Bill and Joan Alfond Competition Center
December 10, 2016
Racing Down Narrow Gauge
Chief of Race: Kate Webber Punderson,
CVA Head of School
Good afternoon and welcome to Sugarloaf – where the road to the World Cup runs down Narrow Gauge…, and off Joannie’s Jump…, down Skidder…, through Seth’s Super Pipe…, and down Sidewinder.
I am Kate Webber Punderson, Head of School at Carrabassett Valley Academy and Chief of Race of today’s Bill and Joan Alfond Competition Center World Cup Downhill. Years of dreaming, planning, preparation, and teamwork go into putting on a World Cup. Resort staff, volunteers, officials, towns people, local businesses, fans, coaches and athletes have addressed every detail to help ensure they experience the thrill of victory, and not the agony of defeat.
Today is race day and you are the racers. As you race, you will hear tales of gratitude to, and from, the people who helped make this new Competition Center a dream come true. Thank you to Sam Morse for helping us visualize today’s downhill run.
This day has dawned in classic Sugarloaf style – cold and windy. The track will be icy and fast – just the way we easterners like it. Your skis are sharp and waxed, you have picked up your bib from Nana Webber and Phoebe Stowell and made your way to the top of the mountain, hiking the last few feet up to the start house.
In the start house the view of Bigelow is breathtaking; you can even see Katahdin faintly in the background. And the view down the course is terrifying. Not unlike many racers, you think to yourself, now would be a good time to say a little prayer.
Reverend Pam Morse pops into your head. Pam is co-pastor at Sugarloaf Christian Ministry. She is also mother to alpine racers Ben and Sam Morse. While Pam has never actually stood in the Start House or raced down a hill she has true competitive spirit and has for years played an important role of supporter and on-course prayer keeper.
START HOUSE, Reverend Pam Morse
God of all good gifts, we come to this moment, we arrive at this start house, full of excitement for the future. But first we pause, and bring ourselves fully to this moment in time.
The sound of heavy equipment and power tools has become nothing more than a memory but the scent of new carpet still lingers for a few days more. The press of people standing near us speaks volumes of the memories that will be made in this place.
Our hearts are full of gratitude for those who have made this facility possible by their generous gifts of hand and heart, experience and finances. May they understand what a blessing they are to this community.
We dedicate this place to a pursuit of excellence, never forgetting your values of integrity, hard work, mercy, and community. You have created us to be in relationship with you and one another; may this place become a beloved gathering spot for many, many years to come. AMEN.
Thank you Pam, and thanks to Sam Morse who helped me remember what it’s like to race down Narrow Gauge.
As you stand in the start gate, the wind scowls across the ridge, it penetrates your thin racing suit with ease. One final radio transmission from Chip Cochrane to 'let her rip' and you’re ready. You buckle your boots, and smile with appreciation to the volunteers who have been standing up there for hours. The countdown begins…
You place your poles over the wand, and you kick out of the start.
The first section of course you encounter is the Meadows and there is no one more fitting to coach you on the right line through this terrain than coach Bruce Miles. Bruce is currently the President of the Sugarloaf Ski Club. A Sugarloafer since 1961, Bruce began coaching in 1968 and in 1973 he and his wife Kathy made Carrabassett Valley their home. Bruce and Kathy are part of the fabric of the Sugarloaf ski racing community having given generously of their time and talents for more than 40 years.
MEADOWS, Bruce Miles, President, Sugarloaf Ski Club
In the summer of 1950 several hearty skiers from Kingfield and across the state founded the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club. They had been climbing up and down the Appalachian Trail for a couple of years so they could ski in the Snowfields. Now they were ready to build a road to the base of the Mountain and a ski trail that they could skin up and ski down. Leases were negotiated from the various landowners and work began. Winter’s Way, named after Amos Winter, was the first trail they cut on the mountain.
