On skiing: Skiing Hall of Fame class named

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Selection Committee Chairman Bob Flynn has released the names of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame Class of 2014.

Eight Maine skiers will be inducted at the 12th annual banquet at Lost Valley in Auburn on Oct. 24. Included in the class are a pied piper cross country skier, a long-time college ski coach, a pioneering snowboarder, a big mountain skier who piled up first descents, a pair of Olympic alpine ski racers and a paralympic sit skier.

With the induction of this class the number of skiers recognized by the Hall of Fame since its first induction banquet in 2003 will reach 105. The Maine Ski Hall of Fame was formed to recognize skiers who have brought distinction to Maine skiing or made significant contributions to the sport. They may include competitors, coaches, instructors, ski patrollers, ski area builders, managers and volunteers. As a division of the Ski Museum of Mane, the Hall of Fame records the history of Maine skiing through the biographies produced for each class. To date, nearly 50,000 words have been written in the annual programs and are archived in the museum and on the web site, www.skimuseumofmaine.org.

Dave Carter was an outstanding cross country competitor in high school and college, but his biggest contribution came in developing cross country ski centers in Oxford and Bethel, where he led countless young athletes into the sport. By introducing so many to the sport, Carter has enhanced the cross country experience for skiers throughout Western Maine.

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Brud Folger was a successful competitive skier in high school and college who made his mark in coaching. He coached the UMaine ski team for 28 years, competing in NCAA Division I against the top teams in the country. During his tenure, he had many skiers qualify in all four events and his teams won the Maine State Ski Championships four times in a row.

Nikki Pilavakis-Davoren won her titles in boarder cross before it was an Olympic event, which is why her victories are unknown to many. She started on a newly-formed European tour and won enough prize money to focus on SBX full time. In 1999, Nikki won the title of Women’s World Champion. In four short years she had become the best female SBX competitor in the world.

Bill Briggs was born in Augusta without a hip socket on his right side and had to have surgeries as a child simply to make it possible for him to walk. While his doctors believed he would eventually spend his life in a wheelchair, he proved to be a natural athlete who taught himself to ski. He was certified as a ski instructor and became associated with Snow King Mountain in Wyoming. It was on much bigger mountains where he became a legend in skiing. After completing a series of climbs and descents of major mountains, including Mount Ranier, he had his hip permanently fused. In June 1971, he skied the 13,770-foot Grand Teton after hiking to the top. His feats led to his induction into the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame.

Carl Burnett was paralyzed below the waist in a car crash at the age of five and took up disabled skiing at age 12. Three years later, he swept all four junior national titles. Named to the U.S. Disabled Team in 1998 he went on to compete for nine years in Nor-Am World Cup and Olympics as a sit-skier. He skied in the Paralympics in Salt Lake City in 2002 and in Torino, Italy in 2006, where he finished 5th in the downhill.

Tom Gyger is one of those ski patrolmen who has done a lot more than just show up and patrol weekends. Rather than settle for simply meeting the standards of a Senior Patroller, Tom got involved as a first aid instructor and served on the first aid staff of the Eastern Division’s junior seminar and went on to serve on the National Junior Seminar’s Medical Staff. When NSP transitioned from Red Cross First Aid to its own Winter Emergency Care program, Tom was in the middle of the work to make sure everything went smoothly. For his work and devotion he was awarded the NSP Gold Merit Star.

Rob and Anna Parisien are joining their sister, Julie, in the Maine Ski Hall of Fame, the first family to have three siblings so honored. While Julie is better known, Rob and Anna had outstanding ski racing careers leading to the Olympics in 1992 for Rob and in 1994 for Anna. After attending Burke Mountain Academy, where both had impressive junior results, it was on to USSA competition. Anna dominated J-II and J-I competition earning a place on the U.S. Ski Team in 1991. She retired from ski racing after the 1994 season at age 21. Rob earned his spot on the U.S. Ski Team in 1987 and was the top American finisher in GS in the 1991 World Championships, and in the Albertville Olympics in 1992. Like his sister he retired early to attend college, graduating from the University of Colorado in 1995 and Dartmouth Medical School in 1999.

You can mark your calendar for October 24 at Lost Valley with details of the banquet to be announced this summer. Also, if you know of someone deserving of this recognition, nomination information is on the museum website.

This past week, my email inbox has been filling with announcements from ski areas about vacation events. Areas such as Lost Valley and Mt. Abram, normally with limited hours, will go to full operation for the week. We have been getting reports of all trails open, and the new snow should really set things up.

See you on the slopes.

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