Chill or Pro?—A Glance At the New RKMP Programs

Leo Yang

 The Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program is welcoming many widely anticipated revamps this fall.

 Many new options are available for Bears eager to explore the mountains and nature. In the fall, RKMP not only offers Fall Watch, a familiar program for returning Bears, which includes daily hiking, canoeing and rock climbing in surrounding mountains, but also an independent mountain biking team led by Coach Matthew Cartier and Jim Norton. RKMP also has Nordic skiing and woodworking in the winter and Spring Watch and a dedicated rock-climbing program in the spring.

  The brand new mountain biking team, an independent branch of RKMP, is especially exciting. With seven current members, the mountain biking team is practicing professional mountain biking skills in the surrounding mountains every afternoon. Every Saturday, the team participates in mountain biking races hosted by other schools. Berkshire School is also building its own mountain biking trails and will host the first race in Mid-October.

 Equipped with four more bikes, the program is becoming “more attractive for those who genuinely want to do mountain biking,” says Andrii Roman ’20, a member of the mountain biking team. According to Norton, separating mountain biking as an independent branch of RKMP is to meet the desires of Bears who are dedicated to biking skill development and competitive races. The program asks for an equal amount of commitment as a varsity team from its participants, thus it expects those with true passion; on Wednesday, September 25, the team competed in its first ever race at Hotchkiss. 

  On the other end of the spectrum, Fall Watch offers more flexibility and versatility. Participants in Fall Watch are Bears who enjoy walking through nature and fostering skills in hiking, rock-climbing, canoeing, and more. Will Goldthwaite ’22, a two-year participant in Fall Watch, said that he likes the program because it’s enjoyable to hike in the outdoors while talking with friends.

 The Ritt Kellogg Mountain Program is marked as a signature program of Berkshire School. Its purpose has always been to “provide a chance for those who are looking to experience life in the outdoors for the first time, and for those who know they love the woods and waters and who want to spend more time out in them.” 

 The new RKMP has definitely inherited this purpose while taking its commitments to a higher level. It encourages its participants to get out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves. With state-of-the-art facilities and totally redesigned programs, RKMP is expecting more bears to join and enjoy unique experiences under and on the mountains.