Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) wrapped up a successful school year of academic and athletic excellence. The end of the year finished off with final exams, both girls’ and boys’ lacrosse playoffs, an all-school prom at the Mad River Barn, and a celebratory senior dinner on campus. As usual for a typical year, the week culminated with a commencement ceremony for the Class of 2022 on Saturday, June 4th.

In keeping with GMVS tradition, the graduation ceremony focused on our graduates, each of whom shared heartfelt thoughts and memories about their time at GMVS. The graduates’ short speeches were inspiring, and touching, and included emotional tributes to their teachers, coaches, and fellow classmates. Although they were saying goodbye to this chapter, they are prepared for continuing to live the mission of GMVS which instills the development of a whole person with a life-long love of learning, sport, and adventure.

The graduation ceremony also featured the awarding of the Governor Phil Hoff Vermont Honor Scholarship and the recognition of the school’s valedictorian. The Governor Phil Hoff Vermont Honor Scholarship is awarded annually and goes to a Vermont resident who has participated in community service as well as other extracurricular activities and has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement. This year, the award went to Alex Chudzik of Stowe, VT. The school also recognized a valedictorian for the highest GPA in the graduating class. Megan Ryan of Duxbury, MA earned the school’s highest academic honor.

The 16 seniors entered the commencement ceremony driving a mix of motorized vehicles, a perfect reflection of their adventurous spirit. Most of the graduates will continue on to various colleges and universities throughout the United States. A handful will remain at GMVS to participate in post-graduate studies and continue to pursue their ski racing goals. Commencement is always bittersweet, and we are proud to send these focused young adults off into the world to do great things. As new alumni, they always have a home at GMVS.

 

Congratulations to the GMVS Class of 2022!

Alexander Nelson Chudzik, Davidson College

Victoria Knight Clancy, Postgraduate

Parker Clare Crawford, Postgraduate at Aspen, Colby College

Walker Thomas Henyon, Postgraduate at GMVS

Hazel Howard, Postgraduate

Phoebe Anna Hussey, Postgraduate

Silas Chittenden Jackson, St. Lawrence University

Jackson Bruno Musial, Colby-Sawyer College

Lucas Palcsik, Postgraduate at GMVS

Oscar VØgg Preisler, Postgraduate at GMVS

Mary Virginia Queally, Hamilton College

Dillon Macmillan Rowles, Montana State University

Megan Brigid Ryan, Georgetown University

Cole Winchester Sachs, Colgate University

Ian Christopher Seelert, Hamilton College

Maxine Adrienne Van Strien-Tuttle, Postgraduate in Maine

Congratulations to the newly named All-Americans Ellie Curtis ’17, and Hannah Utter ’17 of the Dartmouth Ski Team.

After a full season of collegiate racing across the country, the fastest athletes competed at the NCAA Championships in Park City and Soldier Hollow, Utah in early March. There were 74 men and 74 women selected to participate and among those selected were the following GMVS alumni:

Women’s Alpine
Hannah Utter ’17, Dartmouth College
Ellie Curtis ’17, Dartmouth College
Sofia Yubero PG ’19, Middlebury College
Mika-Anne Reha ’20, Middlebury College
Carly Elsinger ’21, Dartmouth College – alternate
Samantha McClellan ’18, Middlebury College – alternate
Alexandra Cossette ’18, Middlebury College – alternate

Men’s Alpine
Declan McCormack ’17, University of Vermont
David Frisk ’15, University of Vermont – alternate
Mackenzie Wood ’20, PG ’21, University of Vermont – alternate
Cole Palchak PG ’20, ’21, University of Vermont – alternate

Women’s Nordic
Rena Schwartz ’18, Dartmouth College
Emma Strack PG ’21, St. Lawrence University

Men’s Nordic
Elliot Ketchel ’17, Bowdoin College
Gregory Burt ’18, University of Vermont – alternate
Joshua Valentine ’19 – Middlebury College, alternate
Aidan Burt ’21, University of Vermont – alternate
Brian Bushey ’21, University of Utah – alternate

The championship event was hosted by the University of Utah, March 9-12 at Park City Mountain Resort & Soldier Hollow in Park City, UT. For more information on the events, click HERE

On the heels of the 2022 Beijing Olympic events, the 2022 FIS Junior/U23 World Ski Championships kicked off on Tuesday, February 22, 2022. The week-long event was originally scheduled to take place in Zakopane, Poland, but due to construction work near the skiing venue, the cross-country skiing events were moved to Lygna, Norway. The championships included U20 competitions in cross country skiing, ski jumping and Nordic combined, and in cross country skiing, a separate U23 Junior category.

