As the temperatures drop in late October, GMVS athletes are busy prepping skis, gathering school assignments and packing for the month ahead of training in Colorado and beyond. The flurry of activity is an annual occurrence as our student-athletes shift their focus from daily workouts in the weight room, quickness and agility drills on the upper field, and bounding up Bragg Hill, to prepping for the race season ahead. 

Concurrent to this shift inside and away from campus, the sideboards to the hockey rink are dusted off, hauled out of storage, placed on the lower field and constructed into an ice rink over a matter of days. When the weather is just right the local Waitsfield Fire Department fills the rink and then everyone patiently waits for the pool of water to freeze with hopes that it’ll be ready for skating when everyone returns from November camp.

While there were early efforts to construct an ice rink with and without sideboards, like when Willi Cannell ‘05, Vince Scalia ‘06, Drew Bonner ‘06, Charlie Powell ‘05, and David Iverson made a Zamboni out of 2x4s and pvc tubes in 2005, it wasn’t until the annual Gala in 2018 when families, alumni, and friends of GMVS raised their paddles in support of donating to enhance the student experience on campus. This fundraising effort was just the catalyst needed to invest in ice rink boards and commit to putting up the rink for the winter months year after year. 

Lit up at night and accessorized with a smattering of hockey sticks, skates, and helmets, the rink is a place for kids to go during the day, at night, and on the weekend, alone or with friends fired up for a friendly competition. Thanks to the leadership of GMVS U14 coach and hockey fanatic Adam Julius, once the rink goes up the entire community chips in to maintain the ice and ensure everyone has fun; helmets required!

Frequently found on the ice is GMVS student Callum Smith ‘24. According to him, “The ice rink is a place to go when you want to release some steam and it’s even a lot of fun when you are shoveling off the snow. It brings together the Alpine and Nordic athletes and gives us another activity to do.”

GMVS alumni are known to share their memories of the rink too, even from the days before the new rink boards. In the Spring 2021 Alumni Newsletter, Charlie Powell ’05 shared, “The hockey rink has always been a great spot for kids and staff to gather together. Even though it’s under a big clock in the Doug Parker Center, the rink is a place where time seems to shift after hours, and there are hours of skating until exhaustion. The collaborative work to install and maintain it during the winter will forever make it one of the magical features of our campus.”

Today kids and staff come together to play organized hockey tournaments, competitive games of broomball, slapping around a puck or two, and evening playing around with staff kids who are just learning to skate. It brings kids together, during some of the darkest and coldest months for some of the greatest highlights of the year.