RUMFORD — Ski patrol apprentice Maia Belskis, 17, of Rumford, finds it rewarding to know she can help if someone gets hurt skiing.

The Mountain Valley High School junior is in her third year participating in Black Mountain of Maine’s Ski Patrol Apprenticeship program. It gives Mountain Valley students the opportunity to learn about the ski industry — from on-hill medical training and rescue evacuation to the logistics of running equipment and the economics of the business.

Belskis also volunteers for MedCare ambulance service. These experiences are giving her training to enter a medical field; she hopes to become a nurse anesthetist. “Everything that goes into this I have a passion for,” she said.

Students who participate in the program must have a letter of recommendation and be in good standing as a student. They must also be experienced skiers.

“You need to be able to get to a scene quickly,” said Belskis, who learned to ski at Black Mountain when she was 6.

The nonprofit ski area has youth in mind with most of its offerings, including ski camps, lessons and free passes for children in grades kindergarten to second.

Black Mountain opened for the season Dec. 26, said Amanda Carey, who was selling lift tickets Saturday with her mother, Kathy Carey.

It will offer two 12-week race camps for children ages 7 to 18. Those new to skiing can learn by participating in Kinder Club, for ages 3 to 6, or Snow Kids, ages 7 to 14, which last six weeks. Individual lessons are also available.

The mountain has 5 kilometers of Nordic trails open. It will offer tubing in January once more snow can be made, according to Kathy Carey. Eleven 11 trails are open to downhill skiing and snowboarding, she said.

Skiers and snowboarders can look forward to Free Ski nights when local businesses sponsor lift passes. These are usually from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursdays. Dates will be announced on the ski area’s website, skiblackmountain.org.

To accommodate those on holiday break, the ski area is open Friday to Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Beginning Friday, Jan. 11, the regular hours will be Fridays and Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Lift passes are $40 for Rumford residents and $45 for nonresidents.

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Lucas Nickerson, 8, of Sudbury, Mass., left, and Mikey Bobrowieck, 12, of Lisbon ski at Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford on Saturday. (Sun Journal photo by Abigail Austin)

Skiers enjoy skiing and snowboarding at Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford on Saturday. The nonprofit ski area, which opened for the season Wednesday, offers programs for youth, such as race camps and Ski Patrol Apprenticeship. (Sun Journal photo by Abigail Austin)


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