Starting Monday morning, nearly 500 athletes on 64 teams from across Maine will be competing in the 47th annual Special Olympics Winter Games at Sugarloaf. 

That number will nearly be matched by the number of volunteers who also attend to support the games, which run through Tuesday.

Athletes will by competing in Nordic and alpine skiing, snowshoe races, speed skating, and dual ski.

Sunday, athletes will be greeted in Farmington en-route to the games by the volunteers at American Legion Roderick-Crosby Post 28, with lunch at the hall on Middle Street from noon to 3 p.m. Each year, the Post is opened to the competitors, coaches and other supportive volunteers on their way to the Olympics as a place to take a driving break and fuel up sandwiches, chips, hot chocolate, cookies with lots of encouragement added in by the Legion members.

Special Olympics Maine

Athletes from across the great state of Maine come together to compete in five Olympic-style winter sports competitions including, Alpine Skiing, Duel Skiing, Cross Country Skiing, Speed Skating and Snowshoeing.

Sugarloaf Mountain is in Franklin County, Maine.  4,237 feet (1291 m), it's the third highest peak in the state, after Mount Katahdin's Baxter and Hamlin peaks. The ski area and resort is located on the mountain in Carrabassett Valley. It's the largest ski resort east of the Mississippi in terms of number of skiable acreage and snowmaking percentage (95%). Its continuous vertical drop of 2,820 feet (860 m) is the second longest in New England.

The very first Special Olympics in Maine was held on a hill in Gorham in 1969 with just a handful of athletes.

Registration at Sugarloaf is Sunday afternoon at 3 pm at the check-in center on the Acvess Road at Sugarloaf. A new coaches' meeting is scheduled for 4 pm, with a community supper at 6 pm at the base lodge in Sugarloaf Village. Evening activities and head of delegation meetings will follow.

Special Olympics Aroostook County

The events Monday and Tuesday are also supplemented by snowmobile, snowcat and wagon rides, and a torchlight parade, fireworks display, parade of athletes, opening ceremonies, hot cider & popcorn, banquet of champions, victory dance and a friendship circle.