The Maine Office of Tourism, in collaboration with Ski Maine Association and the Maine Snowmobile Association (MSA), reports that the lack of snow over the past week has left both skiers and snowmobilers ready for more. February has historically been a high snowfall month, so the hope is that it delivers for outdoor recreation enthusiasts. As we near the end of January and the midpoint of the season, winter days are getting longer, allowing more time to get out and enjoy Maine’s winter recreation.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) snow depth map shows that the snowfall in the state’s regions vary greatly, from two to four inches along the coast up to more than two feet in some areas of Aroostook County.
Skiing in Maine
Maine ski areas have reported strong January attendance thus far, despite Mother Nature’s lack of snowfall this past week. Higher elevations and northern Maine received snow during the last storm cycle, and the current forecast shows a storm moving in this weekend. There is plenty of snow in the heart of ski country, contrary to the thin cover in many Maine backyards.
“January weather has produced mixed results across the entire state,” said Ski Maine’s Executive Director Greg Sweetser. “All of the downhill ski areas lasted well through the warmer temperatures because of their extensive snowmaking, and nearly all of the Nordic centers are skiing on their natural snow base.”
Nordic centers in the snowbelt from Bridgton, Bethel, Rangeley and Carrabassett Valley to Millinocket, Fort Kent and Madawaska in the north, have sustained deep snowpack and are grooming trails for the classic track set, as well as ice skating. The Quarry Road Trails in Waterville has extensive snowmaking for those in central Maine and along the coast.
Both downhill and cross-country areas are preparing for Learn to Ski and Snowboard programs and packages to start, to help those interested in an introduction to the sport to do so with ease. Other learning opportunities include fat tire biking and snowshoeing.
Check out this short video from WSKI 17 Sugarloaf that captures that incredible transformation in the sky as the clouds pulled away at the end of Saturday’s storm.
Learn more about the downhill and Nordic centers at www.skimaine.com.
Aroostook County, with more snowfall than other areas of the state, has maintained a solid snow base and is reporting good conditions. Areas of interest include:
- Allagash (ITS 120 and 92)
Other areas of interest include the Katahdin area, with the entire system groomed this past weekend, and most of the trails throughout Shirley. Before heading out on a ride, check the current trail conditions.
The MSA urges riders to always stay on marked trails, follow the rules, ride safely and remember modified snowmobile exhausts are illegal.
Snodeo, one of the state’s top annual snowmobiling celebrations, was held this past weekend, and this weekend continues the fun with another exciting weekend for snowmobilers. Free Snowmobile Weekend will take place, allowing nonresidents with a valid registration to operate a snowmobile in Maine. If you plan to participate, check the link for more details and a short survey.
For additional snowmobile events, click here.
More Maine Winter Fun
Ward off cabin fever by getting out of the house this weekend for the inaugural year of Carnaval ME, inspired by Carnaval de Québec, or Biddeford Winterfest, with family-fun activities ranging from sledding to horse-drawn wagon rides. Winter adventurers can also look forward to Rangeley’s 14th Annual Pond Hockey Festival on Friday, and the Wilderness Sled Dog Race on Saturday.
The snow reports, released each Wednesday throughout the season, will be posted on VisitMaine.com, where visitors can also find information on 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 this link to access a Dropbox of Maine winter images.
Thanks to its lakes, coastline and mountains, Maine may well be the perfect destination for a family vacation.
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