Among the athletes competing were not one, but two GMVS alumni: Rena Schwartz ’18) and Brian Bushey (’21). Rena, a Vermont native, graduated in 2018 and attends Dartmouth College. As a member of the Dartmouth Ski Team, she frequents the Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association (EISA) carnivals and was recently named to the Women’s Second All-East Team. Rena competed in the U23 Women’s 10km Individual Start Classic, and the U23 Women’s Freestyle Sprint.

Brian, also hailing from Vermont, is in his first year at the University of Utah and is a member of the ski team. Competing in the World Junior Championships adds to Brian’s list of international competitions, which includes the 2020 Youth Olympics in Lausanne, Switzerland, and The Scandinavian Cup in Falun, Sweden. In Lygna, Brian competed in three events, including the 4×5 km men’s relay where he joined Michael Earnhardt, Walker Hall and Will Koch to a 3rd place finish! Congratulations Brian, Michael, Walker and Will!

For event photos and more, click HERE.

Photo: flyingpointroad.com

Whiteface Mountain was host to the USCSA Nationals March 7-12, with 26 teams and 278 alpine racers competing from across the country. USCSA has become very competitive over the past few years, hosting many racers with NCAA-level FIS profiles. Congratulations to the following GMVS alumni who attended Nationals, many of whom placed in the top 15!

WOMEN:
Maggie Beardsley ’18 – Brown University, 7th GS, 3rd Individual Panel SL, All American Honors
Hanna Petro ’18 – Colgate University, 14th Overall All American Honors
Lindsey Crowell ’18 – Hobart William Smith, 15th Overall All-American Honors
Allie Davis ’18 – Colgate University
Audrey Lafrance ’21 – Colgate University
Hannah Gray ’19 – Northeastern University

MEN:
Ryan Beardsley ’20 – Babson College,12th SL All-American Honors
Zach Roman ’18 – Babson College, 7th GSA ll-American Honors
Victor Wiacek ’16 – Babson College, 10th GS, 14th SL, 7th Overall All American Honors
Gavin Wirth ’20 – University of Wisconsin-Madison

Results and additional photos can be found at uscsa.org.

Congratulations to Thomas Walsh ’13 who won Team USA’s first Para-Alpine medal at the 2022 Winter Games. Walsh skied to silver, earning his first career Paralympic medal, after placing fourth three days earlier in the Super Combined.

The 2022 Paralympics Games were held in Beijing, March 4-13. Among the athletes selected to represent Team USA was GMVS alum Thomas Walsh ’13 from Vail, Colorado. Walsh was an avid athlete and ski racer growing up but was sidelined when he was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma in May 2009. He had his final cancer treatment in 2010 and returned to ski racing at GMVS. Upon graduation, he attended Savannah College of Art and Design to study performing arts. Thomas returned to ski racing after one year of college, and the following year he was invited to be on the U.S. Paralympics Alpine Skiing National Team.

We are incredibly proud of Thomas’ accomplishments and we are excited to follow his journey in Beijing. For more on Thomas and his Paralympic experience, click HERE.

Congratulations are in order for GMVS alumna Ali Nullmeyer ’16 who competed in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

Ali, a 23 year-old Middlebury College student, manages the rigors of training and racing throughout the world while also balancing college academics. Throughout the 2021-22 season, she was racing among the world’s best when she finished fifth in a World Cup slalom in Zagreb; her first-ever top 10 finish on the World Cup circuit. Five days later, she landed a sixth-place finish in the slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia.

In Ali’s words, “This season was a whirlwind of emotions. After getting off to a rocky start, I took some time to train at Sugarbush with help from former GMVS staff members Dave and Traudl Gavett. The training at Sugarbush was awesome and spending this time in this environment helped me rebuild and grow my confidence for the coming racing block. Once returning to Europe around Christmas, I had some of the best races of my career so far and officially qualified for my first ever Olympic games!”

Ali was one of 13 alpine skiers nominated by the Canadian Olympic Committee to compete in the Winter Games, and in her Olympic debut, she secured a solid 21st place finish in the women’s slalom. Ali describes the intense Olympic experience: “Leading up to the Olympics was nerve-wracking, not only due to the size of the event but also due to the strict Covid protocols. Once we finally made it to Beijing and began training, it took time to get used to the snow, which felt different from the conditions we normally see in Europe and North America. The experience as a whole was incredible, and I am grateful for those who contributed to helping me get there.”

