A Maine Winter Sports Center program to get kids skiing is one of eight finalists for an international award.

The Healthy Hometowns program introduces nearly 5,000 Maine children to Nordic skiing each winter, according to the MWSC, and provides seasonal equipment rentals to an additional 2,000.

“Our program provides an exciting introduction to skiing as well as tools for communities to build sustainable ski programs,” said Andy Shepard, MWSC president, in a press release. “Best of all, it’s a model that consists of easily replicable components, which any other state, region or nation could implement.”

The International Ski Federation’s SnowKidz Award will be announced June 4 at the FIS Congress in Antalya, Turkey. The other seven finalists are from Norway, Pakistan, Germany, Estonia, Italy, Hungary and Finland.

“Healthy Hometowns is a truly amazing program that is bringing kids to the snow by the thousands,” said Luke Bodensteiner, US Ski & Snowboard Association vice president of athletics and a two-time Olympian, in the release. “We’re honored as a nation to have the Maine Winter Sports Center as a finalist and hope its program motivates other communities and nations to bring the excitement of our winter sports to more kids.”