The club has spawned what I would call many offspring. In 1955 the club voted to form the Sugarloaf Mountain Corporation and turned over its assets in exchange for stock. In 1968 the Sugarloaf Regional Ski Educational Foundation was formed with the purpose of running the junior programs, creating tutorial programs and raising scholarship money.
Out of that foundation, in 1982 Carrabassett Valley Academy was formed.
Part of the Club’s mission is also to be the keepers of Sugarloaf history, so in 1995 three members of our board of directors formed the Ski Museum of Maine, which is now located in Kingfield. All of these organizations are still assisted by the Ski Club and are flourishing.
Part of the stated purpose of the Club was to hold competitive ski meets, and we have done that continuously. Led by President Horace Chapman from Bangor, the club operated out of a rustic building at the top of what is now The Landing.
As you can see, we have come a long way.
The first ski race was run in 1952 with skiers hiking or skinning to the Snowfields and racing down Winter’s Way. The club has continued to support ski and snowboard development and competition continuously since then.
The Ski Club has grown to a membership of almost 1,400 individuals and a strong core of volunteers. They have successfully run many international competitions including SnowBoard Grand Prix , Freestyle and Alpine National Championships, NCAA Championships, World Junior Championships and the 1971 Alpine World Cup.
We continue to help the Sugarloaf Competition Department to host the best competitors in the country and the world, and we are looking forward to the 2017 U S Alpine Championships this March
Over our 66 years the club has worked out of and run programs and competitions from a variety of hastily built or acquired facilities. About 10 years ago we adopted the attitude of making sure that our world class competitions would be run out of facilities of equal stature.
The Jean Luce on-hill competition facility and Slim Melvin Timing room represented a $120,000 fund raising effort by the Ski Club, and included help from the Town of Carrabassett Valley. That building set a new standard for on-hill timing facilities in the East.
Having a world class facility like the Bill & Joan Alfond Competition Center has been a dream of the ski club for over 30 years. Nine years ago we received our first shot in the arm for the project when club members Clem and Rolande Begin made a multi-year matching pledge to help us raise $120,000 for the project. Then, a few years later, another leap of faith was made when club member Stephanie Lash made a donation so we could get going on the conceptual drawings. Many burger cookouts and raffles later, the Ski Club was able to write out a check for $200,000 to help with this building.
While saving and raising money for this facility, the Ski Club and The Sugarloaf Regional Ski Educational foundation, with help from the Town of Carrabassett Valley, has been providing scholarships for kids who want to pursue their skiing and riding dreams on this mountain that we all love so much. This past Fall over $22,000 was awarded to 62 young athletes. We also provide money to assist competitors who excel at their sport. Many of our program participants have been assisted by the Club to compete out of state or to attend high level training camps.
Over our 66 years, thousands of kids have benefited from the club’s support. We Sugarloafers can all be proud that some of these athletes have gone on to represent their country at the Olympics and other international events.
We can also be proud that we have helped develop life-long lovers of our sport.
Over 200 families have donated to help build this facility, and I want you all to know how grateful I am for the support you have shown for this project. It has been personally rewarding for me to see people I have known since they skied in our programs as children, not only contribute generously but also relate their stories of how much their years at Sugarloaf has meant to them.
I especially want to thank the donors who are members of the Ski Club’s Cardiac Club ski group. You have been steadfast supporters of the ski club and its programs and projects for many years and your friendship has been very important to Kathy and me.
You accelerate quickly through Meadows into Rainbow Right and then Rainbow Left, hoping you have the right direction as you enter the blind roll into Snow Bowl. You fight hard to maintain your line through the big turns with the horizon line of Headwall coming up fast.
My guess is running a ski resort is much like racing through Snow Bowl – balancing the elevation of service you want for your customers, something you can control with dedication and hard work, with the weather report always looming – Something you can’t control.
Karl Strand knows this balancing act well. Sugarloafer since 1986, Karl is now in his second year as President & General Manger of the Resort.
