FARMINGTON — Many exceptional skiers and riders find their start at Titcomb Mountain. Some find lifetime careers from their early days on the slopes and, in turn, give back to the ski industry.

The year 2015 will always hold a special significance for two of those women who learned to ski and race at Titcomb Mountain.

Megan Roberts of Farmington and Jill Sickels Matlock, now of Colorado, were inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame in October.

Roberts, now general manager of Titcomb Mountain, said she has joined people who have shaped the ski and snowboarding industry. This is the third year of her second stint at the job she has done for a total of seven years.

Since she started learning to ski at age 5, Roberts has loved the sport, the fresh air and the meditative state sometimes found as she concentrates on the turns of a downhill run.

“I’ve dedicated a lot of my life to the ski industry,” she said. “It really has become a lifestyle that I love. This recognizes what I have done.”

From the Buddy Werner weekly races at Titcomb to the Mt. Blue High School ski team, Roberts went on to become a Division I racer at Plymouth State College. After college, she headed for the Rockies where she found power skiing and high altitudes.

There was time spent coaching and teaching in the Breckenridge race program where she was the only female race coach at that time, Dr. Kristen Whittier Lorenz wrote in her nomination of Roberts for the Hall of Fame.

Roberts returned to Maine and worked for the Snow Bowl Race Program in Camden where she also started a Woman’s Way program, she said. The program taught mothers of racers to learn to ski.

In 2000, she was the first female hired as general manager at Titcomb for the Farmington Ski Club. She started working on marketing the mountain and creating a website for it.

There were other little things that made a difference, she said, including installation of new fast-flushing toilets.

A new Pony lift and trail for beginners has also been created. It is great for their self-esteem.

“We’re cognizant of the fact that the sport needs people to learn to ski,” she said.

During her tenure, membership was increased, bringing in more revenue, boosting morale and making possible other improvements to the area. Her dedication was rewarded with a life membership at Titcomb Mountain,” according to the Maine Ski Hall of Fame program.

She has served on the board of the Ski Museum of Maine and was instrumental in securing space to display the history of skiing in Maine. Started in Farmington, the museum has since moved to Kingfield. 

Roberts credits her parents for their support and introduction to the sport. She is one of five daughters born to Gwilym and Patricia Roberts, who wanted each of them to learn skiing, music and swimming.

But, it was skiing that Megan loved.

Titcomb is now so busy and fun to the brim, she said. 

“I think there is a lot of enthusiasm going on as people hear about new programs,” she said. “There have also been some great snow years. It’s not great this year but we’re still holding.”

The newly-lit 2.3 kilometer Nordic trail draws people nightly along with development of other trails. Students at the University of Maine at Farmington regularly ski the mountain in an agreement with the college.

Roberts credits the many volunteers who step forward to help keep Titcomb Mountain running and growing. She said Dick Forster has been a huge help and an insistent motivator.

“It is a difficult job as manager,” she said. “There is so much to do but it makes it great that volunteers are willing to jump in and take hold of a project.”

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