The Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club was founded in the summer of 1950. After securing leases and right-of-ways on Sugarloaf Mountain, a crew of volunteers cut the first trail that fall and named it Winter's Way after Amos Winter. It wasn't long before the Club decided that it should host a ski competition. The Sugarloaf Schuss was born in 1952 and is still hosted annually. Since that time, ski and snowboard competition has been an important part of the Ski Club's mission. Over many years the Ski Club has played host to hundreds of ski and snowboard competitions from kids' races to International events.
With the ever growing popularity of skiing and competing and the need for more on slope training time for athletes to be competitive, the club had to grow and expand its scope. The Sugarloaf Regional Ski Educational Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit, was established by the club in 1968 to not only fund the competitions but to help local athletes with the cost of achieving their competitive dreams. The first mid-week training camps, called tutorials, were established and this later led to the formation in 1982 of Carrabassett Valley Academy.
In 1992, Sugarloaf formed a formal competition department, and with the help of ski club volunteers, took on the responsibilities of running the competitions. In addition to helping with the competitions, 1,300+ members of the Ski Club raise many thousands of dollars annually to help young skiers and snowboarders to be able to fulfill their dreams.
Now the largest ski area anywhere east of the Rocky Mountains Sugarloaf began humbly, with a single trail cut by Amos Winter and other members of the Sugarloaf Ski Club, fondly known as "The Bigelow Boys." From the beginning, competition was at the very heart of Sugarloaf's identity, with the original Sugarloaf Schuss beginning a tradition of competitive excellence at the mountain.
Sugarloaf's competitive bona fides grew quickly during the early years, culminating in a legendary World Cup event in 1971. The Tall Timber Classic cemented Sugarloaf's reputation as the premier east coast venue for competition, and that reputation continues to this day, with skiers and snowboarders flocking to the mountain to test themselves against the world's best. Sugarloaf hosted the U.S. Alpine Championships in 2015, with legends Lindsey Vonn and Mikaela Shiffrin leading the charge, and the resort is set to host the same championships again in 2017.
Throughout its history, Sugarloaf has thrived due to partnerships with local communities and programs, like CVA, the Sugarloaf Ski Club, and the Town of Carrabassett Valley.
Carrabassett Valley Academy is the offshoot of the Sugarloaf Regional Ski Educational Foundation (SRSEF), which began operations in 1968 to help racers and freestylers sharpen their skills for competitive skiing. While the tutorial program was successful, members of the SRSEF and others soon became interested in establishing a ski academy at Sugarloaf in order to allow young athletes to stay in the Western Mountains of Maine rather than attend ski academies out of state. In the winter of 1982-1983, spurred by visionary H. King Cummings and other enthusiastic pioneers, Carrabassett Valley Academy opened its doors for the first time as a five-month, winter-term tutorial program.
CVA's charge was to develop a school for student-athletes based on the Greek ideal of developing equally the body, mind, and spirit. With its initial 15 students, the program was designed to provide young athletes with a high quality college-preparatory academic program while allowing for and emphasizing time on the mountain. The following year CVA relocated to the former Capricorn Lodge as a full-time ski academy and college preparatory program. Since that time, CVA has seen many exciting changes and reached a number of goals and milestones including the first snowboard, big mountain and freeride programs.