Leading this year’s class is a young woman who won more international Gold Medals than any other Maine skier. Sara Billmeier grew up in Yarmouth, and lost a leg to bone cancer at age 5, started skiing at age 8, racing at 10 and made the US Disabled Ski Team at 14, winning a World Championship gold medal that year. She went on to win six World Championships and 13 Olympic medals before entering Harvard Medical School.
After graduating from the University of Maine in 1923, Ted Curtis coached teams won six state high school ski titles before he returned to his college alma mater in 1930. For the next 30 years his ski teams were perennial Maine college champions and skiers he coached went on to excel at the national level. Among the skiers he coached were Bill Cummings and Olympians Charlie Akers and Bob Pidacks.
Herb Adams excelled as a four event skier under Paul Kailey at Gould Academy in the early fifties and went on to captain the ski team at the University of New Hampshire. Following college he began a coaching career in Lake Placid, moving to his native Rumford in 1964 where his teams won both state and New England crowns and many of his athletes went on to excel at higher levels. As a volunteer and an official he has participated many championships including the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake and continues to serve at Black Mountain in Rumford.
Tom Bennett’s involvement in skiing goes back to the earliest days at Pleasant Mountain when he was instrumental in founding the Downeast Ski Club. His service as a volunteer includes ski patrolling, coaching racers are serving as an official at races. For decades, he was a presence at every race that took place at Pleasant Mountain and into the later years as Shawnee Peak.
It would be hard to find an individual with a greater impact on the business side of Maine skiing than Les Otten. Although the New York native was sent to Sunday River by new owner Killington in 1972, he quickly became a believer in Maine and its skiing potential. When he couldn’t get the parent company to allow him to expand the Maine resort, he convinced them to sell the area to him. That year, 1980 the area drew 32,000 skier visits. A decade and half later the figure was close to 600,000 and Maine had one of the top five ski resorts in New England, primarily due to the vision of Les Otten.
Byron "Bud" Dow
When it came to skiing, Byron “Bud” Dow did it all. He operated a ski shop, raced, became a certified instructor, participated in the founding of the Maine Professional Ski Instructors, the pinnacle ski Club of Pittsfield, the Maine ski Association and the Maine Ski Council. He is remembered most for his leadership in developing the Pinnacle Ski Slope in Pittsfield where countless families learned the sport. Once the slope was operating he organized the instructors and taught the locals how to ski and somehow found time to also officiate at competitions including the NCAA’s.
Lisbon native John Litchfield started skiing at the age of four, competed at Edward Little in the 30’s, excelled in skiing at Dartmouth and was a member of the first US Alpine Ski Team at the Pan American Winter Games in Chile in 1937. He was chosen for the 1940 Olympics which were cancelled by WW II. He was a ski instructor at Sun Valley from 1940 to 1942 when he joined the 10th Mountain Division and served as a captain in the Italian campaign earning a Bronze Star.
John Roderick joined the Chisolm Ski Club as a teenager in the 20’s and skied out of that club for 68 years. He began as a jumper and maintained a Class A rating until age 57. During his career he won at least 77 trophies, medals and bowls and served as chief of course at the 1950 World Championship held in Rumford. He assisted his fellow club member Chummy Broomhall in the cross country competition at the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics. His final race was the Sunday River Langlauf in 1993 at the age of 82.