Ava Sunshine Jemison and Ben Ritchie are 2021 winners of the Eastern Ski Writers Golden Ski Award.

Each season the New England Ski Museum presents this award to the most promising male and female junior alpine racers in the Eastern US. The Golden Ski is on permanent display in the Museum’s Franconia branch. The 2020 and 2021 awards will be presented at the Museum’s annual meeting and dinner at the Omni Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire on November 13, 2021.

Ava Sunshine Jemison

Ava, from Edwards Colorado and Burke Mountain Academy, posted great results during this challenging Covid-19 pandemic season, earning her a nomination for the 2021/2022 US Ski Team’s Developmental Team. It all started with a 3rd place finish in slalom at Berchtesgaden-Jenner, Germany and 2nd and 3rd place finishes in both giant slalom races at Passo San Pellegrino, Italy. She continued by winning 3rd place in Alpine Combined at Garmisch, Germany. She then returned home to compete in the US Nationals at Aspen, Colorado where she was 2nd Junior and 4th overall in the Downhill. This amazing performance was her first ever downhill. Ava continued with a 3rd place overall in the Alpine Combined.

Ava Sunshine Jemison


Ben Ritchie 

This is Ben’s fourth Golden Ski Award. He navigated this very stressful, challenging Covid-19 season with great results starting with a Europa Cup victory in slalom at Meiringen Hasliberg, Switzerland, followed by the slalom Gold Medal at the prestigious World Juniors in Bansko, Bulgaria. Ben then continued to win at the US Nationals in Aspen, Colorado with the slalom Gold. He has been nominated for the 2021/2022 US Ski B Team.

Ben Ritchie

About the Golden Ski Award

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, when the New England Ski Museum was given some artifacts including the original Golden Ski Award, the Eastern Ski Writers Association revitalized the honor that it originated in 1969. “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 Ava Sunshine Jemison and four 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.”

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

2020: Ben Ritchie, Zoe Zimmermann