Skiing in Maine will be topic of fireside chat

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POLAND — The Poland Historical Society and the Ski Museum of Maine will offer a free “Fireside Chat” on Maine’s rich skiing heritage at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 17, at the Old Schoolhouse, Route 26, next to the Poland Town Office.

Approximately 100 photos and other graphic images, some more than a century old, will be projected on a screen. The pictures were loaned to the Ski Museum of Maine by historical societies and private individuals around the state, then converted to digital slides for the program.

The narrator will be Scott Andrews, a Portland-based ski journalist and museum director who assembled the photos and performed much of the research. Andrews has been a snow sports journalist for 23 years and is a writer for several magazines, including “Skiing Heritage.”

Andrews notes that the story of Maine skiing started in the late 19th century with the arrival of Scandinavian immigrants in Aroostook and Oxford counties. Immigrant craftsmen made the first skis used in this state, but they were used strictly for transportation during that era.

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Skiing evolved into a sport in the early years of the 20th century. A Portland man wrote America’s first book on the sport of skiing in 1905, and the Poland Spring resort began promoting winter sports getaways in 1909. The show includes half a dozen Poland Spring skiing photos from the early years of the 20th century.

“Skiing has been part of the Maine way of life since the late 1800s, offering recreation and competition to both residents and visitors,” said Andrews. “Our museum’s objective is to feed the passion of Maine skiers and to illustrate the significance of our sport to our state’s lifestyle and economy.”

Fireside Chats are traveling outreach programs of the Ski Museum of Maine, a nonprofit organization located in Kingfield. There is no charge for the program, but donations are accepted.

Refreshments will be served following the talk. Call Mary at 998-4391 for more information.

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