Back in the 1980s and ’90s, the U.S. Pro Ski Tour featured some of the sport’s biggest names racing head-to-head on national television for prize money totaling $1 million.

The tour fizzled after founder Ed Rogers of Bath sold it in 1998. But Rogers thinks he can resurrect the format as the World Pro Ski Tour.

“There seems to be a lot of interest in getting it off the ground again,” said Rogers, 77.

The key to success this time, Rogers said, will be joining forces with recent Colby College graduate and ski racer Craig Marshall.

“While I lack the experience, I have passion and energy, and I certainly have a lot of ski industry connections,” said Marshall, 23, son of public relations veteran Nancy Marshall of Nancy Marshall Communications.

Their chances could be good, said Brian Corcoran, founder of the Portland-based marketing firm Shamrock Sports & Entertainment.

“Based on my knowledge of it, it was very successful,” Corcoran said of Rogers’ made-for-TV ski tour. “And it has a very loyal community of followers that believe in Ed, and he has a partner with a vision to bring it back.”

Rogers, co-owner of the restaurant J.R. Maxwell & Co. in Bath, began his venture on a whim in 1976 while owning a restaurant at Sugarloaf. He asked coaches and former college skiers to race against each other side-by-side, rather than one at a time against the clock. As the format grew in popularity among spectators, Rogers took it to a regional level. Eventually he went national by gaining major sponsors – including Chrysler and Anheuser–Busch – and purchased air time from ESPN and other networks.

He ran the enterprise above his Bath restaurant, and flew around the country drumming up corporate sponsors and securing TV deals.

In time the tour attracted World Cup skiers such as Gale “Tiger” Shaw, who competed in the 1984 and 1988 Winter Olympics; Phil Mahre, who won 27 World Cup events; and Mahre’s brother, Steve.

Since only World Cup ski events are televised now (outside of the X-Games), Rogers thinks there would be interest from sponsors and spectators in another televised ski tour.

“The whole name of the game is getting sponsors,” Rogers said. “Ski areas make money on lift tickets. We have to get all the money from sponsors. We have to put together a TV platform, schedule events. Right now we have four major ski areas willing to hold the events.”

Marshall started skiing at age 2 and racing at age 6. He attended Carrabassett Valley Academy and also raced while at Colby. He worked briefly at Shamrock Sports & Entertainment, where he got the idea to launch the World Pro Ski Tour. In October he approached Rogers.

“He was very enthusiastic to speak with me,” said Marshall. “In fact, he said he had been trying to get it off the ground for 10 years. But there had never been the right mix of people or the timing. When I came along and expressed interest in being the lead guy, he was quick to get the whole thing going.”

Marshall said they hope to begin with six races in 2017, tapping into professional skiers who are ranked among the world’s top 100. Ideally the purse money would attract the world’s best Alpine racers.

“The World Cup run by the International Skiing Federation has been around a long time. It’s our major leagues, if you will. The real shame is there isn’t anything else,” Marshall said. “Ski racing around the world is a funnel that all leads to the World Cup and no other opportunities. This will ideally be something to complement that.”

Rogers said they would target ski areas near major U.S. cities, as well as at major resorts like Vail and Keystone in Colorado.

Right now Marshall runs the operation out of his Portland apartment. The tour’s Facebook page was created Dec. 23 and its website is being built. Soon he and Rogers will look for investors, then sponsors.

“The good news for them is there are people with pretty deep pockets who have a strong affinity for the sport,” Corcoran said. “There has got to be a calculated risk with this venture.

“But I can speak as a casual skier and as someone who skis at Sugarloaf, there seems in the past few years to be broader participation and interest in the sport.”