Congratulations on an outstanding season, Ali. We can’t wait to see where you go from here!

[November 2021]. Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS), a premier ski academy located in Waitsfield, VT, is thrilled to announce its partnership with the Apex2100 International Ski Academy (Apex).  

It’s a natural partnership, born from a commitment to supporting student-athletes on the hill, in the classroom, and everywhere in between. Kicking off with an early season on-snow camp in Tignes, France, GMVS and Apex are working together to provide athletes with an exceptional experience.

For GMVS, November is a time when athletes eagerly wait for the mercury to drop, snow to fly, and ski areas to open. In previous years, GMVS alpine athletes and coaches have traveled to the Colorado Rockies in search of early-season training. And, while the U16s, U19s, and PGs have headed west again this year, the budding partnership with Apex presented an opportunity that was too good for GMVS U14s to pass up.

“The glacier in Tignes is an excellent environment for working on early season fundamentals in and out of the course, and the entire experience traveling abroad helps athletes grow exponentially,” notes JP Daigneault, GMVS Head U14 Coach. “Most U14 athletes have traveled domestically, but international travel is often a new and exciting experience for athletes of this age. Student-athletes are provided an opportunity to learn how to manage the mental and physical stress that comes with international travel and living in a different country. This type of experience helps athletes learn how to manage stress in new environments, leading to higher quality training on future projects, and better performances on race day.”

Chris Thomson, CEO of Apex added, “As an international academy with a global outlook, we value the opportunity to explore the different perspectives and cultures that this partnership provides”

Over the 10 day period, GMVS athletes and coaches will work collaboratively with the Apex team, led by Alpine Performance Director Sasha Rearick. A former GMVS Head Boys’ coach and U.S. Ski Team coach, Rearick is known for his creative and thoughtful constraint-based training, leading to positive outcomes. “I can’t think of a better way for our U14 athletes to get a jump start on their season,” notes Steve Utter, GMVS Alpine Program Director.

Sasha Rearick said, “Our sport is brutally hard, logistically challenging and expensive, but it’s also immensely fun and rewarding. Clubs, NGB’s and regional teams working together to support each other will climb higher than others trying to do it all alone. We are proud to work together with GMVS as we share this journey of challenges and fun. I am personally really looking forward to the learning environment we are creating together for our athletes and staff.”

Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) is thrilled to share that two more GMVS athletes have been named to national ski teams. Congratulations to Dingyue (Ellen) Zhang (‘23) who has joined the Chinese National Team, and Oscar Preisler (‘22) who has recently been named to the Danish National Alpine Team. These two athletes join Tomás Barata (‘21) and Conrad Sastre (‘21) who were named to the Spanish National Team earlier this spring.
Ellen, hailing from Beijing, China, found a love for skiing at the Wanlong ski resort, just a few hours outside of the expansive city. She was a member of the Vikings Sports Club, and attended Burke Mountain Academy prior to coming to Green Mountain Valley School in August 2019, and has been welcomed as the youngest member training with the Chinese National Team.
“Ellen is a committed and hard-working athlete,” notes Steve Utter, Alpine Program Director and U16 Girls Head Coach. “There is a fluidity in her GS skiing that is fun to watch. She’s come very far in the past few years. Her progress is impressive.”
Oscar, originally from Copenhagen, Denmark, moved to the United States with his family when he was young. He and his family lived in Ramsey, New Jersey and would drive three and a half hours north to Stratton Mountain Resort to enjoy winter on the slopes. While the magic carpet entertained Oscar for hours, it was at Campgaw Mountain, just minutes from his home in New Jersey, where he spent many runs freeskiing and dialing in the fundamentals as he grew older.
Oscar’s interest in GMVS sparked when he became good friends with some GMVS student-athletes. He joined the GMVS community as an 11th grader, which corresponded with his first year racing FIS. While Oscar is humble when asked about his talent, he takes pride in his preparation, work ethic, and ability to perform on command. In Oscar’s words, “I’ve had an incredible time at GMVS. The environment at GMVS tells me one thing; complacency is the downfall of success; always strive to be better and better than those around you.”
Doug Williams, Head U19 Boys’ Coach notes, “Oscar has extremely high goals and has worked very hard to reach those goals. Through his hard work and in all facets of GMVS life, he is now ranked 10th in the world in his age group (2004) in GS and 17th in slalom. To accomplish these results this season is a great start to his journey with GMVS and the Danish Ski Team. We look forward to next season as he moves onto the next level of competition (Nor Ams, Division 1 College Racing).”
Congratulations Oscar, Ellen, Tomás and Conrad we are proud of your accomplishments!

