May 24, 2019

Monson ski area offers free passes to SAD 68 youth

MONSON – An intensive care nurse, John Chase caters to many people whose sedentary lifestyles likely contributed to their health problems.

As a former teacher, he also knows that for many people that lifestyle starts in childhood.

“I see a lot of people who don’t get a lot of exercise, and I see what happens to them,” Chase said this week. “I see how detrimental that is to an individual’s long-term health.”

Hoping to reverse that trend, Chase and his wife Sue have conceived a plan to get children away from their computers and televisions and outside where they can move and mingle with nature.

The Chases – who own A Fierce Chase Cross-Country Ski Trails in Monson – are offering free ski passes to their facility to youth up to age 19 in the SAD 68 towns of Dover-Foxcroft, Charleston, Monson and Sebec.

The only catch is that the youngsters must be accompanied by a paying adult. They are more apt to participate and enjoy the sport if a parent or guardian joins them, Chase said. He said the program may be expanded next year to other school districts in Piscataquis County.

“If we can get whole families involved, it will build more of a base,” Chase said.

In the summer, the trails are mowed to provide people with a place to walk free of charge, he said. There are interpretive signs to educate walkers and benches to rest on.

“Anything we can do to promote physical fitness will help,” Chase said.

He knows the health benefit of cross-country skiing, a sport he’s been involved in for many years. A member of the 1984 U.S. Biathlon Team and 1984 Eastern Biathlon champion, Chase said he got such a good, healthy feeling from the activity that he wanted to give back and share the benefits with others.

This will be the seventh season the business has been in operation on the Elliottsville Road. The Chases, who start the cross-country season after the first good snowfall, own 150 acres and continually add more trails.

The 121/2 miles of groomed trails now in place wind through forest and field and were developed so as not to adversely affect the wildlife that roam on the property, including moose, deer, grouse, fishers, bobcats, coyotes and rabbits, according to Chase, who also is a biologist. Each of the trails are named after wildlife indigenous to the area.

As they have in the past, the couple will offer guided full-moon wildlife tours this winter, with the first scheduled on Dec. 30.

The Chases offer discounts to organizations and have about 90 pairs of rental cross-country skis for those who do not have the equipment.

For more information, call A Fierce Chase at 997-3971.

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