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Tag: Sugarloaf

Columbus weekend in ski country – beer, ski gear, wife carrying…

Columbus Day weekend in New England means two things to skiers:

1. Peak Foliage  2. Countdown to Skiing

chairrideDie hard skiers start to get amped mid-October, knowing their favorite time of year is drawing near. The three-day weekend including Columbus Day Monday is an ideal time to head to the mountains , get that season pass picture updated and drink beer..its apres ski – pre game before the first snowflakes.

Columbus Weekend at Sugarloaf and Sunday River in Maine a wonderful fall traditions, with peak foliage,  Sugarloaf host Homecoming and Sunday River Wife Carrying Competition.

3wife_carrying3Saturday of Columbus day Weekend at Sunday River Resort is your chance to witness the Annual North American Wife Carrying Championship, this wildly popular event draws thousands of spectators to watch 50 couples crash, dash and splash through an obstacle course, over log hurdles and through a mud pit. Wives get wet and muddy, guys get hurt and the winner gets their wife’s weight in beer. Sound fun? You must see this event in person. For additional entertainment at Sunday River, the Chondola will be operating for scenic chairlifts rides, live bands will play at the South Ridge Base Lodge by the beer and wine tents, and the Annual Blue Mountain Arts & Crafts Fair takes place too. Sunday at the River is a new event, the New England Corn Hole Championship where some lucky duo will take home $500 in this classic Yankee toss. It’s also “Sunday Bloody Sunday” with Bloody Marys. For family fun, Sunday River’s Fall Festival weekend includes wagon and pony rides, chainsaw carving demonstrations, and a ski sale at Sunday River Sports.

6sugarloaf-summitSugarloaf’s annual Homecoming Weekend is always Columbus Weekend. Loafers come out of summer hibernation to pay homage to prime foliage, and hike 2,400′ vertical ‘to the summit – three miles, all smiles in the Uphill Climb Race, with a big finish of beer and lunch at Bullwinkle’s. Other fun fall activities at the Loaf include the CVA Used Ski Equipment Sale, the Upcountry Artist Show, Sugarloaf’s Annual Meeting, free scenic chairlift rides, The Jay Moody Memorial Golf Tourney, and the Maine Outdoor Film Festival at Sugarloaf’s Beach.

Enjoy the three-day weekend, get your ski gear out of the basement and ready to go. It’s only a few weeks till we have snow, skiing and snowboard season.

Keep your skis tuned and tune back in to Family Ski Trips Trips for news and ski resort reviews and The LuxuryVacationGuide.com for travel tips and resort recommendations.

Heather Burke, 2018 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

John Christie – Maine Ski Legend – His Legacy Lives

John Christie, Jamie Walter photo

John Christie, Jamie Walter photo

I couldn’t have imagined a better ski writer to assume my beloved newspaper column for the Maine Sunday Telegram than John Christie. As flattered as I had been in 2010 that Christie, and his son Josh, were chosen as my successors for the ski column I had written for 11 years, I was equally saddened to learn of John’s passing on May 7, 2016.

I was proud the day he and Josh took over “my ski column” at the Press Herald. I joked with John that it took two to fill my ski boots – but I was impressed with their work, and loved that a father son team shared the column , carrying on beautifully, with engaging, eloquent and just plain fun content. I had been hired at Boston.com as the ski guru, but I circled back to check on “my baby” weekly. John and Josh shared, possibly eclipsed, my passion for skiing, writing, and the ski biz.

John Christie was always a generous enthusiastic promoter of the sport – and a super nice guy! His son Josh is so-damn-outdoorsy and also a brilliant writer (of books! about beer! and skiing! #cool). How heartwarming that Josh can carry on his Dad’s legacy and continue to create and share stories about their family’s favorite sport.

As for my memories: every time I met John Christie, his smile warmed my heart, especially on those cold windy ski days at the Loaf. His laugh cut through any frostbite, his optimism and first-hand stories could outlast any fixed-grip chairlift ride.

6sugarloaf-summitJohn had mad people skills, amazing retention of every player’s name and their influence (the good, the bad and the not-fit-to-print) in the ski biz, myself included – he not only remembered me but made me feel like a ski rock star, calling me the “First Lady of Maine Skiing” – I told you he was funny. He was an incredible storyteller. His words came from the heart, honest and humorous, but peppered with factoids.

John Christie was a skiing walking Wikipedia of New England ski timelines, the take overs, the tumult, the triumphs, the comings and goings and gondolas, all the crazy ups and downs in snow sports, from his experiences at Camden Snow Bowl, Mount Snow, Saddleback, and Sugarloaf. Did I mention he was a pretty fine skier? Fast too. #SkiYourAge

The sad news, John Christie died suddenly at 79, he was working Saturday morning at the entrance gate of Camden Hills State Park. He was doing what he loved, welcoming people to engage in Maine’s great outdoors. I can picture the last people he greeted with his boundless energy, and how he brightened their day during that brief encounter.

ski_museum_maine (3)The truly positive news though, John Christie will be remembered and revered through his written word, he wrote “The Story of Sugarloaf,” which won the 2008 Skade Award from the International Skiing History Association ( a must read for every Sugarloafer). He’s left a legacy,  as president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association, the Sugarloaf Ski Club, as director of the National Ski Areas Association, as a founder of the Maine Ski Museum and the Maine Ski Hall of Fame – where he was inducted in 2006. A celebration of John’s life will be held at Sugarloaf Resort Saturday June 18 at 4pm.

John 2-ski-timberline2Christie’s name will remain forever “google-able” in the ski biz, and he was schussing the world long before the world wide web. He will have a sparkly snowy space  forever in our fondest ski thoughts. My first tracks next ski season down Sugarloaf’s Timberline to Tote, or Saddleback’s Mule Skinner, will be dedicated to John Christie.

Heather Burke, 2018 Copyright & Photography property of Family Ski Trips

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