New England Masters Skiing, Inc., (“NEMS”) has a long and storied history as the oldest Masters ski racing organization in the country. It began with Al Sise, the acknowledged father of alpine masters ski racing and inductee in the Vermont Ski Museum Hall of Fame and the National Ski Hall of Fame. Al loved skiing from the time he could walk and was an active participant his entire life. (He made his last starts, shortly before his passing in 1991, at the 1990 Masters National Championships at Sugarloaf, Maine, in the SL and DH.) His love affair with the sport turned to racing and he was one of the starters in the first non-collegiate downhill race in America in 1927. In 1955, he entered what was then the veterans class, and in 1971, along with a few racing buddies, started the “Sise Cup,” an annual race series for Masters racers. NEMS was formed and evolved around the Sise Cup and now holds twenty plus races in three disciplines (SL, GS, and SG) at venues throughout New England.
Our racers come from all walks of life with varying levels of past racing experience. Our ranks include doctors, tradespeople, lawyers, artists, teachers, entrepreneurs and retirees from all over the northeast. Some of our racers have been on National Teams, some with World Cup starts and even wins. Some of our racers raced in college, or went to a ski academy in secondary school. Some of our racers never pushed out of a starting gate before their first Masters race. All of these folks share a love of the outdoors, friendly competition, and the social interaction we strive to provide.
NEMS operates as an independent corporation affiliated with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard (“USS&S”), the national governing body of Olympic skiing and snowboarding. Nationally, Masters is divided into eight Divisions: Alaska; Central; Far West; Inter-mountain; Eastern; Northern; Pacific Northwest and Rocky Mountain. Eastern is subdivided into four sub-divisions: New England; New York, Mid-Atlantic and Southern. Each Division and subdivision has its own governing organization. New England is synonymous with NEMS and is by far the largest subdivision in the Eastern Division and is also significantly larger than any of the other Divisions.
USS&S Masters is an increasingly recognized part of USS&S. Lauren Beckos holds a full time position with USS&S as the National Masters manager. She is our interface with USS&S and coordinates all inter-divisional activities and events. Also under the structure of USS&S, there is a Masters National Committee on which each of the seven Divisions (not subdivisions) has a seat and a vote. The current chair of this Committee is Lisa Densmore Ballard. Lisa has established a working group with representatives from each Division and from NEMS with the goal of pooling resources and ideas and furthering and expanding Masters ski racing both nationally and within divisions. This group has regular conference calls and is intent upon producing tangible results. Additionally, NEMS benefits from the affiliation with USS&S in several other ways. We conduct most of our races as USS&S sanctioned races. This provides a formal structure for races, makes them easier to schedule and organize with venues, and provides the insurance so essential to any endeavor. This affiliation also gives our racers access to races in other Divisions, to National events, and to International Masters events.