On skis: Ready to return to the slopes of Maine
For countless years my ski seasons have followed a similar starting pattern.
Since its inception in 2003, the annual Maine Ski Hall of Fame Induction Banquet in October has kicked off. Also in October, the Ski Maine Association sponsored a launch party in Portland at which its member ski areas posted new trail maps and briefed skiers in attendance on what’s new. And there were draws for ski lift tickets in addition to those given to the 30 or so first skiers registered.
Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in these events being canceled in 2020 and 2021.
CHANGE OF HOURS
Most years my next outing would be in Boston for the annual BEWI Ski & Snowboard Show. This show at the Sea Port World Trade Center will welcome 45,000 skiers over a four-day weekend in mid-November. Each year, we could count on the presence of all the major ski manufacturers with their latest skis, boots and bindings.
One indicator of the outlook for the coming season was always the number of skiers wearing new skis as they left the show. The big ski sale which occupied a considerable space was still occupied. Whether the goal is new skis, boots or accessories such as goggles, gloves or other ski clothing, show attendees packed enough gear to make the claim of $ 1 million in sales a reality.
While the show was the big draw for most of the skiers, those of us who are more closely tied to the company, representatives of the various brands and, of course, the writers, were always present for the handover lunch. BEWI Friday prices.
Every year, Bernie Weichsel, owner of the ski shows, organized the luncheon that paid tribute to someone in the ski business world. The BEWI Award Winners List is a who’s who of those who run the ski industry, from the equipment side to the resort side.
One year it was Stein Ericksen, and another it was Klaus Obermeyer, whose ski clothing is shipped worldwide from the company’s headquarters in Aspen. Aspen skiers know 85-year-old Obermeyer well because he skis almost every day. They are also familiar with yodeling as he carves turns down the mountain. Naturally, when he received the BEWI award, someone suggested a yodel, and it took no more cuddling before he demonstrated his developed expertise in his native Alps.
A year later, we knew the change was coming. The Trade Center was about to be destroyed to make way for a new facility. That year, the award went to David Ingemie, who was retiring as executive director of SIA (Snow Industries of America), the organization that represents the manufacturers of all ski boots and bindings on display at the show. ski. It was also the year Bernie Weichsel announced he would retire after decades of owning and operating ski shows.
It was announced that the show was sold to SIA, and the following year would be moved to the Prudential Center. Sadly, the pandemic canceled that show, but expect a return in 2022.
IMPACT OF MAINE ON INDUSTRY
SIA has a close connection with Maine skiing. Considering the many contributions Maine skiers have made to the industry, it is not uncommon to find a Maine skier involved, and SIA owes a great debt to a Rumford skier: Ralph A. “Doc” Desroches was a skier. outstanding for Stephens High School and later at the University of New Hampshire, formed the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale Colorado from 1943 to 1944, and in 1963, after working in ski area management, took up the reins of the newly formed SIA and integrated it into the crucial role it plays in today’s ski industry.
But “Doc” was not finished when he retired from the SIA. He moved to Farmington and partnered with Tom “Coach” Reynolds to create the University of Maine program at Farmington Ski Industries, which has placed so many UMF graduates in senior positions in skiing.
“Doc” Desroches has dedicated his life to skiing on several levels. He wasn’t the only Maine skier to serve in the 10th Mountain Division during World War II. The best known was probably Chummy Broomhall from Rumford, who returned and devoted the rest of his life to building cross-country skiing and racing at Black Mountain.
The Maine Ski and Snowboard Museum has a comprehensive list of Maine skiers who served with the 10th. One of them was the late John Lander of Auburn, who skied with and for me on the Sunday River Ski Patrol. John was not only a regular weekend at Sunday River, but he also taught a few evenings a week at Lost Valley. If you check this list at the Ski Museum, you will likely find the name of a skier related to the area where you ski and it is likely someone deeply involved in the ski area.
The last item on my prep list is always the skis.
If the skis were tidy, it’s simple. My skis and those of my daughter Debi were fitted at the end of the season after a quick manual adjustment. A diamond stone is used to ensure the edge of the base is flat and smooth with a one degree bevel (Volkl factory specs for recreational GS models we both use). A multi-tuner guide, also with a diamond stone, is used on the side edge. Once set, a universal wax is ironed and left to protect the base over the summer.
When winter arrives, to prepare them for skiing, all you have to do is heat the wax with a waxing iron and gently scrape them. After this preparation, we are both ready to ski.
Once ready, the first day of skiing is usually at Sunday River on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, for the demos, which I missed this time. The good news is that the demos will be at Pain de Sucre next Saturday. See sugarloaf.com for more details.
See you soon on the slopes.
Dave Irons is a freelance writer and columnist from Westbrook. He has contributed to the Sun Journal for many years and is one of the North East’s most respected ski editors. He is also a member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. Write to him at [email protected]
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