RUMFORD — Black Mountain Ski Resort was swarming with hundreds of families of all ages on Saturday afternoon during the second day of the three-day Winterfest under a rare bluebird sky at 30 degrees.

The lodge was packed with people eating lunch while volunteers hawked merchandise and the Marley Beverage Co. gave out free samples of its drinks in the lodge lobby.

Parking lots were so full that vehicles were parked along one side of the access road and along both sides of Isthmus Road.

The Chisholm Ski Club and Black Mountain were also hosting the 2015 U16 Nordic Qualifier Races and Eastern High School Championships. The top 21 boys and 22 girls will be named to the EHSC team to represent Maine at the 2015 NENSA U16 and Eastern High School Championships.

“Black Mountain is finally taking off,” said Sue Adley, Winterfest co-organizer with Sherry Milligan. “This place is packed!”

Adley said she had to park in a friend’s yard. Thanks to all of the natural snow and volunteers, Black Mountain was 100-percent open, even its glades, she said.


“It’s a beautiful day for Winterfest and we have a great crew of volunteers working to bring this event here,” Adley said. “They’ve been working for months on it. Fireworks tonight, and we’ve been having scenic chairlift rides, and we’ll have our Never Ever Alpine Race tomorrow.”

That race, which with another fun race will wrap up Winterfest, starts at 1 p.m. Sunday. “It’s for little kids who have never really raced before, Adley said. “We want to get them into racing.”

Adley said Roger Arsenault, president of the Black Mountain board of directors, and the Chisholm Ski Club set up a course on the beginners’ trail.

“The (children) get to wear number bibs and a lot of these kids have never ever raced before, so we put this Never Ever Race together and we have a nice little prize for everybody at the end of the race,” she said.

The other race, which starts at 3 p.m., is wackier. It is called the Duct Tape Derby Cardboard Box Race and will be followed by an Aprés Ski Party in the Last Run Pub. From 2 to 5 p.m., there will also be an Open Mic! jam.

The fourth annual event kicked off Friday with an Arts Council art show and live music with local favorites Noel & Don.


However, the night’s Torchlight Parade didn’t happen because a snowstorm in the Carolinas prevented the torches from being delivered to Black Mountain, Adley said. That event will be held on another weekend.

“The kids were here, but the torches weren’t,” she said.

Winterfest isn’t operated as a moneymaker for the resort. It’s held as a cabin fever reliever to get children and their families out of the house and skiing or snowboarding. And the weather cooperated.

“This is awesome to have a day like today,” Adley said. “You couldn’t ask for a better day. It’s just perfect for us.”

It was “just perfect,” too, for volunteer Leisa Barker of Portland. “This place is like a home away from home for me. We have a good crowd of a lot of nice people and it’s a lot of fun. It’s fun to see them come here and ski. It’s really affordable here and it’s nice to see families skiing together and spending time together.”

Michelle Phillips of Rochester, N.H., said she brought her family to Rumford to visit her parents, Jim and Sylvia Wendt. “We’re really enjoying it here today,” she said after sinking three straight L.L. Bean boots in the Bean Boot Toss net for a prize.

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