Looking back, it is crazy to think that this is my 13th season racing at the FIS level. FIS racing started a year younger back then, and I was just a freshman in high school with no idea about the journey on which I was embarking. I came to GMVS as a junior in high school prior to my third year of FIS, but at the time it was a tough decision to commit to a full-year ski academy. At the time, I had been attending Waterville Valley Academy for three months per winter for three years and then returning home to play baseball in the spring and summer. I had very limited summer training and had spent just as much of my time focused on baseball, so I was very hesitant to give that up and focus fully on skiing. However, both sports require a lot of repetition and in order to take either sport to the next level, I decided that I needed to commit full-time. I chose skiing because I enjoyed the freedom, speed, and constant variation. While not knowing much about my school options, I knew that GMVS had a great group of skiers my age and a good academic program to support my chances for college.

I came to GMVS in the fall of 2010 at 17 years old and immediately did not know what I got myself into. I was out of my comfort zone with the two workouts per day, more intense academics than I expected, and my first trip outside of North America, but I knew that this was necessary for me to make a jump in my skiing. I trained alongside a fast group of skiers that season with coach Martin Guyer and I started to find more and more speed. Marty taught me mental skills and tactics that I had never before considered, and that led me to appreciate the process more and dig deeper into the sport. I ended the season with some solid races in GS and SG and upon returning to campus I was surprised to find out that I had qualified for the US Ski Team Development team. I didn’t even know what the criteria were or have this as a goal through the season, but at 17 years old I was very excited to take this next step in my ski career. I ended up playing four baseball games for Montpelier High School that spring but then had to leave for my first USST camp in Mt. Bachelor, thus completing the transition to full-time ski racer. In hindsight, I probably was not quite ready to make the jump to the demands of the USST at 17 and after only six months of skiing at GMVS. 

After my first stint with the USST, I returned to GMVS for a postgraduate year training with athletes Sandy Vietze, Thomas Woolson, Danny Duffy, and Drew Duffy, and coach Luc Robillard. We all pushed each other hard and enjoyed a really fun season, which resulted in fast skiing and a majority of us qualifying for the USST. That year on the C Team I represented the US at World Juniors and had some solid race results, though it was not enough to keep my spot on the team. Thankfully I had been accepted to Dartmouth during my time at GMVS, so I enrolled that spring and got started on a college ski racing career. This was not a super easy transition as I had recently focused on speed while skiing some GS and virtually no slalom.

It took some time to get the technical skiing going again, but by my sophomore year I was skiing some pretty fast slalom and after shoulder surgery, my GS got back on track as well. My third stint on the USST, the National University Team, also contributed heavily to my training outside of the college season. My senior season culminated with an NCAA Championship in GS and a NorAm Cup GS Title, including a World Cup start spot. These results led to invitee status with the USST World Cup GS Team for the 2018-2019 season, where I had some early success, scoring World Cup points twice and earning a spot on the World Championship team. I realized the need for changes in my skiing to become more consistent at skiing’s highest level. These changes proved more difficult and time-consuming than I expected, and I struggled between training and racing mode all season. I never regained my race line or speed, leading to disappointing results and season-ending knee and collarbone injuries in February. 

This season, I reached out to a familiar contact, GMVS alum, former GMVS coach, and current Head Coach of Global Racing, Paul Epstein. He is running a great program with fast GS skiers, so it has been a great opportunity for me. It has been a tough season for me returning from injury, trying to regain my world ranking, and fighting COVID and the accompanying race complications. I have returned to my mindset from my days at GMVS of focusing on good skiing, an efficient line, and a level-headed race approach, first taught to me by Marty and Luc, and now reinforced by Paul. I am also living with my GMVS teammates AJ Ginnis and Sandy Vietze in Austria, remembering the teamwork that started our ski racing paths. It is crazy how many of my GMVS friends keep appearing during my ski racing journey, and it really does feel like a family for life. My skiing is finally getting fast again and I am appreciating my journey and all of the support I have gotten thus far. My development has come full circle with GMVS ties, and I look forward to using that experience to push my skiing even further at the highest level.

