I’m sure I mentioned in a previous column that I was part of the first Ski-A-Thon to benefit Maine Handicapped Skiing. That would have been about 1980. My participation since has been to support a skier, and I expect to hear from that skier if she will be part of a team when it returns April 2.

Dave Irons, Ski Columnist

Maine Handicapped Skiing is now Maine Adaptive Sports, but except for an expanded role, the cause is the same. Skiers are urged to begin forming their teams and gathering pledges and going to the Sunday River or Maine Adaptive websites for details on registering for the event. If the event is going to be the same as in the past, skiers will gather at the designated lift (previously the Locke Mountain triple) and will begin making their runs.

Although the most direct route will be T-2 and Monday Mourning, skiers can take whatever trails they are comfortable with, as long as they use the same lift each time to have their runs recorded by the scorekeepers. If the scoring is the same as in the past, skiers will have signed up pledges for each vertical foot skied and will attempt to make sure they get the maximum from each of their pledges.

My experience was simple. I found out what the maximum each of my sponsors was willing to donate and planned my day accordingly to get that amount. I figured I could easily make 20 runs and reach my goal of $1,000.

Of course, I was almost 40 years younger in 1980 and still the patrol director at Sunday River, so 20 runs a day was not an unusual total. In those days, the only thing that stood between me and 20 runs a day was patrol activity, which was often sitting in the shack at the top of the chair lift.

If you would like to join a ski patrol and think that all you have to do is ski, give it another thought. Now, I’m not complaining. I did my share of skiing, and it certainly elevated my abilities, but there is a lot more to the job than skiing. I won’t go into details on patrolling, as most of my readers have read plenty about that aspect of my skiing background.


For the record, I was a member of Les Otten’s team in that first Ski-A-Thon, and Les used his persuasive power to wring high pledges from the vendors who supplied things such as food and beverages to Sunday River. Our team won that contest and each of us received a trip to Vail. The important part is that a total of over $100,000 was raised that day, and Maine Handicapped Skiing had a real treasury.

Over the years, these skiers raised into six figures each year, making it a vital fundraiser for this organization. It was interrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, but is now coming back to once again beef up the treasury of a key organization in getting disabled athletes active.

I hope when you’re approached for a pledge, you’ll be generous in welcoming back the Ski-A-Thon.

See you on the slopes.

Dave Irons is a freelance writer and columnist who hails from Westbrook. He has been contributing to the Sun Journal for many years and is among the most respected ski writers in the Northeast. He also is a member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. Write to him at DaveiSkiGolf@aol.com.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.