SNOW BOWL, Karl Strand, Sugarloaf General Manager
What a difference a year makes. I’m not talking about the weather, the skiing is pretty good, it’s a little cold out but I’ll take that over rain any day. I’m talking about this building. What this looked like last year, a building with a little red squirrel running around, and it has been transformed into this space. I don’t think this would have happened anywhere else. Because of the collaboration of the Ski Club, CVA, the mountain and the town, I don’t see it happening at other resorts. This is a special place. For years, Sugarloaf has been known for its racing, and skiing, and now we have a place to celebrate that. I think we alluded to having the Nationals here again this year, the second time in three years. Now we will have this new facility to brag about, and tell everybody about, it’s awesome.
Another thing, in the summertime we will use this facility for conferences and weddings. We’ll use this space, build a little patio out there, we’ll have great views of Sugarloaf, and parts of the Bigelows. We’ve actually booked a couple of conferences already.
The history here at Sugarloaf, the races, the athletes, the coaches – now they have a place to celebrate as well. But I also think this is part of the future here. This is the first building in thirty years, and it will keep Sugarloaf growing, and hopefully attract new Sugarloafers so the next generation can enjoy this new facility and the mountain. I have, as have many others, really come to love Sugarloaf, and call this home. On behalf of Sugarloaf, I’d like to thank CVA, the Ski Club, the Alfond family, and all the other donors and volunteers that help put this together.
Erik Kankainen hails from Kingfield, and grew up ski racing as part of the Sugarloaf weekend competition program, Mt. Abram High School ski team and CVA. Erik later raced for Dartmouth College where he was captain of the ski team and an NCAA All-American. Erik currently lives in Boston and works as an investment manager for GMO Renewable Resources, where he is responsible for management of GMORR’s forest and farmland investments. Erik has a 1 year old son, Connor, who is here today checking out the slopes.
HEADWALL, Erik Kankainen, CVA Class of 2001
My family is from Kingfield and has been involved in ski racing at Sugarloaf for over 50 years. My father and uncle taught themselves to ski in the field by their house, eventually graduated to the rope tow at Gilmore’s Hill and then later they would hitch a ride up to Sugarloaf with Amos Winter. They started ski racing and raced throughout high school and college. My father later coached, and was involved in the early days of the Sugarloaf tutorial program.
Then I came along. I also learned to ski in the backyard, starting racing in the lollipop league when I was 6, and after a taking a few years off early in elementary school to focus on Saturday morning cartoons, I entered the Junior Competition Program at Sugarloaf when I was 11. My ski racing journey evolved steadily from there, taking me through high school, college, and then a year after college based in Austria. When I finished competing full time and settled for a ‘real job’ in Boston, I also found my way into coaching roles at MIT and later Harvard, where as long as I was still faster than most of the athletes, I was allowed to keep running gates. I came back to race in a Sugarloaf spring series a few years later, feeling pretty good about that I still had some speed in my 26 year old legs, only to be beat handily by some kid 10 years younger than me named Ben Morse. I focused on coaching after that.
In the end, like most ski racing careers, mine had a lot of ups, even more downs, was hard to let go, but ultimately helped form who I am today. So, with that in mind, and in preparation for the dedication today, I took a little time to think about what 3 of the lasting lessons are that I learned over my years as part of the Sugarloaf program.
Skiing is fun, and a lifelong passion.
My J1/2 weekend program coach left a lasting impression on me. An impression that I made the backbone of my own coaching style much later. It was simple: he always made sure we were having fun. We would ski around twice as many trees as we would gates, have competitions to see who could get buried the deepest in a powder stash, set gates down the freestyle jump, and constantly be thinking of the next fun adventure. No matter how cold, how icey, or how crowded, you would find our rag tag group grinning ear to ear. The Sugarloaf weekend program is where I gained my love of the sport of skiing, and not just ski racing (although that came later).
Hard work and perseverance pay off.
Ski racing doesn’t hand you anything. The mountain doesn’t give you a break. You are going to ski through some rough conditions. You are going to have some tough breaks – some physical. But in the end, these challenges are surmountable.
Every year, I had 30-40 races. 30-40 chances to move a step closer to a final goal. At first the goals were simple. Don’t crash and get hurt. Then they got a little tougher - finish in the top 50% of the field. Then top 10%. Then it wasn’t just a goal to get into college, it was a goal to ski in college. Then, win races in college. Then, win races anywhere.
It’s really not that different in any other walk of life. I have goals in my personal and professional life, and I have 365 days a year to move a little closer to accomplishing them.
And the third lesson, one of the most relevant to today’s dedication; Sugarloaf showed me what a supportive community really looks like.
One hurdle that I think a lot of aspiring ski racers face is that the better you get, the harder it is to stay competitive. The sport itself requires a lot from kids and their families in terms of time, money, and support.
I owe a lot to the sport of ski racing. It afforded me the opportunity to travel the world while getting an amazing education, compete at the highest levels, and grow as an individual. But I had a lot of help along the way.
I had help from the various scholarship funds administered by the Ski Club and Sugarloaf Regional Ski Education Foundation. Funds that helped me participate in the weekend program, and later attend National Development System Camps, Noram races, and National Championship events.
I had help from CVA, who provided the support system and assistance that made it possible for me, a 17-year old kid with only one FIS slalom result (for 150.84 points), to end up racing collegiate carnivals in two short years.
And I had help from the Sugarloaf community as whole, both on and off the slopes - a support system that not only cheered for me at every race, regardless of how things went, but also provided a helping hand with college essays and interviews, or targeted advice when asked.
Point being, whether it is in the form of a community member giving someone like my dad a ride to the mountain in the 60’s, or CVA bringing a new athlete into their program, the Sugarloaf ski racing community has been fostering a passion for skiing and opening doors for kids in the community for years. My father and uncle have a story to tell, I have a story to tell, but these are just a few of the countless stories from kids who have come up through the program. So, on behalf of every kid that grew up under the watchful eyes of this community, I just want to say thank to you to everyone that has helped along the way. This competition center is a fitting next step as Maine ski racing evolves and grows. And I know we all look forward to seeing the next generation of ski racers continue to form their own new stories.
Harnessing all the speed you can out of Miles Mile, Kangaroo hits you next. Absorbing a few rollers as you pass the bottom of 3 T-bar and then prepare for flight off the Kangaroo jump. Bringing you down Kangaroo is Earle Morse, Chairman of the CVA Board of Directors and Co-Chair of the Alfond Competition Center Committee. Sugarloafer since 1981, Earle tells me that there was a time, many many years ago, that he could ski faster than his son’s Ben and Sam.
KANGAROO, Earle Morse, CVA Board Chair
Good Afternoon Everyone – thank you for coming. Being assigned the Kangaroo portion of the Narrow Gauge Trail caused me to chuckle, for on Downhill Days, it is the site of the large jump that has tossed many a competitor on their rear end.
Last winter, after we had received verbal commitments of support from the Ski Club, Sugarloaf and Bill and Joan Alfond for this project, if felt a lot like going off the jump. We had a lot of momentum, a full head of steam, but as we launched off we wondered if we could keep our hands in front of us, or whether we would start windmilling. We had a funding gap for the project of around $700,000.
Kate, Bruce and I approached the Town Selectmen and received a very warm response. They gave us the stable landing off the jump that we so needed at that point. Upon the recommendation of the Selectmen, the voters of Carrabassett Valley allocated a $100,000 for this facility. We live in an extraordinary town where the residents recognize the power of partnership. This project is one of many that the Town has helped with that in the end have so enhanced our community life together here in Carrabassett Valley. I hope that the taxpayers and residents of Carrabassett Valley see this facility as one that they will always consider home, for their support came at a crucial time for this project and helped propel us to the finish.
