Every year NENSA honors leaders in the New England skiing community with traditional annual awards. This chance to formally recognize the energy, effort, and engagement of some of our community leaders is one of the highlights of the year for the NENSA staff. Please join us in thanking these great folks and celebrating their accomplishments for our community.
NENSA is excited to to announce the inaugural Wendall “Chummy” Broomhall Award. This award is named after Chummy, who was the Chisholm Ski Club leader for 70 plus years, 2 time Olympian, and builder of the Olympic race courses for Squaw Valley, Lake Placid and Black Mountain. Chummy was a man who was able to enlist the best people to carry out the tasks needed to run ski races. He embodied the spirit of being a volunteer as he was a man who gave his time to generations. It is in this spirit that this award be in his honor for the unsung heroes of ski racing. This year the award is going to Herbert L. Adams, a Chisholm Ski Club member, ski racer, coach, and long time volunteer.
“No man on the planet has started more races than Herb Adams! Herb Adams has been a credit to nordic sport forever.” Fred Griffin
If you have started a race at Black Mountain of Maine in the past 50 years, it’s likely that Herb Adams was there with you at the start. “5,4,3,2,1 go! Herb has said that phrase more than anyone. A starter for the better part of 50 years he starts around 1,000 skiers a winter, sometimes 2,000. Herb and his crew of Paul, Doc, and Terry run a tight ship in Rumford at the start line at Black Mt. A well oiled machine with Herb in the lead as he has at the Olympics or a middle school race for a long time. Herb, makes a fine person to receive the Chummy Broomhall award” says Dan Warner, a member of the Chisholm Ski Club.
A Rumford native, Herb Adams learned to ski early on at his local hills and trails. He attended Gould Academy where he continued his ski racing career as not only a nordic skier, but a ski jumper and downhill skier. During his time at Gould, he excelled in all events, and in his final year in 1954, Adams led his team as Captain to the State Championship winning all four events and was named State Ski Meister.
Terry Richard, a Chisholm Ski Club member who has been working as a team at the start line with Herb, says that “Herb Adams and his love of skiing have come full circle, from growing up in Rumford and eventually returning to the River Valley area to share his passion for the sport through coaching and officiating. Herb skied for UNH in his college years and went on to have a lifetime of illustrious nordic ski adventures, both on the national and international level. Through 60+ years of coaching and officiating. Herb has shared his experiences and instilled the love of skiing in the hearts of many. A few have gone on to compete at the national level; most have become lifetime skiers. Well into his 80’s, Herb continues to infect others with the love of the sport as the Chief Starter for the Chisholm Ski Club. Herb’s dedication and volunteerism has him starting the beginner middle school aged racer to those striving to make the US Ski Team. Age and ability make no difference to Herb; he is happiest at the starting line repeating 5,4,3,2,1 go.”
After Herb’s success in high school, he earned a scholarship to the University of New Hampshire. He was also invited to the Olympic ski jumping tryouts in 1960, and although he did not earn a spot on the team, he was then asked to be the ski coach at Lake Placid High School from 1961 to 1964. In 1965 he returned home to coach skiing at Stephens Memorial High School in Rumford until 1967, and during that time his team won the New England Championships.
His successes led to his being named Eastern junior National Jumping Coach at Duluth, MN, where his eastern team won the title. Herb coached many skiers along the way, many who skied in Junior Nationals, Junior Olympics or the Olympics. When Herb retired from teaching and coaching, he continued to volunteer at events throughout the country, serving in timing, starting, hill preparation, jump marking, course preparation and stadium set up, ranging from Middle and High School races to the 1980 and 2002 Winter Olympics.
Those who have been coached by, worked with, or met Herb always remark about Herb’s character. Greg Poirier, Olympic Ski Coach, and Chisholm Ski Club member said that “there are so many wonderful volunteers in our ski world and for sure Herb is one of those. But Herbie ‘one ups’ many. Not only is he a coach, a mentor, a friend, he is the glue that binds volunteers together. His demeanor, dedication and love of skiing are contagious and I dare say the primary motivator for others to follow in his footsteps.”
Craig Zurhorst, Chisholm Ski Club member and announcer remarked that “Herb is a true gentleman and it’s an honor to work with him. I’ve learned more from Herb about running Nordic ski races than I can begin to express. Herb is meticulous in his attention to detail and absolutely professional, but he also has a wonderfully wry sense of humor. Herb’s background as a coach and an educator make him the perfect person to serve as Chief Starter. He takes great pains to teach younger racers…and volunteers… about protocols and rules while treating each one with the utmost respect and encouraging them. Herb’s experience at all levels of Nordic competition makes him a fabulous resource and he is the embodiment of the mindset and mission of the Chisholm Ski Club, that we strive to provide the same excellent racing experience for all, regardless of whether the event is for middle school racers or national-level competitors.”
This year at NENSA’s Eastern High School Championship race weekend was no different, “As I approached the start area of the Eastern High School Championships this year in Rumford, I was happy to see Herb at the start line. The first thing Herb did was give me a hug and tell me a joke, but then he got down to business. Herb is one of the most delightful and experienced volunteers I have ever worked with, and it’s because of people like Herb that our ski community events, and races in New England are strong and thriving.” Amber Freeman, Youth Program Director at NENSA.
Thank you Herb for all you have done and continue to do for our ski community!