Feb 18 2013

Logan LaPlante: The Skier & The Intellectual

Logan Cliff

Logan LaPlante, age 13, has been skiing Alpine Meadows for practically his entire life. Anyone that spends time at Alpine has likely seen Logan and his brother Cody hucking off some cliff or hitting the latest park feature. But few people know that behind the ski team athlete that we see every day is a budding intellectual that recently gave a cool speech at the TEDx event at the University of Nevada, Reno.

Logan FaceLaPlante has worked his way up through the ranks of Alpine Meadows development teams and freeride teams. For the last three years, he has been a member of the ASC Alpine Freestyle Team. Logan is equally at home in the park, in the superpipe, and in freeride big mountain competitions. He claims that the only part of skiing that he does not like is the hiking, but we know he has done some major hiking in his lifetime. Logan is also an accomplished video editor, often documenting AFT teammates progression through the season.

Logan enjoys skiing Alpine Meadows because it is not “super big, nor is it super small.” He also enjoys the mix of big mountain terrain with great terrain parks.

In addition to spending a lot of time skiing, Logan spends a lot of time learning, in a less traditional format. It really would not be correct to call it “homeschooling”, as there is so much more to it than that. In his TEDx speech, Logan introduced the world to the concept of “hackschooling”, which simply means making the world your classroom. Besides the normal self-paced instruction in math or other academics, Logan is a part of a slew of other things, including performing as Al Capone the Silver State Young Chataqua, and serving as an intern at Big Truck Hats. Clearly, parents David and Jess LaPlante have worked hard to provide opportunities for their kids.

Logan In Pipe

Here’s the video of his TEDx performance at UNR in January. His passion for life is quite apparent. The video has already been seen by more than 35,000 viewers. It’s well worth the 11 minutes:

In listening to Logan, it’s easy to catch the message that maybe some schools are missing the boat in education. If you have met either LaPlante boy, it’s easy to see that it is very possible to be well educated, while still being happy and pursuing your dreams. When I asked Logan his one message to schools and teachers, he replied:

Don’t stick to the traditional route. Base education on what kids want and need, which is to be happy.

Many adults can learn from the wisdom of thirteen year olds. Congrats to Logan, his family and all of his other supporters that have helped him to a path of success. We hope Logan follows through with his goal of continuing to “improv life.”

Added 12/27/13: Logan has started a Facebook page that updates his progress with the hack schooling movement.

About the author


Mark Fisher has been skiing Alpine Meadows since 1975 & running some sort of unofficial Alpine Meadows site since 2004.


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  1. Jessica LaPlante

    Alpine Meadows is the LaPlante family’s happy! We have for many years loved all the people, all the ski coaches, all the community. Thank you so much for this amazing article on a happy kid who loves nothing more than to be at Alpine Meadows amongst all of his very best friends.

    1. Celyn Nicholson

      Hello Jessica,
      I assume you must be the proud mum of Logan. I just watched the TedTalk he gave and I have to say that his my second favorite right after Sir Ken Robinson ;-)
      Anyway, as a mum of two daughters (one home schooled, the other one schooled upon her request) I found your story and his talk highly inspiring. I will have to watch some of your sons ski videos too. But first I will share Logan’s TedTalk video with my daughters so they get inspired or/and re-assured that Happiness is a priority by doing the things they love so they can be great at.
      Thank you.

    2. Karina

      Hi Jessica, I think it’s amazing what your family has done to reframe education for your sons. I have a 5-month-old hope to raise him in a way that allows him to be creative and passionate about the things he loves. I’m curious as to how you do it logistically. Is Logan officially home schooled? Does he have to comply with State testing processes? Is there a community of like-minded parents? How do you source “classes” or activities for them?

      Sorry for all the question, just really fascinated and impressed. Hope to hear from you. Thanks!

      1. Jessica LaPlante

        Karina, yes we are official homeschoolers who are never home. Just another reason to default to Hackschooling. As far as testing and state standards, every state is different so I encourage you to start your research into the laws and prerequisites for your state and county. Yes, we could not do what we do without our amazing community of like-minded parents, teachers, creative kids, business owners, skiers, coaches, and our community in general. But what we would like to stress is that this is not a “system” it is a mindset. I invite you to join us on our Hackschool Facebook site to learn a bit more. We just posted a booklist and we are doing our best to get more information out as soon as possible.


