Waitsfield, VT – May 22, 2024 – Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) is excited to announce a transition in the leadership of its Junior Race Program. Program Director Lorant Gudasz and Assistant Director Sally Utter have both decided to pursue new opportunities, marking an opportunity for new leadership of the Junior Program. 

 Sally Utter ‘87, a lifelong Gumby, has dedicated her career to instilling a love of skiing in young athletes. Her vision and leadership have made GMVS a leader among development clubs nationwide. Sally’s influence extends beyond the slopes, helping shape compassionate and resilient individuals. GMVS is grateful for her years of service and she will be greatly missed.

Lorant Gudasz, who has worked alongside Sally for the past three years while also supporting GMVS’s strength and conditioning program, will be returning to Mt. Mansfield Academy. His passion and enthusiasm will be greatly missed, and we wish him continued success at MMA.

 In light of these departures, we are thrilled to announce that Megan Mikell will be stepping into the role of Junior Program Director. Megan, a longstanding member of the GMVS coaching staff, has dedicated 15 years to working in a myriad of positions, most notably with U14 and U16 athletes, as well as coaching our boys’ soccer team. Her extensive experience, exceptional skills, and unwavering commitment make her the ideal leader for this new chapter. Megan loves working with kids, excels at connecting with them, and inspires them to reach their full potential, all while wholeheartedly believing in GMVS.

“Megan’s strengths in communication, scheduling, and delegation have been instrumental in the smooth operation of our programs.” States Jeff Lackie, GMVS Alpine Program Director. “Her ability to clearly articulate goals and expectations ensures that everyone is aligned and working towards common objectives. As a master scheduler, Megan efficiently manages time and resources, fostering a collaborative environment where all team members can contribute their strengths. Her willingness to tackle challenging tasks and her advocacy for coach education have driven significant advancements at GMVS.”

GMVS is confident that Megan’s leadership will bring continued success to the Junior Program. For more information about the GMVS Junior Race Program, click HERE . Registration for the 2024-2025 season is expected to open by mid-June. 

The GMVS Junior Program offers 6-days of training a week, which starts in early December and runs through the end of March. Athletes are exposed to the positive aspects of competition, the value of setting and pursuing goals, and the benefits of hard work. With age-appropriate programming focused on skill development and race technique in an environment that takes advantage of the world-class terrain at Sugarbush Resort, the program includes a healthy combination of free-skiing and gate training.

As is typical each year, GMVS will be seeking coaches for the Junior Race Program. If you have a background in ski racing and a passion for coaching young racers, we want to hear from you. Email Megan Mikell ([email protected]) with your letter of interest and resume.

Monday, January 29, 2024

BIG news from the 2024 Youth Olympics in Gangwon, South Korea! After qualifying 13th, Tabor Greenberg ‘24, from Moretown, VT, skied his way up to third place in the freestyle sprints! Congratulations Tabor!

Accompanying Tabor as a Coach for the U.S. Team is GMVS Nordic Program Director Colin Rodgers.

Tabor and his USA teammates race the 7.5k classic tonight (actually tomorrow in KOR) – women at 8:30pm EST and men at 11:00pm EST. You can find LIVE timing at Olympics.com/gangwon-2024 Good luck team! 🍀

Photo Cred: @oisphotos 👏

🙌 GMVS alpine athletes Tommy Carnahan ‘24 (CAN) and Hemi Meikle ‘24 (NZL) have touched down ✈️ in Gangwon, South Korea for the Youth Olympic Games. Supported by GMVS coach Doug Williams, we’ll be cheering 📣 loud and proud as these athletes give it their all to race to the top of the podium 🥇. Let’s Gooooooo!
The games begin on January 19th and continue through February 1st. #gangwon2024


On the weekend of June 9-11, 2023 alumni, family members, and friends of GMVS celebrated 50 years of friendships, adventures, and lasting memories. It was a full-send celebration with endless reminiscing and reconnecting. Thank you to the entire community for making GMVS what it is today, for without you we would not be us. Cheers to the next 50!

