Skinny skis, rifles and cow bells return to northern Maine
Top American and Canadian winter biathletes return to Aroostook County in February and March for the U.S Biathlon NorAm Cup Races.
Presque Isle’s Nordic Heritage Center will host the cup event February 21-22, while Fort Kent’s 10th Mountain Ski Center will be the last stop on the cup tour March 19-22, and will decide the U.S. National Biathlon Championships the same weekend.
Biathlon, the exciting Olympic sport that combines cross country skiing and rifle marksmanship, has flourished in northern Maine where the average winter snowfall is nine feet. The venues at Presque Isle and Fort Kent have 20 and 25 kilometers of ski trail, large visitor lodges, wax buildings, and biathlon stadiums with 30-station shooting ranges and spectator seating.
The locations have hosted World Cup, world junior championship and U.S. championship competitions for biathlon and nordic skiing. The 2009 NorAm Cup events will feature male and female biathletes competing in sprint, pursuit and mass start races.
For more information about the NorAm Cup events call the Maine Winter Sports Center at 207-492-1444 or visit www.mainewsc.org.
Nordic Skiing in Maine
- The Maine Winter Sports Center operates or supports biathlon and Nordic skiing programs at six Maine ski areas. The Nordic Heritage Center and 10th Mountain Ski Center are two of only four U.S. venues that have held major international biathlon competitions. Black Mountain in Rumford was the site of the 2003 and 2004 U.S. Cross Country Championships, and hosted the World Championships for Cross Country in 1950.
- In 2006 the United States Biathlon Association moved its headquarters to the Pineland Farms Ski Center in New Gloucester, Maine.
- Fifty settlers from Stockholm, Sweden, helped popularize the sport of nordic skiing when they arrived in Aroostook County in 1870. They made skis out of wood and competed in distance races that covered as many as 180 miles over four days.
- The town of Westmanland was founded by Swedes and today has northern Maine’s largest network (more than 35K) of recreational nordic ski trails.
- The towns of Carrabassett Valley and Newry have the most nordic trails in western Maine, while Acadia National Park’s 45 miles of carriage roads is the largest ski circuit in eastern Maine. Family farms and small ski centers provide nordic skiing throughout the southern part of the state.