, Revolution Tour, Volcom’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Rail Jam, Transworld Snowboarding Trans AM, Dew Tour, US Grand Prix, and X-games. Internationally, students have traveled to the European X-games and various World Cup events.

While athletics are a primary focus at Wy’East, it is important for us to provide students with long term opportunities outside of their athletics, as well. Frequently scheduled “industry trips” to the offices and warehouses of ski, snowboard, and skateboarding companies give students the opportunity to build connections and understand the concept of networking. Companies that we visit include but are not limited to Nike, Mervin Manufacturing (GNU, Lib Tech), K2, Ride Snowboards, Poler, Transworld Magazine, Oakley, Saga Outerwear, Skullcandy, and Dakine. Tours are often led by company team managers and marketing managers, giving students a perspective of life after sports. This leads students to pursue jobs in the industry that allows them to continue their passion of the action sports after pursuing their dreams of being an athlete.  This also gives athletes a chance to meet industry leaders for sponsorship opportunities.