As a racer lands off the Kangaroo jump, they soon pass by the Jean Luce Building another partnership that the Town participated in. In front of that building are often some of our older club volunteers working the skier crossing of the trail. Volunteers are a crucial part of our race program. Whether it’s a retired airline pilot at the start, a nurse on the microphone, or a retired engineer at the finish, ski racing is an intergenerational event. In our society, our young people often spend all of their time with other young people, but in ski racing and at our club, intergenerational interactions are the norm. Al and Alice Cole have been handing out bibs for years, and are known by racers throughout New England as that super nice couple at Sugarloaf.
One of our visions for this facility is that it will enhance and provide more space and opportunity for those interactions between all generations. Research has shown that those intergenerational relationships are key factors in helping young people grow and mature in healthy ways. So bring your lunch, and have a conversation with someone of a different age, ask a middleschooler what their ski goals are for the season, talk colleges with another, high five a little one as she clutches her Kirsten Clark Race ribbon. We want to thank the Joan and Bill Alfond Foundation for embracing this vision for intergenerational interaction through the sport of ski racing. Personally it was a significant factor for my boys, Ben and Sam as they came up through the weekend program. Many of you were part of mentoring my boys – thank you for that.
Again, thank you for the generosity of the Sugarloaf Community, you have made today possible.
Having landed the Kangaroo jump you settle into your tuck and your legs begin to talk back, screaming for a break. But the compression on Peavey crosscut provides no such thing. This is the fastest part of the course and you’re approaching 70 miles per hour. The rocket boosters kick in as you shoot pass the tenacious mothers ringing their bells on the deck of the Jean Luce building. You prepare for one final move through The Hook, this is the crux of the race, often where it is won or lost, as you must carry all your speed onto the final flats.
There is no one better to keep you on the right line, help you use your momentum and carry your speed than Kate O’Halloran. Kate is the Director of Development & Alumni Connections at CVA. A Sugarloafer since 1972, Kate has been at CVA for nearly five years.
HOOK, Kate O'Halloran, CVA Director of Development
What a great honor and privilege it is to be with you all here today. It is both wonderful and frankly, very humbling, to see so many familiar faces.
As you have heard from Bruce, Karl and Earle, this has been a truly collaborative project, like nothing I have ever seen. We worked together to build a facility that would honor the past but be ready for the future. We compromised, cajoled, and all brought our best and most creative thoughts to the table. Just imagine building a new house, a very large and beautiful new house, with three siblings. Siblings who grew up together but, as they became adults, each had different needs. That is exactly what we did here and we should all be very proud of that.
I’m going to take a few minutes to recognize and thank some very special people and I’d like to apologize in advance if there is anyone whom we forget to specifically mention. Projects like this indeed take a village. In our case, it was a Valley, and this is a wonderfully special Valley with characters, champions, and heroes at every turn.
Rick Goduti was our lead architect, and is a long time Sugarloafer. He and his capable colleague Maggie Stanley designed and created a building that is not only functional and spectacular to look at, but perhaps most importantly, fits perfectly into the landscape and available footprint, which was a challenging endeavor.
Once the design was done, we put the construction job out to a formal bid, and we selected another longtime Sugarloafer Linwood Doble as our Construction Manager. It quickly became apparent that not only was Linwood the right man for the job, he was the only man for the job. Linwood, you have long been known for your skills as a craftsman, but the traits that became so evident and were most valuable are your ability to juggle a million moving parts, competing priorities, and interesting personalities and to do so in your own calm, focused, and deliberate way. The shovels hit the ground on May 1, and you delivered the completed project on the exact day it was due, only 7 ½ months later. You kept the project, and all of us, on track. Thank you so very much and Linwood, our relationship moved from a handshake this summer to a hug by this fall, and just because this project is done, don’t think I am going to stop hugging you every time I see you!