Cortina, Italy, in the heart of the Dolomites, hosted the Alpine World Championships over a two week period, February 8-21, gathering 600 athletes from 71 Nations to compete in 13 events. Among those athletes competing for a spot on the podium were FIVE GMVS alumni, representing 5 different countries:

Charlie Raposo (‘14), British Alpine Team
Ali Nullmeyer (‘16), Canadian National Team
AJ Ginnis (11), Greek National Team
Ben Ritchie (‘19), U.S. Ski Team
Cristian Riis (‘20), Danish National Team

This year’s FIS calendar is packed with races, in mountain towns around the world, but World Championships stand out from the rest. “It’s the biggest single race of the season and an event that every athlete looks forward to qualifying for and competing in,” notes AJ Ginnis.

Prior to World Championships, Ali Nullmeyer returned to the Mad River Valley to train in the Kelly Brush Race Arena, experience the NEW high-speed T-bar, and prepare for her biggest races of the season. In between sessions she even carved out time to connect with current GMVS athletes to talk about her experiences racing, returning from injury, and staying calm, cool, and collected even when in the spotlight on the world stage.

In Ali’s words, “It was a great experience to be at World Champs again! It’s always a fun event and you never know what can happen. I didn’t ski up to my expectations, but I was excited to be on a new race hill and gain more experience amongst the best in the world. Leading in to World Champs I came back to Vermont to train at GMVS, which was nice to get some turns in closer to home before heading back over to Europe. Looking ahead, I am excited to get in some more training before our next race in Jasna (Slovakia) to finish the season strong.”

Ben Ritchie, a Waitsfield, VT native, had a challenging season leading into World Championships with a series of disqualifications and DNFs, but it was only a matter of time before he put together two strong runs. Just at the right moment, the week leading into World Championships, in Meiringen Hasliberg, Switzerland at the European Cup Slalom, Ben put those pieces together and landed on top of the podium with gold. Seizing the moment, Ben carried the momentum from Switzerland to Italy and landed a career best 13th place finish in the men’s slalom.

“It felt great to get the opportunity to race at the World Championships” says Ben. “My goal going in was to try to ski my best and let the results take care of themselves. I try to get in the mindset like it’s any other race, to eliminate the nerves.”

With the success of World Champs under his belt, Ben is looking ahead to World Juniors in Bansko, Bulgaria March 3-10. Ben notes, “I am feeling confident going into the rest of the season, with World Junior’s coming up at the beginning of March.” We’ll be cheering for you, Ben!

Joining Ben in the Men’s World Championship slalom race was AJ Ginnis, a Greek National who experienced early season success, earning the title as the first Greek skier to earn World Cup points with a career best finish in Flachau, Austria.

AJ shared these thoughts about his experience: “Representing my country at World Champs was an honor. Going into the event my expectation and goal was to showcase my best skiing ability. My team and I crafted a solid ‘prep plan’ leading into Worlds which included training at challenging venues such as Niederthai, Austria and Toblach, Italy with other national teams. It’s always good training with other top level athletes in order to push yourself–[and] it’s especially fun when those athletes are some of your best friends. I was very fortunate in that sense to get in some training days with fellow GMVS alum Ben Ritchie; it’s always a blast being on the hill with him.”

AJ continues, “Ben and I usually spend some quality time together on race day, from inspection to warm ups to the start gate. We discuss the course and the conditions after inspection and in the start we usually start back to back which is awesome because although skiing is an extremely individualistic sport it’s nice to have your buddy next to you.”

As the slalom season is coming to a close for the World Cup athletes, they’re reflecting on the season. AJ notes, “Although I might not have had the greatest results on black and white this season, with the exception of an 11th place finish at the Flachau WC, I am extremely proud of the skiing my team and I showcased. Showing speed and good skiing in all the World Cup races this year and a green light on a split at World Champs was all I could have asked for after making the decision last season to ski for Greece. My coach, Sandy Vietze and I (with no experience whatsoever) took a swing at competing against the best in the world on our own terms and I must say I’m extremely proud of where we stand today. We started training late in the off season and made a ton of mistakes along the way, but we also did a lot of things right.”

AJ and Sandy were close classmates, teammates, and friends at GMVS. Sandy grew up racing at Mad River Glen and then 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. This year Sandy and AJ navigated the challenging race season together, and developed a new coach-athlete relationship that lays a strong foundation for the future.

While the World Championships have come to a close, AJ and the others are looking ahead to the remainder of the year and beyond. “I’m very excited to finish off the World Cup season in March and I’m even more excited to get to work with Sandy this off season and improve on the base we built,” notes AJ.

Congratulations to all of the GMVS athletes who have earned themselves a place on the world stage. We’re proud of each and every one of you and we’ll continue to cheer you on. Go GUMBIES!