January 2, 2019 —Today is 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). After New Year’s Eve, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) snow depth map shows that much of Aroostook County has more than 20 inches of snow and the majority of the western region of the state has at least one foot. The new snowfall has created great conditions in Maine’s ski centers and on many snowmobile trails.
Maine’s ski areas, both downhill and Nordic, received solid snowfall during the December 31 storm, with snow depths ranging from four to six inches at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton and nearly 10 inches at Lonesome Pine Trails in Fort Kent. Most of the state’s Nordic centers are offering miles of groomed trails for classic and skate ski conditions. For daily ski conditions, skiers should visit skimaine.com.
|Shawnee Peak summit, New Year's Day.|
According to Greg Sweetser, executive director of the Ski Maine Association, “The ski season set records for snowfall in November, and December brought ideal snowmaking conditions. The combination has allowed Maine ski areas to build solid base depths and optimistic outlooks for the long winter season ahead.”
To kick off the new year, Sunday River and Sugarloaf both have a busy schedule, with both resorts celebrating Children’s Festival Week next week. Shawnee Peak will host their popular New England Ski Day on Friday, with reduced ticket prices for anyone who lives in New England.
For snowmobilers, clubs are out grooming trails in many areas of the state. “Despite being early in the season, conditions are excellent in many areas and it will only improve from here,” said MSA’s Executive Director Bob Meyers. “November’s early snow that fell on unfrozen ground and December’s warm temps and rain have now been replaced with just what we need—cold weather and snow.”
Meyers encourages snowmobilers to follow basic safety rules to ensure a safe winter that includes not riding alone, always keeping to the right, operating at a reasonable speed, never drinking and driving and treating the private land that our trails are on as if it is your own. “Be safe, have fun and be sure to thank the volunteer clubs that make these trails possible.”
Some current snowmobile trails of interest include Grant Brook Trail in the Katahdin region; the birches in Rockwood along Moosehead Lake; Coburn in The Forks; Caribou; and the newly completed Scopan Bridge over the stream in Ashland. The MSA snowmobile trail conditions will be updated daily throughout the season.
For weekend plans, ice skating conditions have been ideal. For those not nearby a safe pond or lake, The Rink at Thompson’s Point is a great location and well maintained. Adults looking for some excitement after lacing up their skates can also visit the nearby brewery, winery and distillery. Get out of the cold and fulfill healthy cooking resolutions by checking out one of Maine’s farmers markets in Portland or Brunswick, both open Saturdays.
The snow reports, released each Wednesday throughout the season, will be posted on VisitMaine.com where visitors can also find information about other winter activities and events. People enjoying the Maine winter are encouraged to share their photos on social media using #MaineWinter.
Editor’s Note: Click on the image above or the link below to access a Dropbox folder of Maine winter images.