Becky Woods, the Bates College women’s ski coach who also chairs the Maine Ski Hall of Fame selection committee, has announced the Class of 2018.

Six skiers and one historic figure will be honored this fall.

This year’s honorees include two freestyle champions, a cross-country coach and pioneer retailer, a ski coach and race official, an Olympic biathlete, a key ski resort executive and the first skier to ski Mount Washington.

Karen Colburn

A native of Bangor, Karen Colburn grew up skiing at Squaw Mountain in Greenville, joining the junior masters program, the precursor to freestyle. In the mid-1970s, Colburn was a freestyle pioneer, winning everything in Maine and moving onto the national scene by winning the first ever USSA Women’s National Amateur Freestyle Championship at Killington in 1975. At 18, she earned a place on the Professional Freestyle Association’s World Trophy Tour, where she excelled in moguls, aerials and ballet. Colburn was a top skier among the pioneers who established freestyle leading to its inclusion in World Cup and Olympic events.

Leon Akers

Following four years on the Andover High School ski team, Leon Akers lettered on the UMaine ski team for three years and coached all four events at Mexico High School for 10 years, developing such skiers as the Miller brothers.

In addition to coaching, he founded the Akers Ski Shop in 1958, importing ski equipment from Finland, Norway and Sweden and supplying equipment for schools and colleges throughout the United States. He continues to maintain trails on his own property available to all at no charge.

Anne Dowling

Starting at age 3, Anne Dowling skied Sugarloaf, working her way up through the freestyle program. At ages 6, 7 and 8, she was winning her age groups in Eastern Freestyle competition and made her first national competition at age 11. After winning the combined title at the junior World Championships in France at age 13, she was on her way. From 1985 to 1995 she competed around the world as a member of the U.S. Freestyle team and was consistently one of the top skiers on the team.

Norman Libby

Owner of a Bridgton Insurance agency, Norman Libby may have been Maine’s first winter adventurer. He was one of, if not the first, to ski Pleasant Mountain in the 1890’s. Libby was also the first to actually ski Mount Washington. In 1906, he scaled the mountain by climbing along the Cog Railway in the West, and in 1907 from the East, up the Auto Road. On the second trip, he and a friend actually skied all the way from Bridgton, ascending several smaller peaks along the way.

David Stonebraker

David Stonebraker coached Hebron Academy ski teams for 37 years, becoming a leader in prep school skiing. He helped craft the bylaws of the Maine Prep League and also was active in the Maine Alpine Racing Association, serving as tournament director at USSA races in Maine. In the mid 1980s Dave helped lay out the Hebron’s current cross-country trail system, which he continues to work on and maintain to this day.

Kristina Sabasteanski

After competing in Olympic biathlon as a member of the U.S. Army, Kristina Sabasteanski brought her Nordic skills to Maine and promptly got involved in Maine skiing. At Pineland, she founded the Veteran’s Adaptive Sports and Training Program, which involves our veterans in skiing and healthy outdoor activities. From 2003-2006, she was a spokesperson for Winterkids, visiting classrooms promoting Nordic skiing and motivating kids to get into outdoor sports in winter. For the past four years, she has been a New England Nordic Skiing Association presenter on Women’s Days.

Warren Cook

When his uncle King Cummings, chairman of the board at Sugarloaf, called him to help reorganize the ski area, Warren Cook answered the call and used his business skills to help bring the resort out of Chapter 11 without any loss of operations or jobs.

His willingness to work in the front lines set an example for Sugarloaf employees, inspiring greater performance in guest services. Warren’s greatest legacy is the long list of employees he mentored who have gone on to fill important positions, not only at Sugarloaf but elsewhere in the industry, including John Diller, 18 years as Sugarloaf GM; Nancy Marshall, operating one of Maine’s top PR Firms; Chip Carey, who has been a leading marketing director from Sugarloaf to Jackson Hole; and current Sunday River president Dana Bullen.

The Class of 2018 will be inducted at the 16th Annual Maine Ski Hall of Fame Banquet at Sunday River on Saturday, October 27. Reservation information will be on the Ski Museum website at www.skimuseumofmaine.org in July.

Plenty of snow

At the beginning of this month I made the point that March can be our snowiest month and the snow gods came through. I don’t have exact figures, but every ski area in the three northern states received at least two feet of snow this month and according to an email I got, Stowe picked up six feet. I think it would be safe say that up to four feet hit the Maine mountains, and combined with colder-than-normal temperatures, the result is a season extended to the first of April and beyond. We know that Sunday River and Sugarloaf will go well into April, barring a major meltdown.

What is most important is that areas that often close in March are staying open. Lost Valley, where mid-March is the usual closing date, will be open through next weekend, as will Mt. Abram. Shawnee Peak usually makes it to the end of March and is still going strong. Crowd size will probably determine how far into April they will operate.

The weather will determine how late the season goes, but as long as we get freezing nights, even if temps hit 50 during the day, the outlook is for plenty of skiing still to come.

See you on the slopes.


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