For more on the 50th Anniversary Celebration, click HERE


Al Hobart, Ashley Cadwell, Jared Cadwell, Dave Gavett, Tim Harris, Tracy Keller – From the beginning, these six leaders have shaped GMVS into the special place that it is today, serving in the role of Headmaster / Head of School.

Al Hobart, who helped to found the school, served as Headmaster from 1973 to 1978. Ashley Cadwell, another founding member, led the school from 1978 to 1984 before passing the baton to Dave Gavett. Dave served in the role until 1986 and then Jared Cadwell, Ashley’s brother, took the helm 1986 to 1989 while Dave coached for the U.S. Ski Team. Dave Gavett then returned and was the longest-serving Head of School from 1989 to 2016. Upon his departure, Tim Harris filled the role as an interim Head before Tracy Keller joined GMVS in 2017. 

As GMVS’s longest-serving Head of School, Dave implemented and oversaw a number of fundamental additions and changes. He joined the GMVS family in 1978 after graduating from Middlebury College, and initially served as a dorm parent and teacher as well as a women’s soccer and Alpine ski coach. Even before he became Headmaster, in fact in his first year, Dave introduced perhaps his most radical contribution: the theater program, which he continued to direct throughout his tenure at GMVS.

Immediately this innovation set GMVS apart from the other ski racing academies. However, theater was only one of the ways Dave worked toward the GMVS ethos of developing the whole child. In 1984, after Dave took over as the Head of School, he encouraged a variety of fall and spring sports, both team and individual, as well as art and photography classes. In 1986, Dave took a three year sabbatical to work with the U.S. Ski Team, coaching the 1987 and 1989 World Championship teams as well as the 1988 Olympic team in Calgary Canada. In the fall of 1989, Dave moved back into his role as Head of School at GMVS and continued working with theater and coaching.  

At this point Dave introduced his wife, German World Cup winner and 1991 World Championship Bronze Medalist Traudl Haecher, to GMVS, which led to another fundamental change. Dave and Traudl saw the need for American ski racers to be exposed to another level of ski racing, in Europe. Together they built a GMVS campus in Kössen, Austria, a town that bordered Traudl’s hometown. This program was the first of its kind in the U.S – and set GMVS apart. This campus was utilized by GMVS athletes as part of their training in the winter and provided innovative opportunities for athletes and coaches of all ages to gain exposure to the geographic center of ski racing.

Dave, being Dave, did not allow this to just simply be a ski racing experience. Students were given history lessons and academic programming that worked to support these trips by immersion into European life. They were exposed to culture in Salzburg and history at Dachau, and enjoyed the simple village life that Kössen offered as they were being prepared for the big show by exposing them to what ski racing and ski racers were like in Europe. Both the Alpine and the Nordic programs also worked collaboratively with European ski academies, notably Stams in Austria and OSZ Mals in Italy.  

Under Dave’s watch, GMVS continued to grow physically and to excel athletically and academically, with construction of a new dorm, renovation of the three others, and the establishment of the Kelly Brush Race Arena, improved snowmaking and grooming capabilities, the addition of a T-bar, and the renovation of the Poma lift. In addition, GMVS built a LEED certified campus library, and the 30,000 square foot Racing Performance Center, a world-class training and tuning facility. Other projects include renovations to the Weiss Academic Building, including the state-of-the-art Kent Coughlin Science Center, and the creation of a performing arts theater and auditorium, fittingly named in Dave’s honor. Perhaps less tangible, but no less important, was Dave’s many years of successfully mentoring students, coaches and teachers–empowering each to reach his and her full potential. Dave’s door was always open and he always made time to listen to others and share his wisdom.

We are immensely grateful to these six individuals for leading GMVS through fifty years of evolution and major growth. Without their vision, leadership and guidance, the school would not be what it is today.


Did you know that over the years, student-athletes from 26 countries have called GMVS home? While dual citizenships make the list tricky to identify, one thing is for sure, we’re a worldly group with representation from the list of countries below. 










