In 2009 when the addition to the Farmhouse Building was completed and renamed The Library, GMVS made a bold statement about its commitment to the environment. The roughly 6,000-square-foot structure boasts a number of features that lessens its impact on the environment, and as a result, was awarded LEED Certification by the U.S. Green Building Council (USCBC). At the time of completion, the GMVS Library was 1 of only 16 buildings certified in the state of Vermont, and GMVS had the only LEED certified educational building.

Choosing to build green was in part about making environmentally sound decisions, but also a construction project used as a curriculum component for our students. The LEED process helped GMVS create a hands-on application for environmental concepts like carbon footprints, recycling, water-use reduction and energy efficiency. The building mobilized teachers to find ways to incorporate environmental education into their particular disciplines.

The entire GMVS community was invested in the process: Students, parents and staff all contributed to researching and making decisions that impacted green building choices, and all of our contractors were committed to honoring those choices and thinking creatively about any challenges we faced. Two alumni parents were critical to our success: In addition to Mac Rood P’06 who designed the building for us, John Stetson P‘07, of Engleberth Construction, worked tirelessly as a consultant for us throughout the process.

The building was designed by Mac Rood of Bast and Rood Architects, Hinesburg, to achieve LEED certification for energy use, lighting, water and material use as well as incorporating a variety of other sustainable strategies. LEED verifies environmental performance, occupant health and financial return. LEED was established for market leaders to design and construct buildings that protect and save precious resources while also making good economic sense.

LEED certification of the GMVS library was based on a number of green design and construction features that positively impact the project itself and the broader community. These features included:

  • Commitment to maintaining vegetated open space equivalent to nearly half the project’s site area
  • Water use reduction through the inclusion of water-efficient bathroom fixtures
  • Commitment to using renewable energy
  • Reuse of 95 percent of the existing building structure within the renovation and new construction, made possible by careful demolition and exhaustive recycling efforts from contractors
  • Commitment to Indoor Environmental Quality

For GMVS, this meant a host of innovations.

  • Bathrooms boast toilets with two flush options to reduce water consumption, especially important for a school that depends on wells for its water supply.
  • Lights using high-efficiency bulbs operate on sensors and huge windows overlooking athletic fields take advantage of daylight, cutting down further on electricity consumption.
  • A wraparound porch features decking made of recycled material; a durable fiber cement siding is used on the exterior of the new building.
  • Maple harvested from property owned by former GMVS headmaster Dave Gavett was used in study carrels, window moldings, and other places.
  • The maple was milled on-site which reduced trucking and made use of wood that otherwise might not be considered viable for construction.
  • Low VOC paints and materials cut down on the noxious fumes visitors breathe.
  • A high-efficiency propane boiler provides heat and is controlled through a software program that allows careful monitoring of temperature throughout the building. Spray foam insulation reduces heat loss.
  • Carbon dioxide monitors and an air circulation system keep indoor air quality high.
  • Outside, native plants and stone walkways, were used for landscaping, instead of asphalt.

The building, which was officially dedicated by Governor Jim Douglas in May 2007 remains the cornerstone of the GMVs academic program with classrooms, offices and study areas.


Originally drafted on the back of a napkin in the early 80’s, the GMVS logo was developed by Dave Schneider, father of three GMVS alumni (Dave ’82, Drew ’85, and Todd ’86). In the early 80’s Dave coached in the Sugarbush/GMVS Ski Club and is responsible for some of the best talent to come through GMVS during that time, including U.S. Ski Team members Todd Schneider ’86, Anouk Patty ’86, Polly Reiss ’87 and Sally Knight ’87. Dave played an integral role in the early development of the school, was a long-time member of the Board of Trustees and former Chair of the Board. Since Dave’s original drawing, the GMVS logo has been minimally modernized and remains relatively unchanged.


In the late 1980s, the GMVS girls’ soccer team was making a run at the state championship title. After one game, a reporter asked the team what their mascot was. They looked at one another – they didn’t have an official mascot – and in a moment of creativity, one girl spoke up. “Well, we’re flexible, we’re agile, we’re fun…” The description made her think of a certain green television character. “I guess we’re the Gumbies.” The name stuck.



