Jan. 2-8 national Nordic ski championships to boost local economy by $1M

RUMFORD — Lodging owners are gearing up for an economic boost when hundreds of the nation's best Nordic skiers, their coaches and support staff arrive next month for a weeklong stay.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Mountain Spring Farm Bed and Breakfast owners Anne Morin, left, and husband Barry Allen, of Rumford are among the many lodging owners from Bethel to Farmington anticipating an economic boost when hundreds of the nation's best Nordic skiers arrive next month for the national championships at Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford.

Not to mention a few hundred spectators and families of athletes who will stay for eight days and seven nights during the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association's Cross Country Ski Championships from Jan. 2-8 at Black Mountain of Maine ski resort.

Five-hundred Nordic skiers will compete Jan. 2, 4, 6 and 8 for berths on the U.S. Olympic team, the World Cup and world junior competitions in Europe. The other days are for training.

The event, hosted by the Chisholm Ski Club in 2011 and 2012, is expected to pour $1 million into businesses from Bethel to Farmington.

Anne Morin and Barry Allen own the Mountain Spring Farm Bed and Breakfast at 473 Andover Road, and Jean DeSalle owns the 11-room Blue Iris Motor Inn on Route 2 in Rumford Point.

On Wednesday, Mountain Spring Farm, which has five rooms and a large multi-bed room, had been booked for the event for two months. It will be home for a week for a college team from Minneapolis, Minn. The Alaskan team booked the Blue Iris six months ago.

Both innkeepers know what to expect, having gone through it in 2003 and 2004 when the Chisholm Ski Club last held “The Nationals,” as the event is known locally.

“It's unbelievable the amount of money that's generated,” Morin said. “I mean, the whole place is rented out for a week. Economically, it's a wonderful thing.”

“It's an extremely huge event for the area, and it does have a big impact on everybody around,” DeSalle said. “It helps everybody.”

“I know some people who say, 'Well, I don't get anything from it, because I'm not directly involved,' but they do. Everything goes around.”

Roger Arsenault, president of the Black Mountain Board of Directors, said Thursday that hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, and private homes and camps from Wilton to Bethel and even down to Peru were all booked for the event.

“We've got the U.S. Ski Team staying at The Norseman Inn (in Bethel), so there's a big impact,” Arsenault said.

“Also, past history, these folks eat very healthy," he said. "They'll be frequenting Hannaford, buying up a boatload of water and fruit juices and so forth. They usually get a big run on that.

“And the restaurants, they make their own eating arrangements, so there is quite a residual with businesses like FoodTrend and Sam's (Italian Sandwich Shoppe). Those folks will see a lot of action."

Arsenault said the athletes must pay substantial head taxes and fees to compete, the bulk of which goes to Black Mountain.

“The club will get whatever is left over, so, economically, it's beneficial for the mountain and the community,” he said.

“And for our club, that's payback for all the support that the club and the mountain gets over the years. ”

Linda Walbridge, director of the Western Maine Economic Development Council in South Paris, offered some conservative spending numbers based on 600 people each spending $55 a night for lodging, $24 a day for meals and $25 for incidentals such as gas, soda and snacks.

“We're talking 600 people here for eight days and seven nights, and anytime you've got that many people for eight days and seven nights, you've got some major money coming into the economy and, of course, there is the ripple effect,” Walbridge said.

“So, we're figuring about half-a-million dollars in direct spending in the economy and the ripple — they tend to do ripples at 2 to 1 — that's about a million dollars into the economy.

“Of course, then there are the spectators and families that might stop at a store like Maine Made Furniture and buy something, and then they might go out to lunch, and they might come back to Black Mountain because the first time was a fun experience, and that stuff is huge for our area,” Walbridge said.

“And if anybody could use an economic bounce at this point, where we're running still at close to a 16-percent unemployment rate in pockets, it's the River Valley. That's higher than the rest of the county, and so they could really use this income.”

Longtime Black Mountain and Chisholm Ski Club volunteer Craig Zurhorst said Walbridge's figures didn't include entry fees for athletes or anything at the mountain.

“It's a huge deal for the area,” said Zurhorst, who is community relations director for Western Maine Transportation.

“The amount of prestige alone that it brings to the River Valley, it's epic,” he said.

“What you have here are world-class athletes for an entire week at a location that's highly regarded throughout North America and known throughout the world, and that's very, very exciting,” Zurhorst said.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Is this our Rumford?

I do not wish the demise of Black Mountain, but I do wish for an objective valuation of the ski area in the news media. I do not think that the hyperbole in this article presents the reality of Black Mountain's affect on the local economy. I do not see a turnaround in the long time depressed economy of the area because of the small ski "resort's" existence. I am always surprised when the Sun Journal prints articles that are not objective about any activity or organization in any town or city.

Jack Kaubris's picture

BMOM is not the economic engine that drives the local economy.

