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A Town Built by Ski Bums.jpg

Arriving in bookstores in October 2024
A Town Built by Ski Bums: The Story of Carrabassett Valley, Maine

Located 60 country miles from Interstate 95, Carrabassett Valley, Maine, doesn’t look like a classic rural New England town. Only a handful of buildings pre-date 1950. Settlement is concentrated in two areas separated by six woodsy miles: “the valley,” with its 1960s A-frames and camps, and “the mountain,” where the Sugarloaf ski resort has built a maze of contemporary condominium and housing developments, along with hotels, restaurants, and boutiques. But with just 673 year-round residents, the town of Carrabassett Valley — not Sugarloaf — owns a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course, a 2,000-acre ski-touring and mountain-bike park, an airport, a riverside rail trail, an advanced fitness center with indoor climbing wall and skate park, a handsome modern library, and a park with outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, and playground. Yet the town’s tax rate has never exceeded $8.40.

That’s because Carrabassett Valley doesn’t just look different from other towns; it does things differently. The two dozen ski bums who founded the town in 1972 laid out a vision for an outdoor recreation economy achieved through creative investment, and townspeople have focused unwaveringly on pursuing it ever since.

For the past three years, I've been working with the Carrabassett Valley History Committee to delve into the surprising history of a town most passersby think is just Sugarloaf. A Town Built by Ski Bums traces Carrabassett Valley's history from the geological forces that created it to the independence movement fomented in a riotous bar to the premiere outdoor destination it is today.

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