In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

Ski Club & Ski Team History

The first Ski Club was formed at the Farmington State Teachers College in 1952. It was a popular organization and continued to grow in membership through the early 1960s. The group skied at Titcomb Memorial Slope and made an annual trip to Sugarloaf in Kingfield. Ski club members, led by student coach Francis “Knute” Paul, first began competing against students from University of Maine, Bowdoin and Colby in 1961-62.

Ski Team, 1962 (P. Selwood, R. Smith, L. Greenleaf, D. Maguire, K. Marquis, S. Smith, F. Paul)

The first competitive men’s ski team was formed in 1966. Under the leadership of Tom Reynolds, the team quickly developed into one of the best in the country, winning consecutive NESCAC Northern Division championships in 1967 – 1972. Several skiers competed at the NCAA level as well in this period. During the early 1970s, the UMF Ski School was formed. Ski Club members provided free lessons for any of the college’s students, staff and faculty and their spouses. The first women’s alpine ski team was formed in 1971. The university's ski teams continued to compete until skiing was dropped from the athletics program in 1984.

Ski Industries Certificate Program

The Ski Industries Certification Program was founded by Tom Reynolds in 1971. The unique program soon became highly respected in the national skiing world. Certificate requirements could be integrated into a four year degree in business, teaching and coaching or rehabilitation. The program required a practicum experience and a semester-long internship working in the ski industry. Practicum was usually completed during sophomore year and typically involved sophomores giving lessons to first year Ski Industry students and alpine skiing and snowboarding lessons in physical education classes. Internships were general fulfilled in senior year and could be completed anywhere in the world. The UMF Ski Industries Program certification also included Level I certificate with the Professional Ski Instructors of America (PSIA), and students could also opt to test for Levels II and III of PSIA.

Coach Tom Reynolds with Jack Shannon (L) and Jeff Hawksely (R), 1973

As of 1997, the two course areas of concentration included Elite Alpine Coaching Specialist and Skiing and the Environment. The program had 90 students enrolled that year. Over the years, many of the graduates became ski instructors at schools, ski resorts or national ski programs. Others found careers in shop management or in sales and promotion.

For many years the UMF Ski Industries partnered with Titcomb Mountain to offer an “Alpine Snow Kids” training and racing program for Maine children. Ski programs have also been offered for children and adults at Sunday River Ski Resort, Black Mountain and Sugarloaf.

The Ski Industries Program was eliminated in 2009 when the university made program changes due to budget cuts. The 55 students in the program at the time were allowed to finish the program and get their certification.

A New Era of Skiing at UMF

In 2007, the university obtained a grant from the Libra Foundation to support the development of an Alpine Ski team. The grant allowed the ski club to transition to a competitive ski team with additional coaching. The newly formed Alpine Ski teams for men and women began training in fall 2007 and competing in spring 2008. The teams did well enough their first year to complete in the USCSA Eastern Regional Championships. Over the years, the team expanded include Nordic skiing and snowboarding and has had many successful seasons. Notable team members include Katie Keough (USCSA National champion snowboarder) and Whitney LeMay (All American snowboarder).

Ski Team competitor, ca. 1972

In 2015, a new Alpine Operations certificate program was initiated. UMF alumnus Scott Hoisington was hired as its coordinator and ski coach, in addition to serving as the competitive alpine ski team’s coach. This new program combines business and ski classes with practical instruction experience and an internship. As with the earlier program, students also earn a Level I PSIA certification. The partnership with Titcomb Mountain also resumed under the new ski certificate program.

Sources: Ski Team Scrapbook, 1962 – 1974; “UMF skiers serve rehabilitation needs” Franklin Journal, Feb. 9, 1993; Farmington First, May 1997; “Titcomb Mountain in West Farmington had a terrific season last winter and is gearing up for another year of fun, fresh air and healthy winter activities” Sun Journal, Nov. 4, 2001; “UMF ski program received funding” Morning Sentinel, Oct. 12, 2007; UMF scratches ski program, Sun Journal, March 29, 2009; “Unique Ski Program Closing at UMaine-Farmington” The Portland Daily Sun, Feb. 12, 2009; “UMF names Scott Hoisington as New Alpine Operations Coordinator and Ski Coach” Media Release, June 11, 2015; University of Maine at Farmington: A Study in Educational Change (1864-1974), Richard P. Mallett, © 1974; UMF Yearbooks, 1962 - 1985.