Maine is very rich in ski history, yet many people do not realize it nor recognize the place this history holds within the American ski world. Because of this, many of those who have valued the special spirit the sport entails are concerned this history will be lost. It is this concern which motivated the founders of the Ski Museum of Maine to organize. The Ski Museum will be at the Camden Public Library on Sunday, December 17 at 2:00 pm as part of the Winter History Series. The series is co-sponosred by the Camden-Rockport Historical Society.
The Ski Museum’s mission is to “celebrate and preserve the history and heritage of Maine skiing”. The board of directors has undertaken a number of projects to identify and preserve our skiing heritage and to share this heritage with all generations.
A Brief History of the Ski Museum of Maine:
The Ski Museum of Maine was founded in 1995 by a small circle of friends who were members of the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club. During its first decade, this group formed a nonprofit [501 (c)(3)] corporation and obtained a grant to store and accession an initial collection of documents and artifacts. New members joined during these first 10 years, and the nascent Museum published a newsletter. In 2011 the Museum established the Peter C. Friend Endowment, a milestone in its drive toward long-term financial stability.
In 2006 the Museum opened a physical exhibit in Farmington and hired an Executive Director to oversee the facility and direct the Museum’s operations. In 2009 the Museum moved to it’s current location in downtown Kingfield, above the Sugarloaf Outlet store.
The focus of the Museum is centered on educating everyone about our significant Maine ski history. Within the Museum you can learn about Paris Manufacturing, and watch the video “From Tree to Ski” which explains how skis were manufactured in the 1930’s. Visit our Made In Maine wall where you can see displays featuring “Bass” boots, Skis made in Maine – both old skis from the first manufacturers up in northern Aroostock county and new “Boutique” skis currently being manufactured here in Maine. We have a Theo Johnsen’s ski collection. A kit of replica skis he used selling products through his company, “Tajco” out of Portland Maine in the early1900’s. A display of the 10th Mountain Division memorabilia from the second World War stands in one corner. Then, the infamous “Memory Lane” – a place where you can find the skis that you first skied on! This group of skis is where you can linger and reminisce of days long ago, and share your stories. Also within the Museum you can find many Ski Annuals, a library of ski books and magasines, memorabilia from the “Lost” Ski Mountains in Maine, and many interesting items from resorts – both small and large in Maine. There is something for everyone to discover here.
The Bethel Historical Society is hosting the exhibit “The Mountains of Maine: Skiing in the Pine Tree State” created by the New England Ski Museum in Franconia. The Ski Museum of Maine purchased the exhibit in 2017 in memory of a pillar of Maine’s ski industry, John Christie. The exhibit illustrates a large swath of skiing history in this state. The exhibit will be on display at the Bethel Historical society through June of 2018 Tuesday-Friday from 10 am to 4 pm and Saturdays in July and August from 1 – 4 pm.
The Maine Ski Hall of Fame was inaugurated in 2003 as a semi-independent program. More than 100 men and women who have made outstanding contributions to the sport and business of skiing and snowboarding in Maine have been inducted. The Hall of Fame’s annual induction ceremony, held in October, is the Ski Museum’s top social event and a major fund-raiser.
Other annual events began more recently. One is the Maine Ski Heritage Classic, held at Sugarloaf each February; this is the Museum’s most important fund-raising event. The newest is the annual Skee Spree at Sunday River in April. the Museum plans to create similar events at Alpine and Nordic areas throughout the state. In June, Ski Maine Association hosts the Ski Maine Annual Golf Classic at Val Halla in Cumberland, all proceeds benefit the Ski Museum of Maine.
Admission to the Ski Museum of Maine is Free! Museum hours are 9 am to 5 pm when the Outlet is open, 7 days a week from July 1 through April 15. Spring hours are Monday – Friday 10 – 4 pm, or by appointment. We welcome private tours with advance notice. Please contact the Museum for more information.