        Jessica LaPlante
        aka Logan’s Mom

    3. Christine M

      Hi Jessica,

      I was also wondering how you went about schooling him? I have a 6 yr old son, and think he would excel at this. I’m just not sure how to go about it. I would appreciate any information you could give me. Thank you.

      1. Jessica LaPlante

        Christine, with all of the hype over Logan’s video our family is in the process of getting more information together to distribute to everyone interested. In the meantime we invite you to join our Hackschooling Facebook site where you can find a bit more information and be in closer communication with the Hackschooling community we are quickly forming.

        Hackschooling is a mindset, not a system. Our family strives to let go of the fear based comparisons and concentrate on the growth in healthy environments. Please check out some of the books we have listed on our site and begin with you.

        Enjoy the journey and we hope to hear from you again.

        Jessica LaPlante
        aka Logan’s Mom

        1. Christine M

          Thank you for the reply! I did join the Facebook page and noticed you had added a few things today. I can’t wait to see what awaits us.


  2. Dennis Bagby

    Logan, Im a grown man of 50 years and I just watched your video. I have to admit I wasnt sure Id watch the whole thing, but when you started talking I couldnt stop watching. I thought you were fantastic.I wish that all teachers would take the 11 mins out of their class time and show this video to all of their children. You are wise above your age. I wish you the very best in life, wherever your life may take you and I hope someday ill figure out what I wanna be when I grow up, but until then im ok { too } with just bein happy.God bless you Logan.

  3. Connie

    Hi Logan,

    I just saw a video of you on http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/01/07/this-is-what-happens-when-a-kid-leaves-traditional-education/

    I’ve been a preschool teacher for 13 years now here in Bangkok. I have a five year old daughter studying at my school.

    She will soon finish K2 and I have yet to decide which school to send her. Years ago, before I even saw your video and other home schooling speeches, my husband and I have been wishing we could home school our child but we work full time so I don’t know :(

    You are right. There are tons of reasons not to follow traditional schooling but with our situation… it is very hard to do so. We just have to be careful with what sort of curriculum we’ll put our child into and give her more choices of extra activities according to her interests… and spend a lot of time with her before and after school hours.

    You are blessed having parents who can really support your home schooling. You are an inspiration… and so as your parents. Thanks & God bless.

    1. Jessica LaPlante

      Connie, you don’t have to homeschool to Hackschool. What you need to do is to create different experiences with your daughter, supplement her schooling with activities she enjoys whether it’s painting, dancing, martial arts, hiking, origami, etc. It’s about finding her interests and growing those experiences. There is so much history, art, math, technology in everything around you. Look for them and pull down the walls of “subject-based” curriculum. Combine them, experience them, enjoy them!

      We have a facebook\hackschooling site that we check more frequently if you would like to reach out again to either Logan or myself. Enjoy your beautiful journey with your daughter!

      – a.k.a. Logan’s mom -

  4. Larry Killens

    Good morning Laplante family,

    I am a retired police officer in Ontario, Canada. I currently am an elected school Trustee for the area I live in. I had the opportunity to view Logan’s video on “U Tube” about highjacking school.

    I have taken the liberty to share with education stakeholders including home schooling parents in my jurisdiction as an exemplary testimony to our youth of today. American or Canadian we can all take pride in Logan’s mature outlook on life and stepping up to the plate and telling the world.

    Well Done,

    kindest regards,

    Larry Killens

    1. Jessica LaPlante

      Thank you Larry for your kind words. Truthfully Logan didn’t realize he would be speaking to people around the world. He knew there would be maybe 100 people in the audience and was hoping to get 1000 views so that he could collect on his brownies and ice cream bet he made with his dad and I. He gave a great talk and we are very proud of him, but the reality is that he is just your average teenager. What we hope more people begin to realize is that these “kids” are really smart and we should all get better at listening to what they have to say.

      If you would like to reach out again or follow Logan’s journey you can keep in touch on our facebook\hackschooling site. We check those messages much more frequently.

      Thank you again for your kind words.


  5. Sofi Alcock

    Hi Logan,

    My name is Sofi, I’m ten and I live in Spain. I have been learning at home since last year when I was 9. I really loved your talk, especially when you talked about health, happiness, creativity and nature. These are all very important to me, too. Now I know what I want to be when I grow up: happy, healthy and creative, and I want to live in nature. I live surrounded by nature now, in a place with a lot of plants and animals. I would love to spend one day a week outside but I live in the North of Spain where it rains a lot! I’d like to meet you some day. If you write to me at my dad’s email I will write back.



