AJ Ginnis, a Greek-American who moved to Vermont at the age of 15, placed second in the February 19, 2023, world championship slalom event in Courchevel, France. Ginnis came to Vermont to attend Green Mountain Valley School (GMVS) in Fayston to pursue his dreams of becoming an elite ski racer. It was in last weekend’s 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, Warren. Vietze grew up racing at Mad River Glen and also attended Green Mountain Valley School for the inaugural seventh-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 Vietze and Ginnis navigated the challenging race season together, and developed a new coach-athlete relationship that laid a strong foundation for Sunday’s success.
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 Sunday’s result.
This year Ginnis is more determined than ever and Sunday’s second-place finish is exemplary of his potential. Looking ahead, Ginnis and Vietze are already on U.S. soil as they head to the next stop on the world cup tour at Palisades Tahoe, California
Looking to meet Ginnis? Join him for an athlete signing at Surefoot-Tahoe, 4-4:30 p.m., Thursday, February, 23, 2023.