NORWAY — In a school district with an established reputation for high school athletics, perhaps no coach has been more memorable or impactful in Oxford Hills than Chris Easton.

Chris Easton coach Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School ski teams from 1974 to 2023. Supplied photo

Easton’s coaching career began in 1974 as an assistant. Since 1981 he has served as head coach Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School’s Nordic ski team. During that time, he also spent seven years coaching the school’s cross-country running and track and field teams.

Under his tenure, OHCHS boys’ skiing earned five state championships, in 1987, 1988, 1993, 1995 and 1995. The girls’ team won three state titles, in 1993, 1994 and 1999, and also the combined Nordic/Alpine Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference and state titles in 2013. One athlete coached by Easton, Leslie Bancroft, went on to compete in two Olympics.

“One of the things Coach was always so great at was the way he treated us, as equals,” Jen Greenleaf, OHCHS class of 1988 and ski team athlete recalled. “He treats every person on the team like an athlete. It didn’t matter what their skill level was. To him, every kid has the potential to be a champion.”

When Greenleaf, who now lives in Belmont, MA, heard that Coach Easton would retire at the end of the 2023 season she felt it important to honor him. She began a group text with some of her old teammates: sister Meg Greenleaf of Manchester, VT, Sara Vanderwood of Oxford, Kristen Hoot of Falmouth and Christy Snow-Caster of Minneapolis, MN, asking if they’d like to plan a lunch or something for him.

It turned out that lunch would not be nearly enough. The women rolled ideas around about how to pay tribute to their coach through text until it became clear that nothing less than a permanent gesture would do. One that would benefit current and future OHCHS athletes as well as the skiing community.


They decided to spearhead a drive to create a lighted loop trail at Roberts Farm in his name. After months of fundraising, the women invited other ski team athletes to join them at Roberts Farm last weekend to present Coach Easton and his wife Paula with news of the two kilometer lighted trail, dubbed Coach’s Loop in his honor.

Jen Greenleaf said Paula’s presence with the team was equally important.

“They were very much a team,” she said. “She was there for him, as assistant coach. She was there for us as a mentor, too.”

“High school was a hard place,” Meg Greenleaf said. “And Coach always made sure that his teams were a welcoming place. He just made it fun to be on the team.”

Last Saturday at Roberts Farm Preserve in Norway served as a reunion for former Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School athletes, who came to celebrate the retirement of Head Coach Christ Easton and his wife and Assistant Coach Paula. Supplied photo

Comments are not available on this story.