In addition to our scholarship program that benefits students enrolled in Sugarloaf and CVA on-snow programs, we support a program that benefits many children from local schools – the Ski/Skate program, which brings local youth to the mountain on several afternoons during the ski season.
The Ski/Skate program began as “Just Ski” in the mid-1960s when Norton Luce, Ski Club President, was on the USEASA board of directors. A fellow board member from Pennsylvania, who owned a ski shop, said all his old kids' skis were going to the dump when he got back home from the annual meeting. Norton’s wife Jean said "oh no, they won't" and had them all shipped up here.
Jean split up the skis between Kingfield Elementary School and Stratton School. Stratton already had a parents organization, so they could handle the equipment. Jean started a PSO in Kingfield to do the same. The stipulation was they had to be distributed as a loan, and returned at the end of each season to be available for others. We, the ski club, got the Sugarloaf Mountain instructors (Jean was one of them) to provide lessons and hot chocolate for $1 a day for 8 weeks.
When Harry Baxter became head of ski school in 1966, he was going to discontinue the program. Jean recounts, "We quickly called a meeting of the Ski Club directors, with Harry, in my living room. Harry quickly changed his mind once he learned what was involved - the instructors weren't being paid, they donated their time; it was the hot chocolate that cost the $1". The Skate component began when the Sugarloaf Touring Center (now the Outdoor Center) was built.
All these years later, the price is still low, a nominal $5. The Sugarloaf Ski Club, through a fund set up in memory of Norton Luce, provides funds to assist local kids from Strong, Phillips, Kingfield, and Stratton. The Ski/Skate program gives to many youth the opportunity to experience outdoor winter activity, and for some it will lead to a lifelong love of outdoor sports.