Since Julie Parisien, (now Nuce) returned to Maine following her husband Tim, who completed his training as a doctor, the Olympian from Auburn has been giving back.She has coached junior racers and talked with countless school children promoting the Winterkids program to get kids outdoors in winter.A few years ago, when I watched her coaching at Black Mountain in Rumford, she told me of her desire to help promote skiing in Maine by visiting all of Maine’s ski areas with her family. 

    At that time, William, the youngest, wasn’t ready to ski with the rest of the family all day, but now at six and in the first grade, he is keeping up at least for part of the day, allowing the family to ski more together.

     That day at Black Mountain we talked about how she and her family could ski all 18 of Maine’s ski areas and the subject of Ski Maine’s Peak to Peak Challenge came up.This program is designed for skiers and snowboarders to keep track of every ski area they visit during the season, and have a chance to win prizes based on how many areas they ski.  Details on the Challenge can be found at

     Ski Maine jumped on the idea of having Julie as a spokesperson for the promotion, and last Monday she and three of the children spent the day in Portland visiting TV stations as the first step in getting out the word.  Part of Julie’s message will be about the National Bring a Friend campaign.This started a few years ago after National Ski Areas Association survey showed that most skiers enter the sport by being brought along with friends.While she encourages bringing a friend, she will also be handing out invitation cards for the program, which carries a prize of a trip to Utah for the skier signing up the most friends for lessons.Autograph sessions are also planned at host areas. 

      A key part of the campaign will be to emphasize skiing as a family sport, and what better way to do that than to have a family skiing all the various areas from and riding lifts like the rope tows at Spruce Mountain and the sophisticated lifts at the big resorts.Julie’s family is an example.Alex 12, (seventh grade), Henry 11, (sixth grade), Josie 9, (third grade) and William can all ski together with their parents on many runs, something that happens in no other sport.Julie said, “Alex and Henry can go all day.”  

     Naturally I wanted to know what it’s like for a worldclass ski racer to ski with kids.


“It’s a major challenge to turn off my judgment,” Parisien said.  “I watch how they interpret the mountain and follow them along.They don’t ski it the way I would, but it shows me that there are many ways to ski a run.”

     When I asked what a skier should be looking for as they ski the big resorts and the tiny hills, she replied, “The goal is to find the soul of every area, that special spot on every mountain, or that local who has skied there forever.”   

     I noted that finding some of those special people might require mid week visits and cited Shawnee Peak as an example.Because it’s the closest ski area,I often sneak up there for a morning midweek and I get to ski with some of those skiers.I can find a bunch in the Great Room that range in age from mid 70s to mid 80s.  They ski every mid week morning, but they don’t ski weekends.Another regular is Bruce Cole, who guided the freestyle program in the Stump years and was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame this year. 

     This is one example of the interesting skiers Julie and her family will discover this season as they tour the state.  Her original goal was at least 12 of Maine’s ski areas, but as we talked she realized that with a few mid week visits and some weekends where they could get two areas, all 18 would be within reach.Next weekend will get the family off to a fast start.Sunday River is on tap for Saturday and Mt. Abram on Sunday.Saturday night Julie will be inducted into the Matterhorn Hall of Fame.Unfortunately I couldn’t reach anyone there to get details on the Hall of Fame there, but I know Julie and the family will be at that popular après ski spot on Sunday River Road this coming Saturday evening.  It should be a lot of fun.

     I’m looking forward to joining them at a few of the mountains this season as the Nuce family pursues their quest.  Naturally this new chapter in Julie’s life brings back personal memories. 

     I watched her brothers ski when I worked at Lost Valley in the 1970s and Julie’s mother, Jill, introduced me to the girls who would tag along when she picked up the boys after skiing. In 1986, I got a phone call from Hank McKee, an editor for Ski Racing magazine.He asked me if I knew anything about these Parisien kids that were winning races around the Northeast and moving up in the alpine rankings.I met with Dr. Victor and Jill Parisien at their home near Lost Valley and got the story.

     Not long after, I was at Waterville Valley in 1990 sitting next to Jill at the finish where she told me how Julie had said, “Mom, I can beat these women.”  I was standing next to Hank McKee at the finish when Julie completed her second run, winning her first World Cup GS.  That was followed by three Olympics and many other championships.Julie always credited the example of other Maine skiers who preceded her to the U.S. Ski Team for her success.She became the first Maine alpine skier to win a World Cup race and now she is the example.

See you on the slopes.

Dave Irons is a freelance writer who lives in Westbrook.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. 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: