'Streak' owner Schipper dies at 85
Paul Schipper, 85, the Sugarloaf legend who skied every day of the season for 24 years, died Monday in Bangor, Maine, from pneumonia. Known for "The Streak," Schipper skied an incredible 3,903 consecutive days at the Carrabassett Valley ski area from 1981 to 2005.
Schipper postponed surgery to non-snow months to keep the streak alive and even arranged to get a snowcat ride before the lifts opened so he could attend his son's culinary school graduation.
"All of my schedule is built around 'The Streak'," said Schipper, a retired airline pilot, in 2002. "I have to be here at some point during the day. A couple of times it has been around 3 in the afternoon when the lifts soon close. It has caused a panic. That is why I try to ski in the morning."
Schipper and his wife Christine owned and operated the Lumberjack Lodge near the mountain from 1979-96.
"I don't own 'The Streak'," said Schipper at his 80th birthday party in 2003. " 'The Streak' owns me."
Sugarloaf general manager Paul Diller called Schipper a dear friend.
"Paul was great man who had a zest for life, and truly embodied the spirit of Sugarloaf," said Diller in a statement. "His passion for skiing and for our mountain has been an inspiration to us all."
Although snowkiters can achieve speeds over 60 miles per hour and heights above 40 feet, the emphasis of the event will be on safety and education. Hosted by a local business (stormboarding.com), this year's Kitestorm will be based at Sand Bar State Park. Clinics are filled on a first-come basis, and online preregistration is recommended for some tutorials.
According to conditions posted online by Stormboarding earlier in the week, Lake Champlain features plenty of bare ice far from shore that is ideal for kiting, but rutted conditions closer to the mainland will likely preclude any kiting near shore.
"Every mountain has its own culture and ours is the fewer ropes the better," said owner Matt Hancock, who purchased the area in June. "Our ski patrol would have loved to have done this a few years ago."
Hancock said skiers in the backcountry will eventually connect to an established trail that will funnel them down to one of the two base lodges.
Material from Associated Press was used in this report.