We also want to recognize the members of the Competition Center Committee, chaired by Earle Morse and Tom Pelletier, which met weekly for a year. Many of these folks are also CVA Trustees, who did double duty and gave freely of their time and energy. Your diligence and commitment was tremendous. CVA Trustee Paul Fritzson chaired the construction committee and Trustee Kevin Burns chaired the fundraising committee.
The fundraising for this project was truly extraordinary. In less than 1 year, we raised $2,025,000 from 231 donors. That would never have happened were it not for the hard work, leadership and tenacity of Kevin and the fundraising committee, and the connections to the Sugarloaf Ski Club provided by Bruce Miles and Greg and Cindy Foster.
As Earle mentioned, we are so grateful to the Carrabassett Valley officials and residents who unanimously voted in favor of a $100,000 gift. I will admit, it was a long, tense night for me on March 9th at the Town Meeting as we sat through 61 other articles being voted upon. But we got the vote we needed and crossed a huge milestone that night.
Another important gift that propelled us forward was from the H. King and Jean Cummings Trust, spearheaded by Warren Cook, which named the lobby and also arranged for us to have a piece of Langlais art, the mule, which adorns the wall. I am quite sure there are not many other ski resorts that have such an important piece of American art, and we are so pleased to have several members of King Cummings’ family with us here today.
Speaking of mules, specifically Colby mules, we are delighted to welcome President David Greene and other members of Colby’s senior leadership team here today. I will tell you that Kate and I got to choose among three pieces of available Langlais art and the mule was an obvious choice – especially given that the other two were a camel and a tiger. We are also deeply grateful to Colby and the Ferri family for their significant contribution to name the fantastic ski and tuning room down the hall, and we are thrilled that Colby has a dedicated team room on the second floor, so we hope to be seeing a lot more mules in the building for years to come.
Colby will be joined upstairs by the University of Maine at Farmington, who also made a significant contribution to the project. We are pleased that this facility led to an agreement with the University which will allow them to enhance their alpine operations program.
I want to personally thank my pal and golf partner Gretchen Roy, who we recruited this fall to help with signage and to coordinate this event, as well as Melissa Fogg and Sarah Hinman, from the development team at CVA, who found a way to juggle this project on top of all their other work.
At this point I would ask the members of the CVA Board of Trustees, members of the Competition Center Committees. CVA development staff, Carrabassett Valley town officials to raise their hand and be recognized.
Now for the fun part – I invite everyone who made a contribution to the project to please raise their hand and be recognized.
I want to recognize one other person who played a pivotal role in making this all come together, and that is CVA Head Of School, Kate Webber Punderson. As if being in charge of a high school is not challenging enough, imagine doing it in the Western mountains of Maine. And we send our student athletes around the world with the goal of hurling themselves down snow covered terrain at 80 miles an hour, launching themselves off 50 foot jumps, and going as fast as they can through glades of trees. Being the one responsible for all that is surely quite stressful. And then we added another challenge: Securing the funds to design and construct a new building, in one year, with three partners, on land that is not part of our campus. So Kate, I hope that at least tonight, you get a good night’s sleep – please join me in a round of applause for the hardest working woman in Carrabassett Valley, Kate Webber Punderson.
I have been working in development for almost a decade now and I have never been a part of an effort that is so remarkable. People often comment on how difficult my job must be, and I will admit, I did not, at age 10, have the burning desire to grow up and be a fundraiser.
People often say “I could never do your job” or “how do you do your job?” but the reality is that it is a gift to be able to do this work. The trick is, I actually never ask anyone for money. I simply talk with people, explain what we are trying to do, listen to their thoughts to learn what is important, and together we decide if the project feels right. This was most definitely a compelling project, in the right place at the right time, and being a part of it felt really good to a whole lot of people. Thank you to all the donors who helped to make this possible. Every dollar, every gift, made a difference.
