by Dan Cassidy
The Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation plans to celebrate the accomplishments of disabled athletes who participate year-round in adaptive sports at the 32nd annual Ski-a-thon, according to Deb Maxfield, marketing and development director.
“This year’s theme is Randonnée, recognizing that Maine Adaptive’s Founding Partner, Sunday River will host the “Something Bigger” skimo race on Ski-A-Thon morning, Maxfield said in a media e-mail.”
Ski mountaineering racing arrived in northeastern U.S. during the 2004-05 season. The NE Rando Race Series has been organizing races since the 2008-09 season at six different venues in four different states. “As the sport has rapidly grown here in the northeast,” according to race director Jonathan Shefftz. “The time has come for a race at one of the northeast’s biggest resorts, Sunday River,” he said. “All race proceeds will benefit Maine Adaptive.”
By far the most expansive course layout ever held in the northeast, the race will attract elite aerobic athletes from the fields of alpine racing, triathlon, road running, trail running, cycling, Nordic skiing and other endurance sports. The race will be scored for the national ranking points system of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA), recognized as our nation’s governing body for the sport by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF). The ISMF has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as an official Olympic Federation in preparation for skimo racing’s inclusion as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Winter Olympics.
Competitors with a chance to podium come from many New England ski resorts. Despite such talent at the top, the Someday Bigger race is open to everyone. There will be a shortened, noncompetitive course for those looking for a different challenge. On-line registration is available until midnight Thursday, March 23 at https://www.maineadaptive.org/ski-a-thon/the-something-bigger-event/. Limited day of registration may also be available. The race begins at 9 a.m.
Maine Adaptive provides free adaptive lessons in alpine and nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, paddling, cycling, tennis and golf. The Ski-A-Thon raises over half of Maine Adaptive’s annual operating funds, which provides equipment and programming to nearly 500 adults and children annually. Throughout the winter, groups of five commit to supporting Maine Adaptive by securing donations and pledges as a Ski-A-Thon team.