Theo Johnsen, his TAJCO model skis, and America’s first book on how to ski.
Paris Skis from early 1900s to mid 1960s
Around every turn in Maine are examples of deep and diverse histories, and the history of skiing in Maine is no exception.
You might wonder what you find in a ski museum, and whether there would be enough ski material specific to Maine to warrant a museum. If you stop in you will see that the exhibit space is full to overflowing with various interesting aspects of skiing and snowboarding, from the early wooden skis with leather boots to the old ads and posters of early skiing and ski areas.
Maine made products:
Maine has always manufactured wood and leather products, and when skiing boomed in popularity during the 1930’s through the 1950’s, Maine companies were producing some of the newest and best equipment in the nation, both for recreational skiing and also for the 10th Mountain Ski Division during WWII. At the Museum you will find examples of Maine names such as Paris Manufacturing, Bass, Tubbs, TAJCO, Snocraft, Ellingwood Turning Company, Skowhegan Ski, Stadig, Henry Anderson Company, the Claw, Withington, Sno-wing, Hussey Mfg Winter Sports Engineering, Trailmaster, LL Bean, Dunham Trading Post, and more.
Boots made here in Franklin County by Bass Manufacturing in Wilton were extremely popular, and you can still see the factories in Wilton where they were made. The museum exhibits show the nation-wide appeal of Bass Ski Boots through their ads, proclaiming “Mt. Hood is a Haven for…Bass Boots; Cannon Mt. is more fun in…Bass Boots; Yosemite skiers agree on Bass Boots; Do your self a good turn at Tuckermans…Bass Boots”. This is a fun opportunity to look at the old ads, and to then see the examples of the boots themselves on display.
Lost Ski Areas
Another aspect of the history of skiing in Maine is the history of the ski areas, both current and past. Maine has had at least 74 ski areas open and close at one time or another, with the majority of them being small ropetow and surface lift areas and a few of them fairly major areas. Currently Maine has operating ski areas numbering in the 20’s. Throughout the years the areas had patches and other identifying logos, and viewing this display brings back memories of by-gone days. The museum has notebooks of pictures and articles on the history of many of the ski areas, as well as a wonderful collection of ski books, journals and annuals.
Mainers were very prominent and still are in the ski world, and these people are being honored by induction in the Ski Museum of Maine’s Hall of Fame. The biographies of over 50 of these Maine men and women involved in Olympics, ski areas, journalism, manufacturing, coaching, and other aspects of skiing and snowboarding can be seen on this website and at the Museum, and each year new biographies are added.