Many athletes arrive at GMVS with dreams of standing atop the podium among the best in the world who represent their countries at the Olympics. Since our founding, 26 GMVS athletes have accomplished that feat. Representing 7 different countries including Australia, Canada, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Hungary, Lebanon, and the United States, GMVS students and alumni have participated in 17 Olympic games. Beyond Alpine and Nordic skiing, they have represented their countries in six additional events including Biathlon, Bobsled, Alpine Deaflympics, Alpine Paralympics, Kayaking, and Ski-Cross demonstrating the true athleticism of a GMVS athlete.


It was in 1981 when Jim Fredericks was hired to provide an elite-level program to cross-country ski athletes, just as GMVS did for Alpine athletes. “It was the year World Cup skiers were just starting to skate ski in classic races,” notes Jim. He goes on to tell a story about a turning point in his career while coaching at GMVS, which led to remarkable success: “I took the GMVS team to the Craftsbury Opener and I asked a UVM Norwegian skier and NCAA champion what he was using for kick wax. He told me he wasn’t using kick wax even…Pal ended up winning the race easily. On the way home I told my skiers we were only going to practice skate skiing until we nailed the technique. We did just that and began winning almost every race we entered that season. Back then there weren’t any specific skate races so the people who learned how to skate well would have a huge advantage.”

During his time at GMVS, Jim incorporated cross-country running and cycling into the regular training regime, and trained over twenty Junior Olympic Team athletes, including two National Champions, while also placing skiers on the U.S. Ski Team in 1984 and 1985. In the summer months many college, national, and Olympic team athletes trained under Jim on the GMVS campus. 

In the spring of 1985, Jim was injured in an auto accident and the following fall Muffy Ritz, a former member of the U.S. Ski Team from Minneapolis, MN, was named the new Nordic Program Director – a position she served from 1985 to 1989. When she took over the program, skating was still in its infancy and she had just won the Birkebeiner, the largest and one of the longest cross-country races in the country (54km from Cable to Hayward, WI). It was a first for her and the first time the race was won by a skater, not a classic skier. That fall at GMVS, the team trained with roller blades thinking they would be better than roller skis, which were at the time, classic. As it turned out, roller blades were much easier and less effective than roller skis. “I actually think we deconditioned with those rollerblades,” reflects Muffy, “but boy, were they fun and they had brakes!”

During her time coaching at GMVS, Muffy continued to compete at a high level. She was instrumental in developing Junior Olympic, Junior World Championship and Olympic athletes, and brought a spark to the school that extended beyond the cross-country program. In the late 80s, under the leadership of GMVS Alpine Director Werner Margreiter, GMVS Alpine athletes would train once a week with the cross-country skiers and Muffy would lead an 8-mile run through the Camel’s Hump forest. The addition of the Nordic program added a flavor of grit, endurance, and adventure to the GMVS campus that still stands today.

THE HOWL – FACT 15 of 50

Over the years, the creative GMVS community has developed many traditions. One well-known tradition familiar to alumni in the 70s and 80s is The Howl. Originated by Ashley Cadwell, one of the school’s founders and GMVS Headmaster from 1978 to 1984, The Howl is brought out during special occasions. “[Ashley] would start it kinda low and mellow and then we would all start to join in and it would grow and grow in energy and volume until it was craziness. It would go for about 30 seconds. We all just felt better after!” remembers Doug Lewis ‘82. 

Ashley Cadwell recalls that “The dubious inspiration came from a desire to encapsulate in a graduation speech what it takes to be a ski racer/open minded/whole person…to theatrically portray the uninhibited joy of expressing yourself among friends, in community. It could have been that somewhere in my Humanities course that we read Allen Ginsberg’s ‘Howl’. I suspect, though, a more likely source was Ken Kesey or Gary Snyder. I always love instigating The Howl, as much for the aghast looks of the inhibited as for the unabashed full throated exhalations of the uninhibited (in the latter group I could always recognize the best racers, actors, creative thinkers, of which in the Mad Acad/GMVS crew there were many). When I instigated it at graduation I knew all you kiddos knew what was up…the parents and friends were invited into the inner sanctum…if they joined in.”

