The weekend of Oct. 28 was a very special night for, as the official program stated, “eight amazing skiers and visionaries who made Maine the way skiing should be.”

And for the more than 200 skiers, boarders and snow sport supporters who gathered at Lost Valley Ski Area in Auburn for the ninth consecutive year to both honor significant contributors to their sport and to kick off the upcoming season, it was the perfect opportunity to see old friends brought together through a love of the sport.

And, by coincidence, the season began the following day when Sunday River opened and a record-breaking October snowstorm arrived.

The Class of 2011 brought to the Hall of Fame a total of 80 inductees since the inaugural event in 2003 who have been recognized for their accomplishments in building the sport and business, or who have gained fame in competition.

Members of the newly inducted class are Mainers who, in the words of Dave Irons, longtime chairman of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame Committee, “have had a profound impact on Maine skiing and are examples of how our sport can be influenced by those highly visible and those whose role is behind the scenes.”

ED MacDONALD

Ed MacDonald started skiing in his hometown of Rumford, and the sport became a very important part of his life. As a freelance writer and a staffer for the Lewiston Sun Journal, Ed was called by his publisher “not a journalist’s journalist but a people’s journalist.” His writing influenced people to take up the sport and elevated many competitors to heroic status.

His skill was recognized when he was named Chief of World Press for the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, a position he was to hold 20 years later at the 1980 Games in Lake Placid.

WERNER ROTHBACHER

Werner Rothbacher was hardly your typical ski instructor, as he arrived in the United States in 1952 as a Fulbright Scholar at Springfield College after graduating from the University of Graz and earning a doctorate from the University of Vienna.

He returned to Austria, where he taught skiing until 1957. That year he emigrated to Maine to direct the Sugarloaf Ski School and introduce the Austrian technique to a generation of Mainers, and to launch the area’s ambitious Junior Program to develop young skiers.

In 1966 he left to embark on an academic career, but he stayed close to the sport by directing the Lost Valley Ski School with its cadre of 100 instructors (Maine’s largest), and coaching at Colby and Bowdoin.

CHIP CROTHERS

Inspired by a young patient nearly 30 years ago who had difficulty walking but could ski, Dr. Chip Crothers launched, with the help of Les Otten at Sunday River, an organization that now serves more than 400 people with disabilities in eight different sports at 20 program sites throughout Maine.

As the creator and now a supporter of Maine Handicapped Skiing, Crothers has inspired thousands to accomplish things they never thought possible.

JOHN GREENE

As a four-event skier in the 1960s at Edward Little High School in Auburn, John Greene started winning skimeister honors and continued his remarkable performances as a collegiate competitor.

After his competitive career, he innovated a variety of cross-country boot and binding designs. In 1972 he created North American Nordic with a fellow competitor Joe Pete Wilson, resulting in the establishment of 12 touring centers in New England and New York.

OWEN WELLS

Owen Wells’ interest in assisting young athletes, who had the talent to compete on the international level but lacked the resources to fund their travel, training and other expenses, led him to secure sponsorships from a variety of Maine firms to let them realize their dreams.

His other significant contribution to Maine skiing, as the leader of the Libra Foundation, has been his unwavering support in assisting communities to realize their economic potential through investments in winter recreation facilities.

Today, the Maine Winter Sports Center in Aroostook County is known worldwide for the quality of biathlon competitors who have trained there and the competitions it has held.

CARLA MARCUS

A lifelong skiing enthusiast, and a leader in snow sport safety as a ski patroller and leader of Sugarloaf’s Safety Patrol in the 1980s and ’90s, Carla Marcus has contributed to Maine skiing in the realm of education and physical fitness. Her Winterkids program, which she founded in 2000 and led until her retirement in 2007, is dedicated to enhancing the relationship between children’s health and outdoor winter activity.

What started as a simple Passport program to get fifth-graders out on skis has evolved into an effort that not only has helped thousands of Maine kids but has been adopted in other skiing states as well.

DAVID FARRAR

That a boy from Gorham who learned to ski on a local rope tow-served slope, the Big K, would rise to become one of the most influential freestyle judges in the world comes as no surprise to those who know Dave Farrar well.

Competing as a young man in national freestyle competitions, Farrar came to the attention of Irv Kagan, another Mainer and Hall of Fame member widely considered to be the father of American freestyle.

Convinced by Kagan to become a judge, and later a trainer for judges, Farrar has judged more than 25 competitions at the Olympic, World Cup and world championship levels.

HORACE HAPMAN

The Pied Piper of skiing in Penobscot County in the 1930s, Horace Hapman would take Bangor youths to Grey Stone Farm in Veazie and Paradise Park in Hampden to foot-pack freshly fallen snow and introduce them to the as-yet-undiscovered sport of Alpine skiing.

Instrumental in the installation of rope tows on hills in Orrington and Dedham, Hapman is best remembered as the man who labored shoulder to shoulder with Amos Winter to cut the first trail on Sugarloaf. As the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club’s co-founder and first president, he served for years with distinction on the Sugarloaf Mountain Corp. board of directors.

John Christie is a former ski racer and ski area manager and owner, a ski historian and member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. He and his son, Josh, write ski columns on alternating weeks. John Christie can be reached at:

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