John Christie's contributions to ski industry celebrated in Camden

By Susan Mustapich | Oct 03, 2018
Courtesy of: File photo John Christie

CAMDEN — A traveling exhibition of the Ski Museum of Maine, coming to the Camden Public Library Oct. 7, is dedicated to Camden native John Christie, who died in 2016.

The opening reception of "The Mountains of Maine: Skiing in the Pine Tree State," will be held at 2 p.m. in the library's Jean Picker Room. A $10 donation will be collected, and light refreshments will be served. The Ski Museum of Maine is a 501(c3) charitable organization located in Kingfield, with a satellite gallery in Bethel, established to preserve and share Maine’s ski history and heritage

The exhibit celebrates the development of skiing in Maine and the people who created the skiing experience enjoyed by many today. Christie was a visionary, adventurer, developer and manager of ski areas, and friend of the Ski Museum.

Christie was an avid skier, who grew up on the slopes of the Camden Snow Bowl. At Bowdoin College, he was a competitive skier, and winner of the state Intercollegiate Downhill Championship. After a fellowship at the University of Stockholm, in Sweden, he returned to Maine and began his climb to ski area management.

In 1965, he became general manager of Sugarloaf. As manager, Christie served as president of the Maine Ski Council, the Sugarloaf Ski Club and the Ski Maine Association.

In 1968, he moved to Vermont and became vice president and general manager of Mount Snow Development Corporation. He was elected president of the Vermont Ski Areas Association in 1970 and director of the National Ski Areas Association in 1971.

In 1972, he returned to Maine and bought Saddleback Mountain. He sold the mountain in 1976 and retired from the business and sport.

After leaving the ski business, Christie began a career in advertising and marketing, and ran a chain of newspapers. He stayed active throughout his life by hiking, skiing, kayaking and exploring Maine.

Christie joined the board of directors of the Ski Museum of Maine in 2002, and served as president in 2005. He played a key role in forming the Maine Ski Hall of Fame, and was a past president of the Sugarloaf Ski Club.

He authored “The Story of Sugarloaf,” winner of the 2008 Skade Award of the International Skiing History Association. He coauthored "Skiing in Maine," with his son Josh Christie, which was published in 2016 by Down East Books.

In more recent years, visitors and locals alike talked to Christie at the gate of Camden Hills State Park, where he enjoyed working.

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