Great Britain


Hong Kong






New Zealand



Puerto Rico





United States


Over the years, the dorms have housed hundreds of student-athletes. In addition to advising and guiding these young people, a number of dorm parents have also raised their own children in the dorms. Witch’s Hat apartment has a height measurement post with recorded names of numerous campus kids while New Dorm apartment was home to a litter of 13 puppies in 2022!


Nancy Gustafson ’82, Sarah Billmeier ’95 and Thomas Walsh ’13 represent all that makes GMVS the unique place that it is as they each have overcome adversity, pursuing goals and dreams along the way, and displaying the type of grit, perseverance, and athleticism that is at the core of the GMVS student-athlete.

Gustafson began racing at age six near her home in Pittsfield, MA. When she was 19, she struck a lift tower during the 1985 NCAA Championships, partially paralyzing her left arm. The following year she won three races and the combined at the World Disabled Championships. Gustafson continued to pursue her passion and went on to win eight Olympic medals in four disciplines, at three different Olympic games: Albertville, France (1992), Lillehammer, Norway (1994), and Innsbruck, Austria (1998).

Gustafson went on to graduate from Colorado State University’s (CSU) College of Veterinary Medicine in 1999 before completing an internship in small animal medicine and surgery at Angell Memorial Animal Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. Her chosen career in Radiation Oncology led Gustafson back to academia in 2000 where she pursued advanced training at CSU. In 2003, she completed her residency training program in Radiation Oncology as well as receiving a Master’s degree (Mammalian Radiobiology). In 2004, Gustafson was an Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine while simultaneously spending additional time studying medical oncology. Gustafson then received her Master of Science in Medical Dosimetry from the University of Wisconsin LaCrosse. After a long career as a Veterinary Radiation Oncologist, she joined the Huntsman Cancer Hospital at the University of Utah in 2019 to treat humans. Gustafson met her husband in Park City, Utah and they were married in Nepal at the Tengboche monastery on their trek to Mount Everest Basecamp.

Each Paralympian has a unique story. For Sarah Billmeier, it started at the age of five when her left leg was amputated above the knee as a result of bone cancer. With bone cancer defeated, she learned to ski, on one leg, at age eight; she was racing by ten. Now, somewhere in the bottom of her closet, there is a shoebox containing 13 Olympic medals (seven Gold, five Silver, one Bronze) earned in four Paralympic Games (she shares the record for most medals won in four games; Billmeier earned hers in France, Norway, Japan and Salt Lake City). No doubt there is other hardware in the box as well, from her six World Championship titles, the first of which she won at age fourteen.

After graduating from GMVS in 1995, Billmeier went on to Dartmouth College, continuing to compete (and win), and developing herself as a whole person – recognizing that ski racing was just one temporary aspect of her life. She started whitewater paddling and rock climbing; she took art and literature classes. She traveled. In 2001, Billmeier graduated cum laude from Dartmouth, and, in 2002, she retired from ski racing in order to pursue the medical career she had long been planning at Harvard Medical School. 

Billmeier is now a surgeon out of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center specializing in minimally invasive surgery.

Sarah Billmeier not only pursued her own dreams, but she also paved the way for others in similar situations. Eighteen years after Billmeier graduated from GMVS, Thomas Walsh did the same.

Walsh’s journey was a bit different, as he was scheduled to enter GMVS in the fall of 2009 at the age of 14, but days before he began, he was diagnosed with stage IV Ewing Sarcoma, a rare cancer in which cells are found in the bone and soft tissue. For the next year, Walsh endured countless surgeries going under anesthesia at least 30 times which included lung resections where tumors were removed from both of his lungs, as well as a pelvic resection where his primary tumor was removed. His pelvic resection is ultimately what classified him as an adaptive athlete due to his limb impairment.

After surviving cancer, Walsh, who thought skiing was a thing of the past, realized that his dreams of ski racing and attending GMVS were still alive when Headmaster Dave Gavett welcomed him in. Despite his physical limitations – reduced lung capacity and an impaired right leg – Walsh did all the things other kids did. He acted in three GMVS theater productions and competed against able-bodied athletes. 

