GMVS Graduate AJ Ginnis Wins First-Ever World Medal for Greece in Any Winter Sport
AJ Ginnis, a Greek-American who moved to Vermont at the age of 15, placed second in the World Championship slalom event in Courchevel, France. Ginnis came to Vermont to attend Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS), a ski academy located in the heart of the Mad River Valley, to pursue his dreams of becoming an elite ski racer. It was in the World Championship event when he proved to the world, and perhaps to himself, that he is one of the World’s fastest ski racers.
Ginnis’ path to success has never been linear nor has it been all podium glory. After graduating from GMVS in 2011, Ginnis attended Dartmouth College and was a seven-year member of the U.S. Ski team. He represented Team USA at the World Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 2017, though battled injuries and was eventually cut when the American men’s slalom squad was cut in 2018.
Being cut from the U.S. Team provided an opportunity for a new approach. Greece picked him up and he brought with him former GMVS classmate, teammate and friend, Sandy Vietze. Sandy grew up racing at Mad River Glen and also attended Green Mountain Valley School for the inaugural 7th grade program. After graduating from GMVS in 2011, he continued to pursue his passion, traveling the world with the U.S. Ski Team, then racing for The University of Vermont, and the Redneck Racing Team. In 2021 Sandy and AJ navigated the challenging race season together, and developed a new coach-athlete relationship that laid a strong foundation for his success to date.
Last year during early season training Ginnis was sidelined by injury after tearing his ACL. While recovering from surgery, Ginnis focused on gaining back his strength and finishing off his degree at Dartmouth, while Vietze assisted the University of Vermont ski team. While it wasn’t the year Ginnis or Vietze were planning for, it is part of the journey that led to his silver medal.