The Ski Museum of Maine and Bethel Historical Society are celebrating Women’s History Month with the special presentation “Sisters of Skade: Women in Maine Skiing, 1870-2016.” Skade is an ancient Norse goddess who is closely associated with hunting, mountains, winter and skiing.
The big event will be held at the Bethel Inn next Saturday, March 26, at 4:30 PM. The program is free and open to the general public.
Scott Andrews, the Ski Museum’s research director, will talk on the subject of women in Maine skiing from its inception in the late 19th century through the present day, from ordinary women who made a major, positive impact on the sport via traditional women’s roles to some of the world’s most extraordinary female athletes and their connection to Maine. You’ll also get to enjoy historic photos ranging from recreational skiers to competitive champions.
Scott’s talk will also highlight Maine’s role in advancing the cause of women’s ski jumping, a topic that generated headlines and lawsuits in the early 2000’s when advocates tried to convince the International Olympic Committee to include women’s jumping in the Winter Games. The women were repeatedly rebuffed by the IOC until they finally earned their right to jump in the 2014 Sochi Olympics.
Presenter Andrews notes that a long and tortuous road preceded that landmark event. One of the early positive milestones was the International Women’s Ski Jumping Championships, hosted by Maine’s oldest ski club and held in Rumford in 1996. One of those 1996 competitors later emerged as the principal voice for women’s ski jumping; still later, she was one of the American women who jumped in Sochi.
The latter half of the evening will feature a panel discussion with women leaders past and present from several fields of the sport and industry of skiing, including Olympic skier Julie Parisien, Snowboard Cross Champion Nikki Pilavakis-Davoren and Leslie Miller Morrill, cross country ski champion. Women ski industry speakers will include Barbara Schneider, executive director of Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation, Megan Roberts, general manager of Titcomb Mountain, and Leigh Breidenbach, former director of the UMF Industries Program.
This great program is being made possible by the support of women-owned businesses in the Bethel area: Carter’s Cross Country Ski Shops & Centers, The Halsted Agency, Mahoosuc Realty, Maine Street Realty, Mountain Real Estate, Pooh Corner Farm, Royal River Graphics, Ruthie’s & Bethel Village Motel, Tourmaline Media, and the brokers of Sunday River Real Estate.
Program attendees are welcome to rent cross country ski equipment and ski for half-price at Carter’s Cross Country Ski Center and the Bethel Inn XC Ski Center on Saturday and Sunday. Special weekend lodging rates are available at the Bethel Inn and Bethel Village Motel. FMI: 207-824-2908.
Source: Ski Museum of Maine