Ski event marks 150th

15 years ago

CARIBOU, Maine — Sprint races are a common occurrence at ski events and venues throughout New England. Sprint races that offer cash prizes to the fastest skiers, however, are a fairly uncommon occurrence. Even more unique is the idea of such an event being held in the center of a city’s downtown business district. In fact, it’s unheard of, and that’s exactly what the coordinators of Caribou’s upcoming Maine Invitational Ski Sprint are aiming for.
“A sprint race is exciting, for both skiers and spectators,” Sam Collins, the chair of the event’s Organizing Committee, opined recently “but we are hoping to take this type of race to the next level.”
Usually about one kilometer in length, a ski sprint is a race format that pits heats of skiers in an all-out dash for the finish line. The fastest skiers in each heat advance until just a handful remain in the final round.
This sprint race will feature 250-meter and 500-meter races for Middle School and High School skiers from Aroostook County and beyond, and will serve to crown Maine’s Fastest Man and Woman on skis.
In addition, the ‘Downtown Dash for the Cash’–as it is locally known–will award a total purse of $2000 to the fastest skiers. In the interest of supporting extracurricular Nordic ski programs, the group will award grants to the athletic departments of the top three participating boys’ and girls’ middle school and high school teams. In the open class, a cash prize will be awarded to the top male and female finishers in each of two age divisions.
“One of the goals [of the Organizing Committee] is to attract the best skiers in Maine,” commented Bob Sprague, the event’s Race Director, when asked about the cash purse. “And the youth skiers are the future of the sport. The grant money to their schools provides an incentive for them to participate. On top of that, we’re really hoping to create a memorable ski experience for everyone who comes to the race.”
Set in Lyndon Square, in the heart of the city, the atmosphere in the venue will be like that of no other in New England. Skiers will enjoy the inviting yet festive feel of the event, while spectators will benefit from the 360-degree vista and vantage points from as high as 20 feet above the course.
The event is being held on Saturday, Feb. 28, to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the incorporation of “The Most Northeastern City in the United States,” and to honor the rich skiing heritage that abounds in Caribou and the surrounding area.
FMI visit, or contact Mark Shea at 492-1444, or via email at