The 10th Mountain Division veteran and two time Olympian was integral in the development and survival of Black Mountain of Maine.
Monday, January 1, 2018, NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com
Legendary nordic skier Wendall "Chummy" Broomhall passed away on Saturday, December 30 at the Maine Veterans' Home. He was 98.
Broomhall was born in Mexico, Maine on December 3, 1919, moving to nearby Rumford soon thereafter. He spent his teens ski racing and working various logging related jobs.
When World War II broke out, Broomhall enlisted and served in the 10th Mountain Division. Broomhall saw combat in the Aleutian Islands, and spent time in South America, Africa, and Europe.
After the war, Broomhall married Wisconsin native Lempi Torkko and returned to Maine to work for HP Hood and nordic ski race, earning a spot on the US Ski Team from 1947 through 1954. Broomhall competed in the 18 KM event in the 1948 St. Moritz Winter Olympics and in the 18 KM and 4X10KM events in the 1952 Oslo Winter Olympics.
When Squaw Valley was named as the site of the 1960 Olympics, Broomhall was recruited to design the nordic ski course and run the race, using machine grooming for the first time. He performed similar duties at the 1980 Lake Placid Olympics.
After the Squaw Valley games, Broomhall and his family returned to Maine, where he started his own logging business. All the while, he had remained an integral part of the Chisholm Ski Club.
With the club's lease on its existing ski area expiring, Broomhall was actively involved with the development of the new Black Mountain ski area in 1960.
For decades, Broomhall and his wife volunteered at Black Mountain. In addition, Broomhall donated land and set up easements to develop and protect ski terrain.
With Black Mountain constantly in financial dire straits, Broomhall contacted the Maine Winter Sports Center for help. According to Broomhall, "the mountain was about to croak."
The Maine Winter Sports Center responded by purchasing the area in 2003 and investing millions in trails, lifts, snowmaking, and facilities. Ten years later, ownership was transferred to the Black Mountain Operating Board, of which Broomhall was a member.
His wife Lempi passed away in 2006.
Donations can be made to the Chummy Broomhall Maine Nordic Ski Fund, c/o Maine Community Foundation, 245 Main Street, Ellsworth, ME 04605.