Evan Hornbach of Mount Blue High School competes during the Nordic state meet last season at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUGUSTA — Should there be a high school ski season this winter, there will be no state championship meets in Aroostook County because of travel concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Maine Principals’ Association announced it will seek alternative venues for the three Nordic state meets, as well as Class B Alpine, because most teams would need to stay overnight. The Nordic meets were scheduled in Fort Kent and Presque Isle, while Big Rock Mountain in Mars Hill was to host the Class B Alpine. Shawnee Peak in Bridgton is scheduled to host the Class A Alpine.

“This is not the right year to go to Aroostook County,” said MPA assistant director Mike Bisson. “To go to Aroostook County, teams would have to stay overnight because of the travel, and this is not the year for that. We need to find something a little more central that can do a one-day championship.”

The decision to move the state ski meets out of Aroostook County comes as many schools across the state are trying to squeeze in an abbreviated fall sports season with travel restrictions during the pandemic. Schools that have proceeded with fall sports are playing regionalized schedules.

“We are looking at other options,” Bisson said.

Maranacook athletic director Brant Remington — who is a member of the MPA Ski Committee — agreed that it wouldn’t make sense for teams to make long bus trips and overnight hotel stays. At a time when teams are using regionalized schedules for fall sports, Maranacook, for example, would travel about 270 miles to Fort Kent to compete.


“When we talked about at the end of last winter that it was time for Aroostook County to host some ski meets, that was before really knowing anything about COVID-19,” Remington said. “Because of the pandemic now, it just makes total sense not to be sending schools up and staying in hotels, with three or four kids in a room. It would be better to hold off and send them up in a normal situation.”

Last year, the Class A/B/C Nordic meets took place at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, while the Class B Alpine meet was at Black Mountain in Rumford. Both locations could be potential hosts again, but Remington said factors like ski lodges and how many skiers or fans can attend, and how they would be spaced out, could play a factor in the final decision.

“There’s a bunch of possibilities out there,” Remington said. “What needs to happen is, a couple of us need to talk to those venues — places like Titcomb and Black — because they’ve got a ski lodge there and there’s also the public that’s around. Are the people going to need to stay (socially distanced), and what’s that going to look like?

“There are a couple places around, especially for Nordic, that’s not in that situation, like Stark’s Hill in Fryeburg. I know they had put in as a possible site this year, before (choosing) Aroostook. Quarry Road Trails (in Waterville) is another possibility. It doesn’t have a big ski lodge and mountain like Black or Titcomb, it’s more just Nordic trails. I know that place has been thrown out there as a possibility.”

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