One of NENSA’s finest traditions is presenting the John Caldwell Award. This award annually recognizes a single individual, or entity, which embodies the spirit, dedication, innovation, and pride of John Caldwell. NENSA is thrilled to announce that Roger Arsenault of Chisholm Ski Club is the recipient of the 2023 John Caldwell Award.
Roger hails from the River Valley in Maine, a community firmly rooted in the history and tradition of skiing in the United States. An alpine skier in high school, he left to attend Maine Maritime Academy, but returned and has been deeply invested in the community since. A board member of Chisholm Ski Club since 1985, Chairman of the Black Mountain of Maine board of directors, and CSC Race Director, Roger has played an instrumental role in the operations of the venue, the programming, and innumerable events ranging from a Bill Koch League festival to Junior Olympics to U.S. Nationals and NCAA Championships.
NENSA Competitive Programs Director Justin Beckwith shares, “When something needs to be done at Black Mountain you will likely hear, “Where’s Roger?” over the radio. A humble guy who can and does seemingly do everything — when running events in Rumford you will talk to Roger from start to finish. Last winter the folks at Chisholm pulled off a miracle, hosting the largest Eastern Cup of the year despite minimal snowmaking and a lousy forecast. They did so with belief in their plan and a little luck — pulling off the races with an unconventional trail arrangement. In doing so they provided an experience for a new generation that harkens back to the roots of cross country skiing, rather than wide and perfectly groomed corridors they are becoming accustomed to, something that I’m sure John Caldwell would appreciate. They also provided a festive atmosphere with the local community present and a budding Bill Koch club there to take in the magic. It was a real honor and experience to help set tracks with Roger before the sprint race with a trying surface, one I won’t forget.”
“My favorite part about Roger is that he embodies the spirit of building a community,” says Justin Easter, FIS TD and long-time community member. “His company has community in its name, but I honestly think Roger wholeheartedly believes in the amazing things possible when you start together. I am so happy this award is his this year, and I’m confident he will be helping inspire another recipient down the road.”
Erin Haynes, board member of the Chisholm Ski Club and beloved Bill Koch coach shared in her nomination, “Roger goes above and beyond for CSC and BMOM. He attends meetings, works behind the scenes, coordinates many events, and times and even grooms and sets tracks for our youth development program every Sunday morning. He is an advocate for community, making programs accessible, and works tirelessly on supporting and improving outreach and programming. He was recently inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame and our club is proud to call him one of our own, and best.”
Over her 29 year tenure as Head Coach of Bates College Nordic Ski Team, Becky Woods worked with Roger in hosting many EISA Carnival events. “Roger has been a steadfast supporter of cross country skiing in Maine for as long as I can remember,” shares Becky. “His calming presence and can-do attitude was always a comfort when it came to making sure the races were going to go off as planned, weather or no weather! His partnership with the Bates team is something I am forever grateful for. The team continues to be so excited to bring the EISA teams to race on their home course and compete on what we consider to be one of the best courses in New England!”
“Roger Arsenault is like the Energizer bunny. He just keeps going, and going, and going,” writes Chisholm Ski Club Secretary, Terry Richard. “On race day, he is usually the first one at the mountain and the last one to leave. He has single handedly made an enormous impact on the economy in the River Valley area through his leadership and commitment to Black Mountain Ski Area. In addition, his tireless efforts ensure the continuation of the rich skiing history on the Maine ski scene.”
From their website, Chisholm Ski Club is located at Black Mountain of Maine Ski Area in Rumford, Maine. The Club has a rich tradition which dates back to the early days of the 20th century at its Spruce Street location and its mid 1900’s days at Scottie’s Mountain. Over the years the Club has hosted several world class nordic skiing events, including the 1950 World Championships, 1976 NCAA Cross Country Skiing Championships, 1991 National Biathlon Championships, 1993 US Cross Country Skiing Championships, 1992 USSA XC Jr. Olympics, 1993 U.S. Masters Cross Country Skiing Championships, the first ever US/ North American Womens Ski Jumping championships in 1996, 1996 National Junior Olympics, 1996 Chevy Truck U.S. Nationals, the 1999 NCAA Cross Country Skiing Championship, the 2003 Chevy Truck US Cross Country Championships, the 2004 Chevrolet US Cross Country Championships, the 2009 NCAA Cross Country Skiing Championships, the 2010 USCSA National Championships, and the 2011 and 2012 US Cross Country Championships.
Previous Chisholm Ski Club recipients of the John Caldwell Award include the Chisholm Ski Club itself (2006), Ray Broomhall (2011), and Dan Warner (2016). Another of NENSA’s annual awards is named for Chummy Broomhall, a 70+ year leader of the Chisholm Ski Club, honoring the spirit and dedication of volunteers in our community.
It is a privilege to partner with Roger and all of the wonderful folks in Rumford, continuing the traditions and the legacy the Chisholm Ski Club holds in our sport. Justin Beckwith concludes, “I’m excited to go back to Black, October 22nd for the Maine Event — hope to see you there!”
Roger will be presented with the NENSA 2023 John Caldwell Award at the event.
Congratulations Roger and thank you for the indelible mark you have made on Nordic skiing in New England – and beyond!