SUPPORTING ATHLETES BEYOND GMVS — FACT 28 of 50
Perfecting the craft of ski racing takes grit to push through the coldest of days for one more run; hard work to make every run count on race day and in training; and dedication to take care of the mind and body on and off the hill, in and out of season. It takes time to tune skis and maintain equipment, planning to schedule out-of-season camps, and it takes money every step of the way. From gear to lift tickets, travel, hotels, and race entries, the cost of pursuing the sport of ski racing is expensive.
One might think that when an athlete is named to a National Team that they’ve made it big, and in many ways they have – they are an inspiration to those who know and love the sport and they are ranked among the absolute best in the world. Yet even racing on a National Team comes at a cost. Sponsors offset those costs, but it takes time to find the connections and build those relationships, yet another challenge to an already challenging sport.
In an effort to support those athletes who come to GMVS with a dream to stand atop the Olympic podium and continue their pursuit after graduation, GMVS launched the Athlete Sponsorship Program in the spring of 2020. The donor-supported initiative provides some financial support to GMVS alumni who are pursuing elite ski racing by racing on National Teams or on the World Cup.
After great success in its first two years, GMVS is now closing in on its third year of the pilot program. Managed independently from the School’s Annual Fund which helps support the school’s programming throughout the year, the Athlete Sponsorship Program is funded by donors who specifically designate their gifts to support elite alumni who are pursuing racing beyond GMVS. This year’s group of recipients is comprised of the following six athletes from six unique teams, representing four different countries.
AJ Ginnis ’11, GRE Ski
AJ Ginnis is a Greek-American who moved to Vermont at the age of 15. A Dartmouth graduate, AJ races for Greece with coaching support from his fellow GMVS classmate, Sandy Vietze ‘11. AJ recently placed second in the World Championship slalom event in Courchevel, France and is hungry to top the podium again.
Ali Nullmeyer ’16, Canadian National Team
Ali Nullmeyer was born and raised in Ontario, Canada, and currently races on the Canadian National Team. While pursuing racing on the World Cup, Ali continues to balance her pursuit of high-level athletics with academics, studying economics at Middlebury College. Ali was one of 13 alpine skiers nominated by the Canadian Olympic Committee to compete in the 2022 Winter Games, and in her Olympic debut, she secured a solid 21st place finish in the women’s slalom.
Ben Ritchie ’19, U.S. Ski Team
A member of the U.S. Ski Team, Ben Ritchie hails from Waitsfield, Vermont just down the road from the GMVS campus. Ben’s top three athletic accomplishments so far are winning the World Juniors Slalom in Bansko, Bulgaria in 2021, a thirteenth place finish at the 2021 World Championships in Cortina, Italy, and two 2nd place finishes at World Juniors 2019.
Brian McLaughlin ’12, Team Global Racing
Brian McLaughin races with Global Racing, a team founded by GMVS Graduate Paul Epstein ‘00. Brian’s path to success started as a junior in high school at GMVS where he proceeded to qualify for the USST Development Team the following year. He raced four years for Dartmouth College and during his senior season, he earned a World Cup start. This year, Brian kicked off the season strong with a 19th-place finish in Val d’Isere GS in October.
Charlie Raposo ’14, British Alpine Ski Team
Charlie is a five-time British Champion and has been the best-ranked Giant Slalom skier from Great Britain for the last eight years. Charlie moved to Vermont to attend GMVS at the age of 14 which became a major stepping stone in his rise to becoming one of the best junior racers in the world for his age. This year, Charlie secured a 17th-place finish in the World Championship GS in Courchevel Meribel.
Jimmy Krupka ’16, U.S. Ski Team Nor Am Team
Jimmy Krupka qualified for the U.S. Development Team at the end of his senior year at GMVS. Upon graduating, he raced and trained with the team for two years, skied for Dartmouth College for a year and then re-qualified for the U.S. Team, with whom he has been skiing ever since. In addition to continuing to pursue courses at Dartmouth and elite racing, Jimmy plays host to his own podcast, Arc City, which has gained the following of racing enthusiasts across generations.
As the program closes in on the end of its third year, it is clear that this donor support has positively impacted the lives, and results, of these six athletes. With several up and coming elite athletes, GMVS is hopeful that the program will continue.