    PS. Hi, I’m Sofi’s dad Robert. I was really impressed with the talk, some good original thinking there. I like the “hacking” idea — it describes quite well my own playful approach to life, try things out, if it works for you, scale it up, if not, try something else! We are building an ecological education centre, with the building process integrated with the learning process — volunteers come to exchange work for experience — check out our website!

    1. Sofi Alcock

      That’s http://www.abrazohouse.org in case it didn’t show up the first time!

    2. The building mindset.

      I love the idea of incorporating teaching into the project. Quite a few years ago I was given a bunch of Somali Refugees, high school drop outs and young adults with interests in management in hotel resorts, island and spa resorts: We built a hypothetical ski and marina resort in Tahoe starting from the ground up with town planning issues (soil tests, eco tests, sewers etc), roads, land contracts, leases, permits, construction contracts etc until our hypothetical resort was ready to ‘open the doors’. Because their focus was on something that interested them, they absorbed stuff which would normally go in one ear and out the other. Jessica is spot on about learning as a mindset.

    3. Logan LaPlante

      Hi Sofi (and Sofi’s dad).Sorry for the late reply… I am really glad you liked my talk! I would also love to spend some time in spain. I have heard it is awesome there. Actually some of my really good friends that I have “hackschooled” with for several years are moving to spain for a whole year! I hope we can meet soon!

  6. Suzan Haynesworth

    Hi Jessica,

    How were you able to crack the code to discover your children’s learning potential? This type of learning make sense to me, however I would not know where to begin. Can you help me?

    1. Jessica LaPlante

      Suzan, you begin by just beginning. Try new things, read new books, do something you have never done before. I started with Logan by “supplementing” his public school education with improvisation classes, jiu jitsu, young chautauqua, etc. Eventually our “supplementing” took over as his everyday. We never stop learning. We journal and read on backpacking trips, we write stories on long rides in the car, we make most of our Christmas gifts for family and friends . . . it’s all learning and you will quickly pick up on what your child is and is NOT interested in. Feel free to keep in touch with our family on our facebook\hackschooling site. We check those messages more often.


  7. Tony

    Hey Jessica

    Ive gotta say, im digging the concept of Hackschooling. Im 31 and from the UK, yet ive still adopted the hack mentality as i dont think its just limited to kids.
    I think kids have the option of school or home school, and for us adults its simply work for someone or work for yourself.
    I watched Sir Kens and your sons speech at Ted and the only thing i kept thinking was…”i wish i saw this when i was 12″…i then thought, what difference does it make if im 12 or 30, i can source ways of bettering myself through online tutorials and local london based design firms.
    Im now a self employed digital artist and ive not had to work in 6 months.
    Whether or not this ride will last forever, i dont know, but what i do know is your son puckering up the courage to speak at Ted actually put a lot of drive in me…….who would’ve thought it :)

    1. Jessica LaPlante

      Tony, so glad to hear you caught on to the bigger vision Logan was speaking about. Everyone is going to have to take their path into their own hands no matter what age and things are changing more quickly than ever before. Logan would enjoy seeing some of your designs since he spends alot of his spare time on creating cool logos and graphics. If you are interested in sharing or connecting with Logan feel free to touch base on our facebook\hackschooling site.

      Thanks for touching base and good luck with designing your own journey!


      1. Tony

        Thanks for responding Jessica.

        I didn’t realize Logan was into graphics design, if he ever needs some pointers in Photoshop i’d be happy to lend a hand, here’s my about me page http://about.me/Tony_Lavagna/#.

        Thanks again

  8. Bump this thread

    Any updates on kid ambassadors inputting into the building design? They live in Squaw too y’know.

  9. East Wind

    The kids will be living with the Village longer than us older folks. Someone needs get creative and who better than the young visionaries??

    1. Nurse Ratchet

      Hey don’t forget us old fogies! Atop KT22 they need a nursing home for ski ski out bedpan races :)

    2. Margie Simpson

      Bart’s school m’aam said “What about the children?” too. Where’s the Prep going in the community. What do the kids want in their village?

      I real US posted about employee housing and ‘Abracadaba, Poof” it appeared in the nop 5 months later.

      Let’s see some inclusive village planning!

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