“My first memory of The Howl is when we lost Heidi Burk [in 1984],”shares Sally Utter ‘87. “I remember we had an all school community meeting trying to process our grief, and Ash was talking us through life’s terrible moments, and somehow in the healing process we were all howling at the moon. From then on, the group Howl was brought out when we needed collective solace, or everyone needed to simply take a deep breath from the stress of school/skiing or life in general.” 

Founder Jane Hobart remembers fondly the spirit of the act. She says, “Ashley loved doing it and always had a mischievous look in his eye when he had a chance to instigate a Howl. It became representative of Ash’s joyous connection to the kids.”

Will Ashley bring out The Howl during the 50th celebration in June? There’s only one way to find out – we hope to see you there! 



Located just seven minutes from the GMVS campus, Inverness and Brambles have been home to GMVS training since 1979. With bottom to top access via a quad chair and varied rolling terrain, the Inverness trail has always offered the perfect canvas for young athletes taking their first turns in a course to those on National teams training for an upcoming World Cup race.

Since the early 70’s, the Inverness trail has been transformed into the Kelly Brush Race Arena – a showcase for ski racing safety that was established in 2012 in honor of Kelly Brush ‘04 who sustained a spinal cord injury while racing for Middlebury College. It was at that time GMVS doubled down on its commitment to venue safety, installed 150+ rolls of safety b-net, widened the neighboring Brambles trail and installed a new T-bar on the skier’s right lower section of Inverness. 

Establishing the KBRA in 2012 was just the beginning of a larger effort to improve and expand the training and race venue GMVS. For years GMVS dreamt of more varied and challenging terrain, more training lanes, more consistent training surfaces and an ability to host higher level and championship races. In 2018, a generous grant from the Killington World Cup committee set the stage for a more comprehensive KBRA improvement project and GMVS set forth to continue transforming the Arena into a world-class training and race venue.

In November 2019, ‘The Connector” was completed between Inverness and Brambles, transforming the KBRA into one of the most unique, flexible and challenging race venues in the east. It simultaneously doubled the training space and enabled GMVS to host races while also facilitating meaningful training. 

In the fall of 2019, GMVS received approval from the State of Vermont to begin construction of a new, full-length T-bar on Inverness to replace the 62-year old Poma. T-bar construction began in the spring of 2020 and the new lift took its first riders up in the winter of 2021. With a speed of 700 feet-per-minute and a total ride time of five-and-a-half minutes, the new T-bar enabled GMVS to increase overall uphill capacity and training volume on full-length giant slalom and super-G courses. In addition, the newly-added mid-station feature allows coaches and racers greater flexibility and the ability to use the KBRA’s expansive space and terrain in innovative and creative ways. At full operation, the KBRA can now accommodate 4 GS training courses at once or up to 5 training lanes including a full length SG.

Alpine Program Director Steve Utter notes, “There is simply no better alpine training venue than Inverness and Brambles, especially as an environment for a constraints-led approach to learning ski skills. In addition, the speed of the new T-bar provides our athletes all the gate training volume they need while freeing time to focus on other athletic priorities.”

Today, Inverness and Brambles are two of the most highly coveted trails on Mt. Ellen, and are almost always closed to the general public and used almost exclusively for GMVS training or racing. Private lift access to two dedicated U.S. Ski & Snowboard and FIS homologated training trails (Inverness and Brambles) provides athletes with innumerable training permutations — from full length GS to slalom drill courses on either steeps or flats. With its challenging terrain and extensive snowmaking capacity, KBRA often hosts U.S. Ski & Snowboard regional projects and several top NCAA collegiate teams.


Did you know that the “Berg und Thal” (translates to “Mountain and Valley” in German) originated at GMVS? 

When Doug Lewis ‘82 arrived on campus in 1978, the Berg und Thal was already in use as a way to work on power, strength, agility and capacity. It was a great way to ignite competition to see who was the fastest! 

At some point in the 90s, GMVS did away with the Berg und Thal. Doug was on campus for ELITEAM when he found it in the dumpster. He rescued it and has used it at ELITEAM ever since. He loves the Berg und Thal so much, he even built a second one ten years ago. As far as he knows, these are the only two such pieces of equipment in existence.

