Maine Ski Racing History

Ski jump, Western Promenade, Portland, 1924

Ski jump, Western Promenade, Portland, 1924

So far, snowfall totals already look better this year than last. That’s good news for Maine’s ski industry, which has a long and proud history in the state. Surprisingly, ski racing alone goes back a century, when ski jumping contests began at Winter Carnivals in Portland and other areas of the state.

A brand new exhibit on Maine Memory focuses in on a key moment in ski racing history–a moment that really put Maine on the national and international skiing map.

World Alpine Ski Racing in Maine, created by staff at the Ski Museum of Maine, tells the story of how Sugarloaf came to host the World Cup of Alpine Ski Racing in 1971 on its Narrow Gauge ski trail. A number of races, including the NCAA Championships, had been held on that trail since 1955, but the World Cup was a huge jump in prominence for the mountain and for Maine in general.

Women's US Ski Team, Sugarloaf, 1971

Women’s US Ski Team, Sugarloaf, 1971

The exhibit is filled with action-packed images and famous faces. Prominent names in the ski racing world, such as Austrian star Karl Schranz and French female racer Isabelle Mir, were in attendance, along with Maine figures like Senator Edmund Muskie. Sugarloaf and the Sugarloaf Ski Club received a number of accolades for orchestrating the event, including a Proclamation from the Maine State Legislature citing the significance of the event.


About mainechp

Maine Community Heritage Project at Maine Historical Society
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