All recreational activities are coed and meet twice a week.
Alpine Skiing and Snowboarding
We travel to Mount Snow (about a 40minute drive) on Wednesdays and Sundays.This activity is open to individuals of all skill levels. Mount Snow maintains over 100 trails and has excellent snowmaking. Rentals and lessons are available and there is also a half-pipe for snowboarders. A minimum number of lessons is required to ensure that participants can negotiate the mountain safely.
Ballet (level I and II)
In a supportive environment, technique classes focus on physical aspects such as core strength, flexibility, placement and alignment, articulation and co-ordination. Musicality is stressed as an integral part of combining Ballet's physical demands and artistic requirements. Level I: All are welcome, no prior experience is necessary. Level II: For dancers with previous experience, offering the opportunity to further expand movement vocabulary, strength, and ability. Pointe, variations, and partnering are offered, as appropriate.
The Badminton activity started this year at the initiative of an enthusiastic and proficient group of students from China, where this sport is very popular. It is a recreational activity where basic badminton skills are taught through a few drills and a lot of fun practice and games.
In Conditioning, we spend the trimester working to develop a comprehensive level of fitness for each student. We gear our workouts towards increased strength and flexibility. We utilize a cross training approach which features running, weightlifting, plyometrics, and other techniques to prepare students for a healthy spring and summer!
Putney offers both a recreational and competitive cross-country ski program on its 40 kilometers of groomed trails. Skiers of all levels have the opportunity to learn skills and technique. Skiers are expected to provide their own equipment, learn how to take care of it and how to wax skis. Limited equipment is available to novice and recreational skiers. The school provides waxing facilities and waxes for racing and training. Opportunities beyond interscholastic racing are available for serious competitive skiers.
High Intensity Aerobic Workout
This is an activity that meets from 7:00 to 7:30 AM, five days a week. Based on the theories of Dr. John Ratey, this course employs exercises and techniques meant to bring the students’ heart rates to 75% to 80% of capacity for a 30 minute period of time, with the exercises and routines varying from day to day. The benefits of this class are not only focused on fitness but, as Dr. Ratey would suggest, can help increase a student’s capacity to focus, elevate overall energy levels, and improve mood. Students must have permission of the instructor and dean of students to enroll in this course. Students in this activity will receive one afternoon credit.
Hiking invigorates the body, calms the mind and stimulates the senses. Most of our walks will be on trails through the woods and fields in the vicinity of the school. Come prepared to walk with comfortable walking shoes, sneakers or boots, a water bottle, jacket and hat (optional). We will walk in all weather. Walks will be designed to bring us back to campus by the end of the activity period.
The horse program offers riding lessons and trail rides for beginners to more advanced riders. Students learn to care for horses at the school’s stable.The program teaches balanced seat English riding. Jumping and dressage lessons are also available. Students may bring their own horse but there is a waiting list.
Modern Jazz Dance (level I and II)
One day a week, dancing to live percussion, we focus on Modern Dance, combining elements of the Horton and Graham Techniques, influenced by other diverse styles. On the other day, following a vigorous workout focusing on full-body strength, flexibility, and technique, students explore contemporary styles of jazz with an emphasis on rhythm, energy, and fun! Level I: All are welcome, no prior experience necessary. Level II: For dancers with previous experience, offering the opportunity to further expand movement vocabulary, strength, and ability. Partnering and advanced performance techniques are offered, as appropriate.
The group rides on school trails and local dirt roads.There is one long ride each week, and one shorter ride that focuses on technique and other specific skills. Each student is encouraged to ride at other times of the week to best develop their skills and fitness. Occasionally, when the weather is inclement, we’ll take time to clean and perform routine maintenance on our bikes.
In a fun and invigorating activity, skaters of all levels will learn the basics of the classic, wide-open sport of Pond Hockey. The emphasis is on having fun, learning teamwork, improving skating and stick handling and most importantly getting outside on the ice for some winter exercise. The school provides helmets and sticks, most students use their own skates, although we do have a few pairs.
Renaissance-style fencing is a historical martial art that aims to re-create the techniques of dueling taught by the masters of the 16th century with the addition of modern safety equipment. In practice, it looks like a cross between modern fencing and the stage combat techniques used in popular movies. We will start with basic positions and footwork, learn how to use the blade in attack and defense and, finally, practice actual duels against one another.
This activity meets on Wednesday afternoons for 3+ hours when we usually go off campus to various local climbing areas, exploring a wide range of rock types demanding a variety of climbing styles. We will also make extensive use of the climbing wall in the new Field House when the weather keeps us inside. At the wall, we’ll focus on building strength, endurance, and technique, making our climbing outdoors more productive and also helping to reduce the risk of injury. Students in the climbing program will help develop routes and problems on the climbing wall, learn about safety systems on the wall and outside on natural rock, and gain new skill and confidence at all levels of ability.
The spring rowing program is a two-day activity. Participants start the season with dry land training focusing on using the indoor rowing machines as well as developing basic fitness. Once river rowing conditions allow, we transition to practices on the Connecticut River where the focus is on sculling and students have the opportunity to row in a single, double, or quadruple sculls. Students maintain our fleet of boats, the boathouse, and installing our docks.
Running and Fitness
Students will combine running on our beautiful trail system with stretching and strengthening exercises. The combination is guaranteed to leave you feeling fit and healthy. And it’s a great way to work up an appetite for dinner.
Snowshoers enjoy scenic tours through the snowy woods, taking advantage of the school’s rural campus and miles of trails. If the snow is limited, the group of 10 or 15 students will go hiking instead. The school supplies snowshoes and students learn how to use them and maintain them. Participants learn to appreciate the pace of snowshoe travel, the beauty of the winter landscape, and the ability to travel through areas normally inaccessible the rest of the year, such as wetlands.
Tai Chi and Kung Fu
This class offers students an opportunity to explore a variety of Chinese martial arts and culture. Practices integrate body and mind in relation to nature, to animals, and to the universe. The class environment cultivates the spirit of self discipline and respect of self and others, exercising inner strength and endurance. Students will study the principle of yin and yang balance that is embedded in the movement: slow and fast, soft and determined, inner energy and outer energy. Forms are introduced through animal poses, sword practice, and calligraphy. The class traces the tradition, history, and philosophy of kung fu by viewing historical footage along with learning Chinese language.
Ultimate Frisbee is organized as a two-day recreational sport in the fall and spring. Ultimate is a wonderful game to play at the high-school level for its emphasis on conditioning and skills, but especially because it is self-refereed at all levels of play. This challenges young athletes to be honest, calling fouls on themselves even as they try their hardest to win.
Weights and Fitness
Students participate in a variety of resistance activities.The weight room offers free weights, aerobic exercise machines (rowing, running) and strength-training machines.Abilities range from athletes who are training for other sports to people who just want to get in shape. Individualized programs are designed to meet all fitness needs.
Learn the necessary skills and self confidence to operate in the wilderness with minimal equipment. We will learn shelter construction, how to build and maintain a safe campfire, back country cooking, and identification of edible plants. The activity will culminate with a camping trip and the opportunity to stay in a debris shelter overnight. We will be outside every day, rain or shine, and will alter our tasks based on the weather and season, including fire building in the rain.
Students will learn basic Hatha yoga postures in the Kripalu and Ashtanga traditions. Each class will begin with a flowing series of strengthening and balancing postures, followed by slow stretching and a long relaxation period. We will also learn partner postures.