The 19th annual award for the Ironman of Skiing was held Sunday at the Pass Holder’s Barbecue at Sugarloaf Mountain, under a mixture of clouds, showers and warming temperatures.
Several hundred-pass holders were on hand to celebrate the event with The Steves Band from Carrabassett Valley entertaining the crowd. Sugarloaf staff members were on hand to serve up a bountiful feast of hamburgers, chicken, hot dogs and a large variety of salads and refreshments.
This annual event is held in memory of the original Sugarloafer and Ironman, Paul Schipper, who skied Sugarloaf a total of 3,903 consecutive days. “Paul Schipper skied every day that the mountain was open,” said Richard Crusher Wilkinson, Vice President of Operations. “There was a time when Schipper’s son was getting married out of state and he skied a run in the early morning, attended his son’s wedding and made it back that night to take a run. We provided a snow cat so he could get to the top of the mountain and ski down,” he said.
This year’s award was presented to Bob Farrar, a resident of Coplin Plantation. Farrar retired last fall after working for 27 years as Assistant City Manager for the City of Bangor. He and his wife, Bonnie, moved to the Carrabassett Valley area shortly after. He has been skiing since 1975, beginning at the Kiwanis Ski Tow in Gorham and has skied at Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton.
Farrar has skied a total of 144 days to date this year. “If all goes well, I hope to make it to the end of the season, and I’ll get in 159 days,” he said.
The Ironman of Skiing isn’t just about the number of days you ski. It’s about getting out there every day of the season in all kinds of weather and temperature, and Farrar has done just that. Wilkinson said that this season, Farrar did a little something like Schipper did. He skied at Sugarloaf, flew out to Telluride, Colo. to ski and flew back here that night to ski so he wouldn’t miss a day.
Ironman Award growing
Previous recipients of the Ironman Award include Paul Schipper, 1999; Tom Spring, 2000; Don Fowler, 2001; Rick Chenard, 2002; J.J. Clements, 2003; Henry Bacon, 2004; Peter Shaw, 2005; Dick McWilliams, 2006; Bill Haefele, 2007; Cooper Friend, 2008; Bob Garrett, 2009; Paul Fritzon and Martha Drury, 2010; Fran Nelson Stanhope, 2011; Tom Hanson, 2012; Ed Hendrickson, 2013; Bear Thompson and Mike Tighe, 2015; and Chris Prudente, 2016.
The pursuit for the next Ironman recipient begins the day Sugarloaf opens for the 2017-2018 season.
Ski and ride safely. Use your head and don’t forget to wear a helmet.