Walsh graduated from GMVS in 2013 and headed off to Savannah College of Art and Design to study performing arts, but he soon realized he could ski as an adaptive athlete. After a year of school, Walsh went on to continue to follow his ski racing dreams. Lessons of perseverance, determination, and grit learned from his time at GMVS served him well as he went after his dreams of becoming a professional ski racer. During his first year on the Paralympic circuit, he earned a spot on the US Paralympic Alpine National Team and has since earned multiple World Cup wins, a SL Crystal Globe, two World Championship bronze medals, and competed at the 2018 and 2022 Paralympic Games, earning a Silver Medal in 2022.

While continuing to primarily focus on his racing career, Walsh holds a BFA in performing arts as well as an MBA with a focus in marketing. He looks towards the coming seasons and aims to compete in the Milano-Cortina 2026 Winter Paralympic Games.

Together, Nancy Gustafson, Sarah Billmeier and Thomas Walsh are the epitome of what GMVS student-athletes can achieve with dedication, determination, and dreams. They each truly represent the very best of Green Mountain Valley School.


Brett Heyl ‘00

Brett Heyl was just fourteen when he arrived at GMVS. He had just competed at his first kayaking Junior World Championships in the Czech Republic (Heyl paddles K-1 whitewater kayak slalom) a few weeks before starting classes. He managed to train for and compete in both ski racing and kayaking through his junior year when he decided to compete exclusively in kayaking, but Heyl always credits lessons learned from standing in the start gate of ski races as key components to his kayaking success.

After GMVS, Heyl made the US National Canoe/Kayak Team and moved to Washington, DC to train with the team coach and attend George Washington University. He trained for four years, working with his coach two to three times per day. He admits it was hard to strike a balance between training and school, but he was training with a purpose; the goal was the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. 

Four Americans made it to the final qualifying round, which was a World Cup on the Athens Olympic course. To stay in contention, Heyl needed to be in the top ten. After his first run, he didn’t think he would make it, but as he watched the remaining racers, he stared in disbelief. As the final competitors raced, Heyl realized he had done enough to make the top 10 and earn a spot on the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team. “I was going to the Olympics!” he said. “Calling my parents to tell them was one of the sweetest moments of my life. They had sacrificed so much for my athletic success; it was wonderful to be able to give them that moment,” Heyl said.

In 2008, Heyl was one of the best paddlers in the world. Unfortunately, his dream of a second Olympic bid was shattered as a result of one bad run at just the wrong time. To Heyl’s credit, he is not only a one-time Olympian, but also a four-time U.S. National Champion, three-time Pan-Am Champion, and placed second in the 2008 World Cup Overall. 

After retiring from competitive kayaking, Heyl went on to work in public service, serving in a variety of capacities for former President Obama, former First Lady Michelle Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, and former President Bill Clinton. Heyl has since moved on to other pursuits, but he feels that GMVS solidified the tenacity he has to stick to his goals and to weather the storms on his route to success. 


Throughout the history of GMVS students have tapped their creative juices in a variety of ways from enrolling in a visual arts or pottery class, building the set for the annual theater production from the ground up,  and in its most free form, decorating vans for Reach the Peak with bright paint only removable with a good scrub at the local car wash. Art plays in integral role in the GMVS experience and comes in a variety of forms. 

In 2022, under the direction of Robby Kelley, GMVS students embraced on the uniquely creative task of created an original reproduction of the Mona Lisa. Extraordinarily, through teamwork, students were able to accomplish this task in a single day. Their process was unique as none of the students knew what the final product would be. The process began with Robby giving each student a rectangle with dark and light space, texture, and lines. He told each student to draw what they saw on a scaled up version of the rectangle. The only other directions he gave them were to pay close attention to lines, texture, and shading. In the end, all the students put their rectangles together to reveal a fine reproduction of the Mona Lisa! 

This single challenge only achievable through teamwork, discipline, and a willingness to try something new  is just one of the many examples of how art shapes a GMVS student-athlete.