Maine’s first ski lift was a 500-foot rope tow on a tiny hill in Fryeburg that began operation in 1936. (Photo courtesy of the Maine Historical Society)
Prince Memorial Library will present a photo tour of the history of skiing in Maine with speaker Scott Andrews, a ski journalist and curator for the Ski Museum of Maine. The talk is part of a monthly lecture series hosted by the library and takes place Thursday, March 2nd at 6:30 p.m.
Did you know that the first skiers in New England were Swedish immigrants who settled in Aroostook County in 1870? Or that Maine’s first ski lift was built in 1936 on a tiny hill in Fryeburg? Or that Rumford was the capital of Maine skiing in the 1930s? Or that Sugarloaf’s total lift system once comprised five T-bars? Or that Maine has about 100 “lost” ski areas, including ones in Cumberland, Falmouth and Freeport?
More than 100 photos ─ some more than a century old ─ have been assembled from the Kingfield-based museum’s collections and more than 40 other sources, including several of the state’s leading historical societies and skiing organizations.
Photos to be presented cover the entire span of skiing in Maine, from the founding of Aroostook County’s Swedish Colony to present-day happenings all over the state. Locations that were historically important to the development of skiing include Aroostook County, Auburn, Bethel, Bridgton, Carrabassett Valley, Cumberland, Falmouth, Farmington, Freeport, Fryeburg, Lovell, Norway, Paris, Poland and Portland.
The narrator will be Scott Andrews, a Portland-based ski journalist and Ski Museum curator who assembled the photos and performed most of the research.
“Skiing has been part of the Maine way of life since the late 1800s, offering recreation and competition to both residents and visitors,” says Andrews. “Our museum’s objective is to feed the passion of Maine skiers and to illustrate the significance of our sport to our state’s lifestyle and economy.”
“Down-Mountain and Cross-Country: 145 Years of Skiing in Maine” was created with help from the Ski Maine Association and the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club.