On the strength of this year’s snowmaking efforts and invitation to host events all year long, as well as their sustainable club model, growth, and investment in bringing skiing back to a community with a rich tradition, the Central Maine Ski Club in Waterville, Maine is NENSA’s 2016 Club of the Year.
Central Maine Ski Club formed in the fall of 2008, alongside the Quarry Road Recreation Area project, and established with a mission to develop and implement cross country ski programming for skiers of all ages to help create an active outdoor-oriented winter lifestyle for families in central Maine. Since that time, Central Maine Ski Club (CMSC) has grown rapidly and had an immediate impact in returning skiing to the old Colby College Ski Hill and surrounding recreational area where skiing has a rich history.
“CMSC is only one small part of an effort to develop a Nordic ski community in Central Maine based at Quarry Road Trails in Waterville,” said Chad Sisson, CMSC President. “The City of Waterville, Colby College, Friends of Quarry Road, and CMSC have worked hard over the last decade to create the trails, venue, and skier development needed to grow a great ski community. This year was significant in part because the efforts of our dedicated snowmaking crew proved so crucial to providing quality Nordic programming.”
This year marked more than one milestone for CMSC. Among them was that record snowmaking effort expended prior to the Bates College Carnival and EasternCup in mid-January. CMSC closed out the season qualifying four skiers for NENSA’s U16 Championship – the first CMSC members to qualify for such an event. The club also enjoyed another year of growth, and could showcase their snowmaking capacity and volunteer base in two EISA carnivals – the Bates Carnival and EasternCup and the Colby Carnival, as Quarry Road is now Colby’s home course.
“We were honored this year to host a NENSA EasternCup race in addition to the Bates and Colby Carnivals, and felt rewarded by the appreciation expressed by the skiers who visited during those two weekends and skied some of our amazing trails,” Sisson continued.
As for that EasternCup/Carnival double feature weekend, Amie Smith, NENSA high performance director said, “CMSC was instrumental in salvaging the race season with the entire club rising to the occasion to pull a snowmaking all-nighter and pull off an amazing EasternCup weekend when there was no natural snow anywhere in New England. CMSC’s amazing volunteers who came together for the event represented a broad spectrum of interests, from recreational to racing, and they all showed up ready to work.”
When asked what this award means to the kids wearing the CMSC kit at events, Sisson said, “Most importantly, we want to recognize the significant positive development of our skiers of all ages at CMSC, as they increasingly are noticed for their love of the sport at competitions across the state and region.”
“That joy of skiing Chad is talking about is easy to see among the CMSC crew at big events like our Bill Koch Festival, and EasternCup races,” said NENSA executive director, Zach Stegeman. “But it is equally evident in the calendar of events CMSC is hosting every winter, and in their investment in the venue and in the club model, both of which take a long view to ensure long-term sustainability as an organization.”
“This is an enormous honor and we accept this award on behalf of a larger collaboration between the City of Waterville, Colby College, the Friends of Quarry Road, and the many skiers and volunteers in our area and the larger ski community,” concluded Sisson. “This is a fantastic way to recognize our many volunteers, groomers, coaches, race officials, local sponsors, parents, and skiers. Thank you.”