John Ritzo came to Maine in 1986 to take over as Headmaster of the three year old Carrabassett Valley Academy. Hs goal was to expand the school in every way and when he retired 26 years later he had succeeded in spectacular fashion. The list of international and Olympic competitors is long and growing in alpine racing, freestyle and snowboarding including gold medal winners Bode Miller and Seth Wescott. Academically CVA has grown as well with close to 100 % of its graduates going on to some of the finest colleges and today a new campus is in place where 115 students live, study and compete. John Ritzo led CVA to a spot among the very best ski academies.
Tom Kendall got his start in ski racing in junior programs in Auburn, raced for Edward Little and Dartmouth, but it wasn’t until his own children got involved in racing that he made his mark on the sport. Up until the early eighties all alpine race timing was done by hand. Kendall didn’t like wasting all the time it took and he used his computer skills to develop a program that would take in the numbers and spit out the results in minutes instead of hours. His expertise has led to timing top college races and directing the timing of Olympic skiing.
Peter Davis followed a long line of top flight skiers coming out of Edward Little High School where he won the Maine State Junior Nordic Championships. While at New England College he trained and competed on his own as the school had no Nordic team and qualified for the NCAA Ski Championships as an individual. His performances led to his being named to the US Nordic Ski Team.
John Diller has been well known as part of the management team at Sugarloaf for the past 35 years, and GM since 1998. Less well known to today’s Sugarloafers and other Maine skiers is his role in early freestyle skiing. As coach of the Sugarloaf Masters program, Diller was instrumental in the transition of this program to the freestyle skiing we watch in the modern Olympics. In the seventies while coaching such national champions as Joannie MacWilliams Dolan he worked with the rules committee to formalize judging and bring the fledgling sport to maturity. From freestyle to leading the entire resort at Sugarloaf, John Diller has been a leader in Maine skiing.
Megan Roberts has been devoted to skiing since her high school racing days at Mount Blue High School. After helping to win the state championship in high school Megan attended Plymouth State College where she was co-captain of the ski team. In the eighties she worked extensively with the Camden Snowbowl as a race coach and teaching a special “Women’s Way” program. Returning to her home town she became heavily involved with the Farmington Ski Club as a volunteer and eventually became the first female general manager of its Titcomb Mountain where she increased membership and revenues and installed a new beginner lift.
Luba Lowery was adopted from her native Russia at the age of four by a Maine family that was unaware that she had been born without hip sockets. At age five she began skiing with Maine Handicapped Skiing at Sunday River and joined their ski team at age 11. By 9th grade she was on the US Disabled ski team and won the Junior US National Disabled Championship. She switched from Greely to Gould Academy to spend more time on snow and wound up skiing in competition over the next decade culminated with the 2010 Paralympics.
Bruce Chalmers was among the early skiers at Pleasant Mountain developing the skills that led to his being not only captain but coach of his team at Bowdoin College. Returning to Bridgton after graduation Bruce got involved in skiing in two ways. In the family insurance business he worked with ski areas to develop ski safety programs and at Pleasant Mountain his focus was on getting school students into the sport. His two pronged approach called for recruiting a team of instructors and convincing local school officials to let the kids out early to attend learning sessions at the mountain. The program grew to 400 student skiers and played a key role in creating skiers. The program continues today with 250-400 kids on hand every Monday afternoon at Shawnee Peak
Jill Sickels Matlock got her start at Farmington’s Titcomb Mountain, and became an outstanding high school and junior racer, the beginning of a lifetime devoted to skiing. Jill was a Division I alpine ski racer in college and went on to become PSIA certified instructor, a PSIA –RM Educational Staff Member/Examiner, and named one of SKI Magazine’s Top 100 instructors. At Crested Butte in Colorado, she trained instructors and served as race coach. Her coaching includes the US Ski Team, Carrabassett Valley Academy and Green Mountain Valley School. At Crested Butte Jill joined the local adventurers in Extreme skiing and won four national Extreme skiing championships and was a top five finisher five times in the World Extreme Skiing Championships, resulting in her being named one of the top 50 Best Skiers In North America by Powder Magazine.