Parent volunteer Ethan Robertson of Canaan gives Maddison Bolduc, 11, of Fairfield a push Saturday as her box sled slows down in the middle of the runway during Somerset SnowFest’s Kids Box Sled Derby at Lake George Regional Park West. Amy Calder/ Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — The Frosch family came all the way from Germany to take part in the Kids Box Sled Derby on Saturday at Lake George Regional Park West.

Well, sort of. Max and Kathrin Frosch are living in Boxford, Massachusetts, for two years as Max’s company transferred him there temporarily. The couple searched the internet Thursday to see what outdoor winter activities might be happening in New England over the holiday weekend that would be kid-friendly.

Max Frosch and his sons, Adam, 6, and Emil, 8, prepare to compete in the Kids Box Sled Derby on Saturday during Somerset SnowFest at Lake George Regional Park West in Skowhegan. The family, including the boys’ mother, Kathrin, is from Germany but living temporarily in Massachusetts for Max Frosch’s employer. They saw the event advertised online Thursday and decided to come to Maine to take part, they said. Amy Calder/ Morning Sentinel

They came upon Somerset SnowFest, 10-days of winter activities including cross country skiing, snowshoeing, downhill kayak races, a triathlon, ice fishing and more, organized by the park and Main Street Skowhegan. They zeroed in on the box sled races, where kids make sleds from cardboard boxes and compete in downhill races. Trophies are given for most creative, most colorful, fastest sled and best crash.

The Frosches booked a hotel, plucked two cardboard boxes from their basement they had left over from their move to the U.S., and on Friday, drove north to Maine with their two boys, Emil, 8, and Adam, 6.

“We had no idea what a box sled is,” Max Frosch said. “We thought, just for the fun of it, let’s do it.”

They decorated one box with green Christmas wrapping paper and the other, with a black trash bag. One-by-one, the boys sailed down a steep, snowy incline in their boxes, with a large audience cheering and clapping. Emil said afterward that he enjoyed the race, but Adam acknowledged it was pretty fast.


Lana and Addilynn Dostie, dressed as video game characters Luigi and Mario, sail down a runway Saturday in their box sled, The Bullet, during Somerset SnowFest’s Kids Box Sled Derby at Lake George Regional Park West. The sisters are from Waterville. Amy Calder/ Morning Sentinel

Their parents loved the event, they said.

“It’s something you’d never experience in Germany because it’s easy-going, it’s spontaneous — just for the fun of it,” said Max Frosch, a professional quality engineer.

Kathrin Frosch said people in the U.S. are very friendly, which she sees as refreshing and welcoming.

Their boys were among about 30 other children who took part in the box sled derby. Lana and Addilynn Dostie of Waterville, both 7, flew together down the hill in their black and white box sled, with Addilynn in the front. The sled was fashioned after The Bullet, an old school video game character, with Addilynn as the character Luigi and Lana in the role of Mario, according to their mother, Ashley Ferris. Enjoying the activities also were Ferris’ husband, Eric Dostie, and the childrens’ grandparents, Belinda and Brian Sweatt of Albion.

“This is our fourth year doing this,” Ferris said. “We love coming. We look forward to it every year.”

Lana Dostie said every year the sled run is bigger. Her sister said she loves making the sleds and each year, they win prizes.


Temperatures were in the teens Saturday but the warm sun drew crowds to the park, where the downhill kayak races were to begin at noon. People were fishing on the frozen lake, Bigelow Brewing Co. hosted a beer garden, a food truck was on hand and festivalgoers munched on sugared, fried dough. A video and photography crew was documenting all the activities. The Ice Hole World Championships, similar to corn hole but conducted on ice, also was in progress.

Main Street Skowhegan Director Kristina Cannon said Somerset SnowFest, whose lead sponsor is Hight Family of Dealerships, is held annually for two reasons: to showcase Skowhegan as an outdoor recreation destination and to draw people in from an economic standpoint to spend money locally.

That combination appears to be successful, particularly if one considers the distance the Frosh family, of Jena, Germany, drove from Massachusetts to take part.

“Everything’s going great,” Cannon said at the sled derby. “We’re excited to see the sunshine, and the extended forecast looks good. It’s a big crowd here today.”

Justin Spencer, the park’s resource manager, said the box sled run was about 150 yards long and the snow platform at the top, from which the sleds shoved off, was about 25 feet high.

On Sunday, an ice fishing derby will kick off at 5:30 a.m. on the park’s east side, with the event to end at 3 p.m. and awards given, at 3:30 p.m. Sleigh rides will be offered at Coburn Park in Skowhegan. Those wanting more information about SnowFest, which runs through Feb. 26, may go to

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