FARMINGTON — Thanks to unflagging community support and a lack of snow in Augusta, Titcomb Mountain was wicked busy Saturday.

They hosted alpine racing for about 200 downhill skiing athletes from colleges across New England.

Titcomb also had more than 300 high-end, cross-country skiers for the New England Nordic Ski Association’s prestigious Eastern Cup, because a dearth of snow bumped the event from Augusta to the Farmington ski hill.

Not to mention hundreds of support families, friends and coaches, all of whom combined with the athletes, packed area lodging for miles around Friday and Saturday.

“This is probably one of the busiest days in our history,” Titcomb Mountain Manager Karleen Andrews said.

She said the impact on Titcomb and the community “is tremendous.”

Tammy Hutchinson, general manager of the Comfort Inn & Suites 5 miles away on Route 2 in Wilton, said the hotel’s 86 rooms wouldn’t have sold out were it not for Titcomb’s races this weekend.

“These events, they bring in more business for the area,” Hutchinson said.

“Last week, we had quite a few in-house from the (NENSA national) ski races at Black Mountain in Rumford,” she said. “We get a lot of business from the Rumford area, being the only brand hotel in the area.”

Due to the lack of natural snow, business has been slow, but not this weekend, Hutchinson said. Four ski groups, with family and friends, were staying there Friday and Saturday for the Eastern Cup.

“They’ve definitely given us a boost,” she said.

Katlyn Wells of the Mount Blue Motel on Route 2 said people from Vermont and New Hampshire booked their 18 rooms for Friday and Saturday for the Eastern Cup.

Patrick Boivin, co-owner of Boivin’s Harvest House Restaurant on Route 2, said business has been good there, too. They had two large groups of about 45 people from the ski event Friday night.

Originally, NENSA scheduled the Bond Brook course in Augusta to host Saturday’s sprint races, and Titcomb would host the longer distance, freestyle Nordic races on Sunday.

Instead, Titcomb, the backup site, got both the sprint and freestyle races.

Titcomb Chief of Competition Rose Hines began planning for the Eastern Cup in March, seeking volunteers. She got 50 to 60 people to run the technical aspects of Sunday’s races.

They also needed to find more food and water than they normally stock.

“We got a lot of food donations from the community and our membership to put this on,” Andrews said.

“We had one woman who called 75 folks for food donations, and then we asked more people to help with the commissary and we added a second station outside so we could serve stews and burgers outside,” she said.

Volunteers also helped with parking.

But the biggest booster shot came from a capital campaign drive launched last spring by the Titcomb Ski Club Education Foundation and the community.

Andrews said Kyes Insurance and Franklin Savings Bank challenged the foundation to match their $60,000 grant for much-needed capital improvements at the ski hill. The clubs matched that and added another $2,000 this week, Andrews said.

Of that, roughly $25,000 was used to buy more snow-making guns, which allowed Titcomb to make snow to open Dec. 31.

“We wouldn’t have been open New Year’s Eve if it wasn’t for those new snow-making guns,” Andrews said. “So, there’s a lot of stuff going on here, a lot of community support. I think most folks see us as an asset to families in the area for winter recreation.”

The new guns also made it possible to make snow for the first time on Titcomb’s Nordic trails, but they needed more than 1,000 feet of water hoses and air lines to reach that area.

Fire departments in Farmington, Industry and New Sharon solved that problem.

“It’s a great event,” Andrews said. “It gets people out and coming here, checking us out, seeing what we can do for Nordic and downhill skiing. It’s really immeasurable.”

 [email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: