Each season, the New England Ski Museum presents the Golden Ski Award to the most promising male and female junior alpine racers in the eastern U.S. The awards will be presented at a reception and location to be determined at a later date. The ski museum is pleased to present this year’s award to Zoe Zimmermann and Ben Ritchie.

Zoe Zimmermann

Zoe Zimmermann of Gilford, N.H. and Burke Mountain Academy set the tone for her 2019-20 season when she won the back-to-back early season FIS slaloms at Sunday River, Maine in early December. The rest of her season was filled with success. Some of her most notable results include: several top-10 finishes at NorAms (including two top-five finishes at the NorAm parallel slaloms at Craigleith, Canada and the National Winter Activity Center in New Jersey), top-five finishes at the Harvard and UVM Carnivals, and a fourth-place finish at the Junior Nationals super-G at Snowbasin. Despite the shortened season, Zoe proved her skill and talent, and in March she was named to the U.S. Alpine C-Team.

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Ben Ritchie 

This Ben’s third Golden Ski Award. Ben Ritchie of Waitsfield, Vt. and Green Mountain Valley School started off the 2019-2020 season strong with a fourth-place finish at the NorAm slaloms in Copper Mountain. A few weeks later, he placed in the top-five of back-to-back NorAm slaloms in Nakiska, including a first-place finish in one of the two competitions. The following month, he won another NorAm at Stowe, and later went on to earn several more podium finishes on the NorAm circuit, as well as two World Cup Slalom starts in Austria and Switzerland. In March, Ben was renamed to the 2021 Alpine B-Team for the second year in a row. 

The Golden Ski Award has been presented to the top junior male and female skiers in the East since 1969, the year after the modern World Cup circuit started. Many of the Golden Ski winners have gone on to World Cup and Olympic gold as well. In 1975, the Golden Ski was “lost.” In 2007, the New England Ski Museum was given some artifacts, and in that donation was the original Golden Ski. ESWA then revitalized the honor.

“The Golden Ski Award is the oldest honor given to junior alpine ski racers that exists today,” says Jim Gregory, chair of the New England Ski Museum’s Golden Ski Award Committee. “We are proud this year to honor Zoe Zimmermann and three-time winner Ben Ritchie, two extraordinary athletes. We look forward to watching them pursue their goals and set the bar even higher in the sport we all love so much.”

Previous Golden Ski Award Winners:

1969: Tyler Palmer, Karen Middleton

1970: Charles Bent, Karen Middleton

1971: Rod Taylor, Judy McNealus

1972: Laurent Gaudin, Jody Palmer 

1973: Jerry McNealus, No female winner

1974: No award

1975: Scott Light, Holly Flanders

1976-2007: Award Lost

2008: Bump Heldman, Julia Ford

2009: Nolan Kasper, Julia Ford

2010: Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Julia Ford

2011: Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Mikaela Shiffrin

2012: Ryan Cochran-Siegle, Mikaela Shiffrin

2013: Kieffer Christianson, Mikaela Shiffrin

2014: Sam Morse, Alice Merryweather

2015: Drew Duffy, Nina O’Brien

2016: Ben Ritchie, Cecily Decker

2017: George Steffey, Patricia Mangan

2018: Jimmy Krupka, Abigail Jewett

2019: Ben Ritchie, Claire Thomas

Release courtesy of New England Ski Museum.

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