The Ski Museum of Maine's principal outreach program is a series of Fireside Chats, narrated digital slideshows that illustrate the history of skiing in Maine. Since 2008, approximately 3,000 people have seen at least one of the six programs currently available.
Andrew "Bud" Titcomb shows his jump turn, ca 1942 (Courtesy Farmington Ski Club)
Fireside Chats are hosted by ski clubs, ski resorts, civic organizations and historical societies all over Maine. To date, they have been given in about 50 different communities the length and breadth of Maine, from Kittery to Fort Kent and Madawaska, from the New Hampshire state line to the New Brunswick international boundary.
Each Fireside Chat is a fascinating and entertaining experience that is based on 100-plus vintage photographs collected from the Museum's own archives plus several dozen participating clubs, organizations and private individuals. Fireside Chats were created by Scott Andrews, a member of the Museum's board, historian and longtime snowsports journalist. Each program lasts about 50 minutes. Questions are encouraged and attendees are urged to share personal experiences.
Six different Fireside Chats are currently available. Each is an independent, stand-alone journey through Maine's rich skiing heritage.
1. Down-Mountain and Cross-Country: 147 Years of Skiing in Maine. This slideshow is an overview that covers all facets of skiing over the entire time period, from the arrival of Scandinavian immigrants in 1870 to the present. It represents the broadest possible approach, with each topic covered at an elementary level.
2. An Avalanche of Interest: The First 75 Years of Skiing in Maine. This presentation is more narrowly focused on the earliest period, from 1870 through World War II, and includes more detailed coverage of different Scandinavian nationalities, winter carnivals and the visionaries of the early 20th century
3. Schuss-Boom and Schuss-Bust: Fast-Paced Growth and Face-Plants in Maine Skiing 1946-1980s. This program focuses on the boom times following World War II and ends with setbacks in the 1970s and 1980s. For most viewers under 80 years old, this period covers their personal experiences. A real trip down Memory Lane!
4. Made in Maine: 100-Plus Years of Craftsmanship in Skiing. This Fireside Chat looks at skis, boots and other skiing products that were made in Maine from the late 1800s to the present. Maine was once an important manufacturer of skis, boots and other gear, but no longer. Maine engineers were also prominent in developing ski resorts in the Northeastern U.S.
5. Maine's Nordic Skiing Heritage: 1870-Present. Cross-country skiing and jumping were Maine's first ski formats 140 years ago, and Nordic continues to be important in the 21st century. The majority of Maine's Olympians have been Nordic skiers, coaches and officials. This Fireside Chat looks at the entire time span of Maine's skiing heritage from the Nordic point of view.
6. Getting Organized: How Ski Clubs, Colleges, Carnival Committees and Other Organizations Built the Sport and Culture of Skiing in Maine. Back when skiing was morphing from winter transportation into a popular form of recreation and competition, myriad clubs, colleges and carnival committees promoted winter sports. This Fireside Chat traces these developments from the beginnings to the present.
Theresa Shanahan, Executive Director Ski Museum of Maine