I still laugh about the day that I was at the ski shop as I desperately needed a new helmet. So there I was, trying on a bright purple ski helmet when the phone rang and I knew I needed to answer it. I could not for the life of me get the helmet off in time, so I stuck my phone under the helmet and ducked into a fitting room so I could try to concentrate. The voice on the end of the phone was calm and kind, as Phyllis Jalbert graciously explained that she would like to make a gift, a significant gift, in honor of Bill and Joan Alfond. Needless to say, I bought that helmet, and Phyllis, thanks to you, that is now officially my lucky helmet.
But this project also resonated with and inspired many new donors, some of whom had never made such a gift, but wanted to leave their legacy by naming a locker, or a bench. The five Gifford boys came together and named a room for their mother. Gifts came in to honor long time Sugarloafers, new Sugarloafers, Sugarloafers who have left us too soon and those who have just arrived. Some of that next generation is here with us today, and we can’t wait to see what you will accomplish.
So Bill and Joan, we hope that you know just how powerful your gift is. You not only made a long awaited dream become a reality, you have inspired enormous collective generosity, palpable excitement and sustainable synergy. Together we have created a facility that is about so much more than competition – this will be a place for celebration, learning, leading, tuning, training, teaching, rest, and recovery. A space for old friends to gather and for new friendships to be forged.
On behalf of all us in this room, those of us who love this mountain, and those who call this Valley home – thank you. We are deeply grateful for your generosity, we are inspired by your leadership and we are honored to call you friends.
Hurtling out of The Hook, legs on fire, lungs burning, face blisteringly numb, the finish line appears in the top of your goggle frames. As you realize the race is coming to the end you think back to who started it all and you realize the same people that helped start you on this journey, will get you through the finish.
Bill Alfond and his family have been among the most tenacious, committed Sugarloaf supporters since the very beginning. Their enormous generosity has enabled thousands of young people in Maine to gain confidence, seek new horizons, and achieve remarkable results through the important experience and life lessons learned through athletics. There is certainly no possible better name than Alfond to adorn this landmark building, and even though we have asked you here today to get us across the finish, we all know that this is just the beginning of the next great chapter in Sugarloaf and CVA history.
FINISH LINE, Bill Alfond
Thank you Kate, both Kates, I am glad my family is here, my sister Susan, we have gone back many many years in this community. I will tell you my Narrow Gauge story at the end, it did make an impression. I want to thank all the other speakers, all the good words spoken, which means I can talk less. This is the finish, I guess we have finished the race, this race was a fast one.
Our family has been skiing at Sugarloaf since the 50’s, Joanie and I met here. You’ll remember the Red Stallion. We got married there. And both our parents, Alice and Alan Loring, and Harold and Bibbie Alfond, had come here. Today we have three of four generations sitting here. Our son Justin, his wife Rachel, our son Reis, his wife Steph, and some of their children representing the fourth generation of Sugarloafers.
Sugarloaf is a skier’s mountain, bound together, that we can be part of this community. We just witnessed putting this facility together, what a community can do, when everyone puts their mind to it, and in the collaboration among CVA, the Ski Club (1400 members), the Town of Carrabassett Valley, is something special. That I’ve had the good fortune, with Maine people, to be able to put up the money for this building, this facility, and I can say this proudly, this is the best coordinated, most valued, and on budget I have ever been part of. So thank you.
The proud owners of this space will know that more generations of our families will be able to continue with this challenging and occasionally humbling extraordinary mountain. I can remember when I was at Colby, I was able to watch the World Cup Downhill on Narrow Gauge. That shall stay with me, learning on the rope tow, spending the day falling off the Number Three T-Bar, and finally getting to Narrow Gauge. It seemed as if it took the rest of the day to work my way back down the trail, while skiers were flying by me.
It is exciting that this competition center will help usher in the Nationals Championship that was heard about, and give Sugarloaf its rightful place of honor to be known as a mountain that produces skiers. Thank you all for helping.
Thank you all so much for being with us here today. We invite those of you who are brave enough to join us outside right now for the official ribbon cutting, and then come on back inside to enjoy each other’s company and some refreshments. ~ Kate Webber Punderson