Every ELITEAMer since 1991 (including US Ski Teamers Mikaela Shiffrin, Alice Merryweather, Lauren Macuga, Grace Henderson and Jimmy Krupka) have tested themselves on it and the fastest time for twice around is 9.32 seconds!


In the late 70’s and early 80’s physical testing had no technology to rely on. It was basic measurements of raw strength and endurance – exercises like sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, lateral jumps, timed held tucks and the infamous 2-mile run. Athletes trained all summer with these tests in mind and the competition was fierce. Former coach Kirk Dwyer oversaw testing and he (and most of the coaches) were as fit, or more fit than any of the kids with whom they tested. 

The run was brutal. The standard for boys was 12 minutes and it became even harder when Kirk moved it from the flats to an almost pure uphill on Number 9 road to the Putnam’s house. Over the years, the run was completed on a two-mile stretch on North Road in Moretown and a 1.5 mile on the Harwood track. Some were given the option to sprint the App Gap. 

Sit-up and pull-up numbers were a total point of pride, but it could get out of hand. Once kids started going into the multiple hundreds of situps, Kirk would remind folks that the standard was measured by how many you can do in one minute.  But, pull-ups were a daily test, as most evenings the kids converged on the pull-up bar in Kirk’s apartment in Poundcake seeking to best the previous day’s tally. 

In the early days, Kevin “Kaz” Zanella ‘79 was the King of the Tuck Test. In the words of Jamie Preston ‘80, “We all started in our tucks and held them until you ‘timed out’ – the standard was around three minutes, but many went well beyond that. Kaz’s strength was unlike any other.  He would hold his tuck until the rest of the school had dropped out, he would then smile, stand up and walk away as if nothing had happened.” 

Despite the competition, the community support was incredible. One year we did a timed hike/run up Mount Ellen. Mark “Spider” King was our aerobic machine and easily won the day, but he (and each successive finisher) yelled encouragement at the top of their lungs until the later finishers were met with a Gauntlet of athletes, willing them faster to the top. First or last, the community embraced you if you worked hard – no pressure plates or beep tests needed!

Today’s athletes participate in a similar, yet standardized, series of physical tests drafted by U.S. Ski and Snowboard titled SkillsQuest, and while the tests have evolved over the years, the same all-out effort to dig deep and leave nothing behind while supporting those around you remains the same.


GMVS is known as a premier ski academy in the East, with some student-athletes arriving eager to participate in the fall soccer program and others who step on the field for the first time to be a part of the team. As we wrap up the 2022 fall soccer season and our athletes prepare for ski camps out West, we find ourselves reminiscing about teams of the past. 

Since 1973, GMVS has fielded a boys’ team and a few years later, a girls’ team was also formed. While soccer isn’t the primary reason student-athletes choose GMVS, it is one of the offerings that brings together a community of mixed-age athletes in the pursuit of one common goal – to win. Over the years, both boys and girls have fielded incredibly powerful teams and each has even gone on to win division state championship titles.

In 1987, under the leadership of coach Jared Cadwell, the GMVS girls’ team won its first Division III State Championship 2-1 over Hazen. In the words of Jared Cadwell the year the girls won the title, “What a great season it was for this wild and crazy crew! The GMVS women came back with a vengeance from a season spent on the sidelines. The women’s regular season record was 6-2-1 with additional wins over Black River (semifinals), and Hazen (finals) in the playoffs.” Jared continues with highlights from the season and final thoughts on the Championship win, “What I’m left with though is the memory of that inexpressible joy that I felt as the seconds ticked away at Archie Post Field on that day in October. We did it sistahs!!”

The girls have since gone on to win the Division VI State Championship in 1992 under the leadership of coach Sarah Despres who continues to lead our girls’ team to date.

It was only four years after the girls’ first championship win that the boys’ team won their first Division IV State Championship under the leadership of coach Jamie Hutchins in 1991. 

In 1998 the boys landed another state championship title against Mill River under the leadership of coach Deejae Johnson. Newspaper headlines captured the excitement; “GMVS works overtime, downs Mill River” and “Minutemen Falls Short Against GMVS in Final.” 

Championship wins are not an annual occurrence, but our teams have proven that it’s possible. Some GMVS athletes have gone on to play in college, others have stepped in as coaches, and many carry fond memories of time on the pitch with teammates.