The Walker’s ski program promotes individual growth and development. We strive to inspire athletes to be self-reliant, motivated, and resilient young women. We develop skiers who are not afraid of making mistakes, who push themselves to improve, and who are confident both on and off the hill.
Established and expanding since 2005, The Ethel Walker School ski team prides itself on growing and establishing skills both on and off the hill and instilling in our young women skiers the life-long love of skiing. The love of skiing is strengthened through race training and competition, creating fundamentally strong skiers with respect and resilience.
Starting as soon as weather permits, the team practices four afternoons a week at Ski Sundown in New Hartford and has weekly races at Ski Sundown, Mohawk Mountain, Ski Butternut, or Catamount as well as a championship race typically held further north. Walker’s Alpine program is designed to allow skiers from varying backgrounds and skill levels the opportunity to develop their skills while competing in the Brigham Ski League (BSL) and NEPSAC conferences. Walker’s varsity ski team is made up of both upper and middle school students. Having middle school students participate allows Walker’s ski team to grow as a team for seven years rather than four, creating not only a competitive team but also a “family” on the hill. Several of our skiers also compete in high level USSA competitions in the tri-state region as well as Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Walker’s ski program competes in in the Class B Western New England Prep School League (NEPSAC). Walker’s skiing also competes in the Brigham Ski League (BSL). League competitors include Suffield Academy, Loomis Chaffee, Taft, Avon Old Farms, Miss Porter’s, Salisbury, and Gunnery.
Gretchen Sonju is a teacher in Avon, head U16 Coach at Mohawk Mountain in northwest Connecticut, and co-director of summer ski camps at Leadchangeracing. As a racer, she competed in Tri-State, USSA, and FIS and raced at Saint Michael’s College. Coach Sonju ran a division of the Missoula Ski Education Foundation in Montana before moving back east to Maine, where she coached the Falmouth High School team and ran the Shawnee Peak race program and adaptive programs. She is USSA Level 200 certified.
Coach Brendan O’Dwyer began working at Walker’s in 2015. He is extremely excited to be heading into his fourth year coaching skiing at Walker’s. As a lifelong skier with a passion for the sport, he’s honored to be returning to such a strong and successful program. In addition to coaching skiing, Coach O’Dwyer is a member of the History Department at Walker’s and is the head coach of the Varsity Tennis team. He has also coached the Thirds Soccer and Thirds Basketball teams during his time at Walker’s.