By Matt Liebowitz
There are cars that shake and rattle at the speeds Devin DeVerry can reach on skis. At that velocity, upwards of 50 mph, the slightest misstep, the tiniest caught edge, can lose a race, and knock even the most experienced athlete off balance.
But that’s where Devin shines.
On Wednesday Feb. 15, Devin, 17, dominated the New England Class B Championships, held at Okemo Mountain Resort in Ludlow, Vermont. He won both the Slalom and Giant Slalom races, an incredible feat for the Williston Northampton senior from Southwick, Massachusetts.
The blend of calculated risk, pure adrenaline, and disciplined, top-level training – and some close-to-home—is what makes Devin such a force.
“From right about the time I could walk, I could ski,” Devin said. From when he was about two years old, his parents, Ray and Harriet, took him every weekend to Butternut Basin (also called Ski Butternut) in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. It didn’t hurt that Ray and Harriet are both experienced competitive skiers and coaches.
His earliest memories are on the slopes, with mom at his side. “I remember ripping around when I was four, on the race team, with my mom as my coach,” Devin said
Devin began competing “all over Western Mass” when he was six. Four years later, with a second home near Stratton Mountain Resort in Vermont for even more frequent training, he began traveling throughout Vermont for races. Devin has been a member of the Vermont Alpine Racing Association (VARA) U-19 team since he was 11.
The early skiing start paid off; currently, Devin says he is ranked nationally in the 700s for Giant Slalom and in the 800s for Slalom. On Feb. 15, he also clinched the number one ranking in the Mt. Institute Ski League (MISL), a regional league comprised of independent and public schools in Western Mass. Devin also took home the Zephyr Rapinchuk Award, given to the skier who best exemplifies kindness, a love of the sport, and the desire to help others.
Ed Hing has coached Devin since he came to Williston in seventh grade. Hing, a 1977 Williston graduate who has taught Visual and Performing Arts at the school for the past 20 years, jokes that Devin was a much different skier six years ago.
“Fortunately, physically, he put on about 90 pounds, which made a huge difference,” Hing said. “The joke when he started was we needed to put a backpack with rocks on him to get him to go faster.”
Any athlete at Devin’s level has the right to gloat, but, according to Hing, Devin’s maturity shines as much as his skill.
“He’s insanely below-the-radar humble and quiet,” said Hing. “He does his thing. You can see a grin on his face [when he wins], but he’s not wildly celebrating.”