Of the thirty or more Maine skiers who have competed in the Olympics, only one has brought a gold medal back to Maine in the able bodied games. Snowboard Cross was introduced in the 2006 winter games in Torino , Italy and Seth Wescott won that first ever event. Four years later Wescott successfully defended his title winning his second gold medal in the Vancouver Olympics. From 2004 to 2010 Seth Wescott was a dominant competitor in Snowboard Cross adding a gold and two silvers in the World Championships along with three silvers and a bronze in the X-Games during that span.
Henry Anderson carried on a tradition where skiing got its start in Maine. Born in New Sweden in 1894, Anderson grew up where skis were used as transportation and soon were used for racing. In his basement workshop this descendant of Maine’s earliest skiers made his own skis and from 1926 to the early thirties it was his winter work. Using silver birch he was able to complete a pair in a day which he sold for $7.00. He made XC racing skis for members of the New Sweden Athletic Club, and the Caribou and Fort Fairfield ski teams. His contribution to the sport is recognized each year by the annual Henry Anderson Memorial Ski Dag, the 44th version of which was held in February of 2019.
Leigh Breidenbach has done it all in skiing and had an impact wherever she skied. Working her way through the University of Maine, Farmington she taught skiing at Sunday River. After graduation Leigh joined the school’s Ski Industry Program under Doc DesRoches and Tom Reynolds and became a key art of the program. After both retired, she became director of the program. A fully certified Level III PSIA instructor Breidenbach has played a key role in numerous ski education programs at both UMF and ski resorts. She has also served the Ski Museum of Maine Board in several capacities.
Don Fowler has not only demonstrated a love of skiing by being on the mountain every possible day, but also by being an ambassador for the sport. As one of the founders of the Ski Museum of Maine he has donated countless hours as the organization ‘s clerk and attorney.
In his devotion to Sugarloaf Don has compiled the complete history of the resort and is often turned to by management for clarification of historic facts. Without his contribution the Ski Museum would not have its sound legal foundation.
Billy Chenard carried on along tradition of highly competitive Nordic skiers coming out of the Chisholm Ski Club. Whether skiing for Rumford High or in Eastern competition Billy was always near or at the top. As a member of the eastern Junior National Team he won the National Junior Nordic Combined title in 1972 and after graduating high school he made the U.S. National Team. Following his competitive career, Chenard gave back to his sport by developing the cross country trails at Sugarloaf and the Balsams, both recognized by racers as being among the best layouts in the East.
Visually impaired Lindsay Ball started skiing at age 6 with Maine Adaptive Sports and wound up competing for Lawrence High School in Fairfield. In 2011 while at UMF she was named to the U. S. Paralympic team and went on to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Giant Slalom. During her time on the team Lindsay mounted numerous podiums in World Cup and Nor-Am competition. She has won gold medals in both Downhill and Giant Slalom. Now graduated from UMF, Lindsay gives back by serving as Vice president of the Maine Organization of Blind and Athletic Leadership Education.
Paul Schipper didn’t set out to become a symbol of loyalty to Sugarloaf generating publicity throughout the country and some even Worldwide, but that’s what happened. It started during the 1981 ski season when he realized he had not missed a single day the mountain was opened. That was the beginning of the “Streak”. From age 57 in 1981 until 2005 Paul Schipper skied every day Sugarloaf was open regardless of the weather, his health or obligations. As a retired airline pilot he was a keen weather observer and reported to the marketing department after his runs every day and VP Marketing Chip Carey used the streak to get much needed publicity for the resort.
Robert Zinck got his start with the Chisholm Ski Club and developed into an all around athlete. His specialty was ski jumping and he jumped wherever he could, at Black Mountain in Rumford, the Swan’s Corner Gould Jumps in Bethel, the Big Nansen in Berlin and all over New England. His list of victories on jumping hills include the 1972 Class A high school title, 1973 Maine and New England Class A Jumping crowns, 1974, Junior Nationals, 1974 Canadian Junior Nationals, and 1975 Junior nationals, 2nd place. In 1976 he led his Dartmouth ski team to a tie with Colorado for the NCAA Championships. This led to his being named to the U. S. National team for 1976-77.