It never was, and never will be. If you lived in this area you would realize that it is the paper mill that drives all economic activity. BMOM's winter and summer programs are a huge part of the recreational opportunities, however, and a bargain at that. Kudos to the SJ for reporting on this huge event and giving us some factual backgound on what it takes to pull this together. That is reality. The economic effect is well documented, and again, a bargain for what little we have invested in this gem. Thank you to all the forward-thinking leaders who have put in the effort to bring this positive news to our little corner of the world.

 's picture

Economic Development

Jake,
You are correct in stating that BMOM is not the economic engine of our community, but please be willing to acknowledge that it does contribute to our economy. Even though many of the participants and spectators are forced to stay outside of Rumford due to a lack of sufficient lodging, their participation at BMOM is a valuable tool in attracting businesses to town. Every activity we have that brings people from outside of the valley is part of the overall attractiveness of the valley. Although some scoff at the concept of a chain motel coming to town, it is possible and more likely with BMOM being open. A chain motel will serve as an anchor for other businesses. Handled properly, we could see a seasonal influx of people over the next 10 years. The town has people working on attracting businesses. If our community can come together to work on developing more activities, the valley would be better off. We cannot just sit and complain that nobody is doing anything, without asking what we are doing.

Jack Kaubris's picture

Yes, you are right , Kevin.

BMOM does make an economic contribution, as the article implies. Good points on the hotel/motel/chain connection also. Who know what could happen?

 's picture

For those who doubt....

One hotel chain has already looked at a parcel of land for a motel. It would have been a lovely location with ample parking and a beautiful setting with minimal impact to the surrounding area. Unfortunately, the location was disqualified due to laws regarding setbacks from the wetlands that exists on the property. I have been told that announcement of the feasibility study has generated interest from other chains as well. My guess is that one of them will find a decent location within the next few months.

 's picture

Kevin and Jake, I am guessing

Kevin and Jake, I am guessing that the two of you are buddies with the current Town Manager of Rumford Carlo Puiia and the Chairman of Rumford's Economic Development Committee Phil Blampied. How about finding out for us why the town is not applying for the $500,000 second round community development block grant (CDBG) they were invited to apply for. This is the second round to the $300,000 that started the work on Strathglass Park and started work on a few of the many out of code and deralict eyesore apartment buildings in town. There is no match required from the town for this half million dollars and it was virtually guaranteed with the town having received the $300,000 in the first round and invited back. Kevin and Jake, would you find out why Rumford did not file the paperwork to get their share? While you are at it find out why Rumford did not file the paperwork for the other CDBG grant for $10,000 with a $2,500 match required by the town to help cover the cost of planning the town is required by law to do and will cost more than $12,500 to do anyway. We would really like to know why we are going to end up footing the bill for the whole thing instead of the town applying for this grant, please would you find out for us? There was a write up in the paper about both these grants in the paper quite a few months back. Also could you find out from Phil Blampied why he is standing in the way of $300,000 in grants for Strathglass Park with no matches. Strathglass Park a National Treasure on the Registry of Historic Places that is in terrible condition. With that $300,000 added to the $300,000 already recieved and the $500,000 that the paperwork wasn't filed for Strathglass Park could have been well on its way to being something we could be proud of and tourists could visit. Right now Rumford is in such bad shape it isn't a good idea for people from away to be trapsing through. This town already has a bad reputation. People come here and see the condition of the place then go back home and tell their friends, families and co-workers what they saw up close and personal it will be worse. New business isn't attracted to towns with yard after yard full of junk, boarded up buildings, litter everywhere and just all around disrespect of property and no maintainence. It sure would have been nice to see those grants come in to fix things up and make the town more presentable. So would you do us all a favor and check these out for us?

 's picture

no need to check

I don't have to research that one. I was there when the decision was made. The sole reason they do not want to go after these opportunities is because they don't want to have to hold another special town meeting to get the authorization. It is simple as that.

 's picture

That is what I heard but I

That is what I heard but I could not believe that the Selectmen were giving up $510,000 in grants the town desperately needs with only a $2,500 match and a 10 minute show of hands town meeting before a regular selectmen's meeting to accept the money. Did the selectmen say where they were going to come up with the money in place of this grant money? What about the $300,000 for Strathglass Park that is all private grant money and has nothing to do with the town, no town meeting required?

 's picture

IDK

I don't know about the other funds, but the CDBG and TIF suggestions that were made ended in a no vote after brief discussion. You see, each town meeting costs money, and with all of the extra meetings we had this year, the funds are getting low, to the point that they are likely going to have to reallocate funds to be able to afford the annual town meeting this year. If we have another special town meeting, they may have had to have another ballot to allow the funds necessary.

Jack Kaubris's picture

You are guessing incorrectly (again).

Please feel free to help yourself, commonsense. You commonly make false assumptions and accusations...why don't you get off your behind and research these questions yourself...and get back to all of us with some facts.

