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They learned to ski at some of the best mountains in the East, so it's no surprise that six Valley athletes will be competing on national ski teams this season.
Among the 54 members of the 2014 U.S. alpine ski team named Friday, November 8, at Copper Mountain, Colorado, are Valley natives Sandy Vietze of Warren, who will compete on the men's C team, and brothers Daniel and Drew Duffy of Warren, who will compete on the men's developmental team.
Vietze and the Duffys graduated from Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) in Waitsfield and they are joined on the U.S. alpine ski team this year by fellow alumni Alexander Ginnis '11 and Brian McLaughin '12, who will both compete with the men's C team.
The Duffy brothers are each ranked first in the nation (for their age) in the giant slalom, and both have top five rankings in other disciplines as well. Vietze is ranked second in the nation (for his age) in the slalom and third in downhill, while Ginnis is ranked first in the nation (for his age) in the slalom. McLaughlin is ranked second in the nation (for his age) in three disciplines.
Current GMVS student Charlie Raposo '14 has also been nominated to the British U-18 national alpine ski team for this year and he is ranked third in the world (for his age) in the giant slalom.
GMVS alpine director Steve Utter has worked with each of the skiers over the years and he's proud of their success. "I'm really happy for them," he said. Making the team is "across the board a validation of their great effort and enthusiasm and hard work."
Right now, GMVS students are training in Colorado, and they were able to attend the naming ceremony last Friday at Copper Mountain, home of the U.S. Ski Team Speed Center. "It was the same naming as Lindsey Vonn, Ted Ligety and Bode Miller," Utter said. "It was really fun."
"For every kid here [at GMVS], it's their dream to make the national team and race in the Olympics," Utter said. "For a small few, that dream gets realized," he said, "but what we're really about in the end is challenging our kids to do the best in whatever they do."
Having so many local athletes on the team this year speaks to "how successful the junior development programs are in The Valley," Utter said. Vietze and the Duffys "are the products of Valley schools, the Sugarbush/GMVS Ski Club and the Mad River Glen Ski Club before that."