On Skiing: Another season gets under way

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For 15 years, the annual Maine Ski Hall of Fame Induction Banquet has unofficially kicked off the ski season. This year’s event drew more than 300 skiers to Sunday River’s Grand Summit Hotel to recognize eight Maine skiers who made significant contributions to Maine skiing.

This year’s class included Steve DeAngelis, a successful ski coach at Maranacook, Bruce Miles, a leader in all-things fund raising at Sugarloaf, Chip Cochrane, an outstanding competitor and CVA alpine coach, Karen Hunter Korn an exceptional U.S. Team Freestyle skier, Ed Rock, a 34-year GM at Shawnee Peak, the late Ralph Ostlund, who owns more EC races after 50 than most in a lifetime, David Chamberlain, a U.S. Team Nordic skier, and Dick Taylor, a successful Nordic coach.

The entire list of members can be found on the web site www.skimusuemofmaine.org. The museum, above the Sugarloaf Outlet Ski Shop in Kingfield, had a grand re-opening Friday after extensive work on the interior and reorganizing of the displays. If you visit Sugarloaf this winter, plan on extra time to spend in the museum to learn the fascinating history of skiing in Maine.

A couple of weeks after the Hall of Fame Banquet, we traveled to Boston for the Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo. This annual show attracts as many as 45,000 skiers each year. The new equipment is on display with reps to explain the different models, and ski areas from small hills to mega-resorts have booths to hand out posters, trail maps and brochures. Most have some kind of drawing for free lift tickets. One of the easiest ways to take in the show is by bus. Concord lines out of Portland drops us at South Station, where it’s a 15-minute walk to the World Trade Center, or a short trip on the subway. When we figure the gas and tolls along with parking the bus doesn’t cost much more and the ride home is a lot easier than driving.

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The next event in the ski season was the annual Ski Maine launch party in Portland. This was held at the Custom House on Nov. 16, and the ski areas from our part of Maine were there, along with Carter’s Cross Country Centers. This was a chance to talk with the folks at some of our ski areas and learn what’s new.

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Now it’s on with the season. Ski areas were happy to be at the Boston show with snow already being made and, in the case of Sugarloaf and Sunday River, already being open. That’s a goal for a number of New England ski areas, but it doesn’t always happen. This year, a number of ski areas were in good shape by Thanksgiving and expanding terrain. The rest are waiting for a lasting cool down but we’ll see most of them opening in the next few weeks.

Opening days will depend on the weather, but there are events on the schedule. Next Friday, Lost Valley will host the annual L-A Harley Coats for Kids Holiday Ball. Details of this benefit evening can be found at www.lostvalleyski.com.

Sugarloaf will have the demos next Saturday along with a holiday fashion show and their tree lighting festival is set for the 16th.

If you’re reading this early enough you can head for Sunday River to ski with 250 Santas taking to the slopes for the annual Santa Sunday. Winterfest is scheduled for Dec. 16.

Mount Abram has the newly expanded Loose Boots Lounge open weekends, and that’s where the Ugly Sweater Party will happen on Dec. 16.

Shawnee Peak will have Santa on hand on Dec. 23, and potential racers are reminded it’s sign up time for Racing with the Moon, the popular mid-week racing series that takes place a couple of night a week.

This should be a reminder that this is sign-up time for any number of activities at Maine’s ski areas. There are race leagues, special learn-to-ski programs and numerous other happenings and many required sign ups ahead of time.

If you have yet to ski this season, is your gear ready? Skis and boots need attention. If you properly prepped your skis before storage, all they need is to have the protective wax heated and scraped. If not, they made need tuning and waxing, and a preseason binding release check is always advised. It’s also a good idea to try on your boots at home before skiing. A summer spent in soft footwear allows our feet to expand a bit. Buckle those feet into your boots and wear them for an hour or so to make sure the fit is still right. You don’t want to discover a new pressure point or two once on the mountain.

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Finally, we have a happy birthday wish.

Rumford’s Chummy Broomhall, a two-time Olympic Cross Country racer and a member of the first Maine Ski Hall of Fame class in 2003, is 98 today. Last year, the Chisholm Ski Club put out a call for cards for Chummy, who is in the Maine Veteran’s Home, 477 High Street, South Paris, 04281. He received more than 150 cards.

This year, a call was put out to members of the Ski Museum of Maine in hopes of exceeding last year’s total. I’m sure Chummy would appreciate more cards, even if they arrive a bit late. Happy Birthday Chummy.

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