 's picture

Jake and Kevin you seem to feel you are the credibible ones

If I did it and reported my findings, you obviously wouldn't believe me no matter what I said. This way we get it from you and Kevin who think your credibility is above reproach. Next it seemed as though the two of you are probably well acquanted with the parties involved and had ready access. We all know Kevin spends a great deal of time at Town Hall as a general rule it isn't like he is being asked to go out of his way. Also I am leaving on another business trip on Tuesday won't be back for a week to ten days. Given the blizzard, not likely to get very far tomorrow.

 's picture

BMOM donation not $51,000 but $561,000+

As the alarm went of to wake me to make the first attack on the mounting piles of snow from this latest storm it hit me, BMOM did not just cost the taxpayers of Rumford $51,000, no it was $561,000+. Let me explain. Because BMOM insisted on a second bite at the apple, a Special Town Meeting had to be held costing taxpayers money. Then a Special Election had to be held costing taxpayers more money. Yes Kevin and Jake I know what your are going to say on the Special Election, "but we had to vote on General Assistance anyway." Sorry, BMOM did not know we would be voting on General Assistance when they started their petition drive or got most of their signatures at the preceeding Special Election on General assistance they did not know there would be anything else to put on the ballot with them, obviously didn't care so I am charging BMOM with the full cost of both. BMOM having successfully drained the elections account with the Special Town Meeting and Special Election the selectmen then feel they could not apply for $510,000 in Community Development Block Grants which would have primarily benefited the working poor and middle class homeowners of Strathglass Park which would have also helped the town providing an historic tourist destination, bringing apartment buildings up to code which could well save lives and certainly improving the towns appearance increasing the likelihood of new businesses entering providing vitally needed jobs,and making other desperately needed repairs around town also increasing the likelihood of new businesses entering increasing the tax base. The actual price tag to the taxpayers for this one $51,000 donation to BMOM this year is over $561,000 cash. Long-term who knows the cost in lives, quality of life, jobs, tax revenue for the town, and lost business and new business opportunities from the loss of benefits because the selectmen did not get the $510,000 in grants since we didn't have the money to hold a special town meeting to vote by show of hands to accept this money. This years cash donation to BMOM should go down on the books as $561,000 plus the cost of the Special Town Meeting and Special Election.

I apologize for any incoherence or typos, I just woke up to attack the snow. Just glad I am home this time and the wife isn't having to deal with it.

 's picture

Credibility

Credibility comes, not from being right, but from being careful. When an issue arises, I tend to do one of four things:

1. Ask Questions - If I don't know something (like the inter-library loan policies), I will ask questions until I receive some clarification
2. Qualify My Statements - If I am unsure instead of saying "the Charter says..." I will say " I believe the Charter says.... ... and you may want to check"
3. Make a statement as fact - If I know the answer, obviously, I will make the statement as a fact. Online, I often will cut and paste supporting information.
4. Say Nothing - In instances where I have no opinion, or choose not to express an opinion, I will just say nothing.

Nobody knows everything, but through years of education and experience, some have a better grasp of a subject than others. I would never try to tell anyone about paper making, mechanical/engineering, or construction, but I do have education and experience in other fields. That does not make me smarter or better than anyone else, just as being unfamiliar with engineering doesn't make me any less intelligent than people in that field. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and those who respect the strengths and weaknesses of others are the ones who gain the most credibility.

 's picture

Mostly credibility comes from

Mostly credibility comes from being knowledgible, honest, and forthright. You must also not be dense. Like I said your credibility is in your mind. It is also very difficult to explain things to you that you do not want to accept. It seems that if you feel something is going to conflict with your opinion or stand you refuse to process it. That was highlighted in the posts from today I read when I got back from my trip. Even when you report facts you don't seem to make connections you knew how many people work at the library. You also reported in the end you knew about membership but you previously insisted Rumford was serving as regional center for the program which was an attempt to try to get control back and make your opinion and stand valid despite the faulty reasoning and information set you chose to try to apply. On the inter-library loan program, it should not have taken the great lengths Armymom went to to explain this. No one expects you to know everything, it is just normal for an adult of average of intelligence to make connections and inferences without every itty-bitty miniscule detail having to be explained repeatedly. It also causes people to be suspicious of what you say wondering, did he get that right or has put up walls because what is reality doesn't mesh with his opinions or stand or has it not been explained so he understands how it really is.

 's picture

New restrictions

I can hardly wait for the new restrictions so that you and armymom, candiceanne, and certain other users can figure out who you are. It seems that you and armymom share a similar profile description. Strange. :)

 's picture

Give it a rest

I have no idea why armymom felt the need to invest so much time on that discussion. The logical response to my question would have been to identify that the inter-library loan program not only requires a bonded person to be present to exchange the items, but it also requires the library to be open at the time. Had that been clarified at the beginning, there would have been much less discussion.

 's picture

Town Hall

Actually, I don't spend that much time at the town hall. I do stop in each morning to say good morning, but unless there is something pressing going on, I usually don't get wrapped up in talking about town affairs. Of the brief time I do spend, most of it is chatting with John or Tom when they aren't busy. On the average day, I would say I spend less than a half hour between all offices.

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