By Jim Gregory
Photo: Ben Rithie and Cecily Decker, 2016 Golden Ski winners. Photo by Kathe Dillman
Each season, NASJA-East (formerly the Eastern Ski Writers Association) awards the Don A. Metivier Golden Ski Award to the most promising male and female junior alpine racers in the Eastern US. This year’s winners are Cecily Decker from Saranac Lake, NY and Ben Ritchie, from Waitsfield, VT. The awards were presented at a reception at the New England Ski Museum on Friday, June 12th.
Cecily ranked 75th in the world in Downhill and had 19 top ten results, including 9 podiums, with 5 overall wins. She was 1st in a NORAM Cup Downhill at Lake Louise; 1st in an FIS Giant Slalom Race at Sugarbush; 1st in an FIS Giant Slalom race at Jiminy Peak; 1st in the Downhill and 4th in the Super G at the North American Junior Championships at Copper Mountain, and finished out the season 1st in Downhill at an FIS Race at Aspen.
Ben was the U/16 National overall champion, placing 2nd in Super G, 2nd in Giant Slalom and 1st in Slalom. In his Super G race, where he started in 38th position, he jumped all the way to a Silver Medal podium finish, a truly Herculian effort. He placed 2nd in the Slalom at the Longines Future Champions event at St. Moritz. He was chosen to represent the US in this year’s Hahnenkamm U/16 event at Kitzbuehel in a unique team competition. Ben also received the 2016 VARA George Tormey Award as Vermont’s top student athelete.
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. It’s presented in memory of long- time snow-sports journalist Don A. Metivier, former editor of Ski Racing magazine. The Golden Ski Award is the oldest honor given to junior alpine ski racers that exists today.