Portland, ME – When the Maine ski community gathers on Friday Oct. 22 at Lost Valley ski area in Auburn, Maine, for the 8th annual Maine Ski Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, the class will include Olympic Skiers Kirsten Clark-Rickenbach of the U.S. Ski Team and Marcus Nash of the U.S. Nordic Ski Team. Joining this pair in their induction to the Maine Ski Hall will be ski writer Morten Lund, U.S. Freestyle Ski Champion Joan McWilliams Dolan, Fort Kent ski coach Bernard Paradis, U.S. Ski Team coach Bob Harkins and 10th Mountain Division veteran John Atwood.nSince its inception in 2003 the Maine Ski Hall of Fame has honored 73 Maine skiers who have brought distinction to the sport in the state, nationally and internationally. The members inducted to date include competitors, coaches, ski area founders, instructors, ski patrollers, competition officials, volunteers and even inventors.
Kirsten Clark is a Hall of Fame skier with a brilliant career. Her U.S. National Titles include five Downhill titles, one Super G, and one Combined. In addition, in 13 years on the U.S. Team the Raymond native stood on World cup podiums eight times, including one DH victory, in 28 top ten finishes. In 2003 she won a Silver Medal in the World Alpine Championships and skied in three Olympics. It’s the best Alpine record of any Maine skier.
Fryeburg’s Marcus Nash skied on the U.S. Cross Country team in two Olympics in nearly a decade on the team. His best international result was a Gold Medal along with teammate Justin Wadsworth in the Goodwill Games at Lake Placid in 2000. Nash was a nine-time U.S. Champion at various distances.
Most Maine skiers have heard of Mort Lund, whose ski writing career started in 1954 with Sports Illustrated, but how many know he grew up in Augusta and graduated from Bowdoin College? He went on to write for Ski Magazine on every aspect of the sport, covering Olympics, short ski teaching, GLM and working with PSIA. His books include, “The Skier’s World”, “The Skier’s Bible”, “The Ski Book” and more. For more than three decades he was SKI’s leading writer. He is one of the most prolific ski journalists in the world and continues as editor of “Skiing Heritage,” the first U.S. nationwide history journal published under the auspices of the International Skiing History Association.
Bernard “Ben” Paradis has been described as the glue that held the ski community together in the St. John Valley. As a coach for Fort Kent High School for 26 years his teams won five state titles in classes A & C. He developed numerous state champion skiers and won over 20 Aroostook championships, all while serving on the board of Lonesome Pine Ski Trails.
John Atwood’s career in skiing spanned a lifetime, skiing on the University of New Hampshire ski team, 1941-1943 and as a Second Lieutenant with the 10th Mt. Division in Italy 1943-1945. Following the war he skied on the U.S. Army ski team in Europe before returning to UNH 1947-1949. In 1962 he founded the Fryeburg Junior Ski Program, developing a feeder program for Fryeburg Academy, one of the state’s top ski teams which he coached over the next 20 years winning the state Class A girl’s title in 1976. He also found time to serve on the Ski Patrol at Pleasant Mountain through the sixties.
If freestyle skiing had been part of the Olympics a couple of decades before it was recognized, Maine might have had a gold medalist a lot earlier. Joan McWilliams, now Dolan, skied out of Sugarloaf and dominated the sport winning five National Championships in seven years on the U.S. Team. She started in the Sugarloaf Masters Program in the early seventies and went on to win her first National Title in 1976 as a freshman in high school. In 1979 Joan represented the U.S. in the first ever FIS sanctioned freestyle competition and won the combined title. Had it not been for a horrific crash in the 1983 National Freestyle championships she might have gone on to win many more titles. Instead she turned to coaching and has produced a bunch of our country’s top freestyle competitors at CVA.
While at Edward Little High School in Auburn, Bob Harkins worked as a weekend volunteer ski patrolman at Sunday River and continued volunteering while at the University of Maine. After graduation he turned to coaching in the alpine racing program at Sunday River beginning a teaching and coaching career that led to serving as athletic director and head ski coach at Gould Academy before becoming director of the racing program at Alpental Ski Area in Washington State. Next came a stint with the U.S. ski team heading up the Development Program and working as alpine operations manager during the Calgary Olympics. From the U.S. Team, he returned to Sunday River where he was the key figure in creating the Perfect Turn Program an innovative way to develop skiers, which is still used at Sunday River and Sugarloaf and has been franchised to other ski resorts.
The Hall of Fame is a division of the Ski Museum of Maine which is located above the Sugarloaf Ski Shop in Kingfield, Maine. Always a sellout event, the banquet starts with a social hour at 5 p.m., dinner at 6:30 followed by the awards. Attendees will all receive a full color program book with biography of each of the inductees. The cost of the dinner is $35 per person. The Ski Maine Association handles the reservations and can be reached at (207) 773-7669 extension 105.