As Bob and Doug would say, “So, like take off to the Great White North”.
This past week marked the official start of the Maine Office of Tourism’s weekly snow reports, sent in collaboration with Ski Maine Association and the Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA). The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) snow depth map shows the majority of Maine has between 18 and 24 inches. The coastal regions show less snow, while areas in the Maine Highlands region and Aroostook County show up to two feet or more.
According to a Bangor Daily News article, the Christmas day storm left more than a foot of snow covering much of the state, with heavy winds contributing to near whiteout conditions and snow drifts.
Christmas vacation week presents a busy time at ski centers throughout the state. Mt. Abram will host a variety of activities that range from beer tastings to a family ski race and après celebration. At Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, their Winter Festival will take place and feature equipment demos and open mic nights. Live music, movie nights and a New Year’s Eve celebration with fireworks and live music will be happening at Sugarloaf. In Newry at Sunday River, there is fun for the whole family including dining with Eddy the Yeti at North Peak, River Nugget Jam and New Year’s Eve fireworks. For the first time ever, Lost Valley was able to open their entire terrain for Christmas week.
“Every ski center in the state, both alpine and Nordic, has spectacular conditions with some areas reporting up to 22 inches in the last week,” said Greg Sweetser, Ski Maine’s executive director. “Many areas are operating on vacation week hours, so it’s a great week to hit the slopes.”
To celebrate the start of 2018, Farmington’s Titcomb Mountain will be running their Tour de Titcomb with a Classic Sprint and Hill Climb.
For snowmobilers, MSA Executive Director Bob Meyers said, “This winter’s snowmobile season is shaping up exceedingly well, with ample snow depth across most areas of the state and with cold temperatures helping to create a solid trail base.”
There are snowmobile trails groomed and ready throughout Maine. Some trails with excellent conditions include: Limestone, known as the “Border Trail” from Limestone to Van Buren; Coburn, between The Forks and Jackman; Madawaska, with a clubhouse occasionally open and serving chicken stew and ploys; and East Kennebago 1 and 2, with views from the summit of East Kennebago Mountain in Rangeley.
The MSA snowmobile trail conditions page went live on the website yesterday, and will be updated daily throughout the season. As a special caution for the coming week, some regions of the state are expected to experience an extended period of cold weather, especially in the Caribou area where there are warnings of a dangerous wind chill of negative 20 to 30 degrees during the day.
“Take it easy, bundle up and be sure your gear is in good working order if you venture out,” said Meyers. “Be smart and safe. Now is not a good time to end up having to walk!”
“We’re thrilled to see a lot of fresh snow covering much of Maine as we get ready to kick off the new year,” said Maine Office of Tourism’s senior tourism officer, Phil Savignano. “This season’s ski and snowmobiling season appears to be promising, and we also look forward to a winter filled with other outdoor activities and events. With Maine’s size and varied geography, keep in mind there is always good snow somewhere in Maine even if it’s not in your backyard.”
For weekend plans, bundle up to go ice skating at The Rink at Thompson’s Point, or for Nordic skiers and snowshoers, Pineland Farms of New Gloucester has freshly groomed trails and loops and to warm up at the end of the day, a kitchen and deli serving soups, salads and sandwiches. Get out of the cold by checking out one of Maine’s farmers markets in Portland or Brunswick, both open Saturdays.
The snow reports will be released each Wednesday throughout the season. Visitors can also find information about other winter activities and events on VisitMaine.com.
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