BETHEL — In recognition of Women’s History Month, the Ski Museum of Maine and the Bethel Historical Society will present “Sisters of Skade: Women in Maine Skiing 1870-2016” at the Bethel Inn Resort at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, March 26.

Skade is an ancient Norse goddess closely associated with hunting, mountains, winter and skiing. The program is free and open to the public.

Scott Andrews, the museum’s research director, will give a slideshow presentation on women in Maine skiing from its inception in the late 19th century through the present.

The talk includes historic photos, ranging from recreational skiers to competitive champions. The first part of the talk will look at ordinary women who made a major, positive impact on the sport via traditional women’s roles. By contrast, the latter part of the talk will recount some of the world’s most extraordinary athletes and their connection to Maine.

One highlight of the talk will be Maine’s role in advancing the cause of women’s ski-jumping. It was a topic that generated headlines and lawsuits in the early 2000s, when advocates tried to convince the International Olympic Committee to include women’s jumping in the Winter Games. The women finally earned their right to jump in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Andrews notes that a long and tortuous road preceded that landmark event. One of the early positive milestones was the International Women’s Ski Jumping Championships, hosted by Maine’s oldest ski club and held in Rumford in 1996. One of those 1996 competitors later emerged as the principal voice for women’s ski-jumping; later, she was one of the American women who jumped in Sochi.


The second part of the program will be a panel discussion featuring women leaders, both past and present, in several fields of the sport and industry of skiing. Panelists will include Julie Parisien, Olympic skier; Nikki Pilavakis-Davoren, snowboard cross champion; and Leslie Miller Morrill, cross-country ski champion. Women ski industry speakers will include Barbara Schneider, executive director of Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation; Megan Roberts, general manager of Titcomb Mountain; and Leigh Breidenbach, former director of the University of Maine at Farmington UMF Ski Industries program.

Those attending may rent cross-country ski equipment and ski for half price at Carter’s XC Ski Center and the Bethel Inn Cross Country Ski & Snowshoe Center the Saturday and Sunday of the event.

Special weekend lodging rates are available at the Bethel Inn Resort and Bethel Village Motel.

FMI: 207-824-2908.

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