Exploring the Ski Museum of Maine

May 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Miscellaneous

As its name suggests, the Ski Museum of Maine documents the fascinating history of skiing in Maine. Not many realize that Maine actually has a rich skiing heritage to be proud of. Some of the earliest skis in Maine were produced by Swedish immigrants for transportation and were all handcrafted. Primitive to say the least, with toe loops and upturned tips being the only accessories to the planks, they were effective, and the beginning of ski production in Maine. The main mission of the Ski Museum of Maine is to create awareness of the magnificent history of skiing and preserve the skiing heritage of Maine.

In 1995, Don Fletcher, Don Hayes and Greg Foster informally founded the museum when the Sugarloaf Ski Club decided to clear out some of their old files due to lack to storage space. The files dated from the early 1950s all the way to the 1970s and not wanting to destroy all the information, the suggestion of a museum was mentioned. The club’s archives revealed a wealth of information, newspaper articles, photographs and artifacts. In 2006 they held the first exhibition of the collection that they had accumulated, which included boots, skiing accessories and skis made in Maine. In the year 2009 the museum found a permanent home in Kingfield, Maine. Some of the skis and other artifacts are owned by the museum, while others are on loan from collectors such as Glenn Parkinson, and some items have been donated to the museum. One of the most popular items is a set of miniature skis that were crafted by Theo A. Johnsen from Portland, Maine, in the year 1905.

Over and above the documents, artifacts and photographs, the museum also has a section in the museum that is called Fireside Chats. This exhibit has four narrated presentations in the form of a digital slide show, and has wonderful vintage photographs telling the four various stories, which are Down Mountain and Cross Country: 140 Years of Skiing in Maine, An Avalanche of Interest: The First 75 Years of Skiing in Maine, Schuss Boom and Schuss Bust: Fast Paced Growth and Face Plants in Maine Skiing 1946 – 1980’s, and Made in Maine: 100 Plus Years of Craftsmanship in Skiing. The museum is also home to the Maine Ski Hall of Fame, which has thirty-nine inductees from Maine so far who have made a noticeable contribution to the sport of skiing.