December 23, 2020 — With this past Monday marking the official start of winter, Maine’s major ski areas have been making snow for months and significant storms have already covered the majority of the state. Both the state’s downhill and Nordic ski resorts and centers look forward to the 2021 season, as do the snowmobilers who will ride the 14,000 miles of interconnected trails throughout the state.
The Maine Office of Tourism’s weekly snow reports, sent in collaboration with Ski Maine Association and Maine’s snowmobiling community, will kick off January 6, 2021. Though this season will be different in many ways due to COVID-19 and state travel guidelines, the Office of Tourism is encouraging Maine residents to safely explore the great outdoors and participate in winter recreation that is ideal for physical distancing and abiding by health protocols.
According to Maine’s Director of Tourism, Steve Lyons, the reports will be distributed biweekly on Wednesdays throughout the winter season, with special reports as winter weather and storms hit. “Maine’s rich natural resources, wide-open spaces and incredible outdoor recreation opportunities make this winter the perfect time for Mainers to get out there and take advantage of offerings in their own backyard,” says Lyons. The reports will include snow conditions for the ski resorts and snowmobile trails, highlight safe activities and remind winter enthusiasts about various safety precautions and considerations before leaving the house.
Reminders for this atypical season include:
- Call ahead or look online for current guidelines or restrictions before going to a resort or center
- Plan to use your vehicle as the base lodge at ski resorts
- Rentals are by reservation only
- There is limited capacity for kids’ programs, and daycares are closed
- Always check current trail conditions before you leave home
- Typical snowmobile stops may not be open or have limited capacity, so plan ahead (food, gas, alternative stops, etc.)
Average annual snowfall in Maine is 50 to 70 inches along the coast and 60 to 110 inches inland creating endless opportunities for outdoor recreation, including snowshoeing, and for the more adventurous, rock climbing or dog sledding. Hikers can still take on oceanfront hiking trails that remain warmer in the winter due to the circulating waters of the Atlantic Ocean.
For those interested in leisure activities, ice fishing is a great way to get out on the ice and take in the scenic beauty. Or, consider a weekend getaway at a B&B or inn in a region of the state you have yet to explore. For Mainers wanting to ride out the chill of the season inside, check hours and safety guidelines at Maine’s museums, support local producers at the indoor farmers’ markets, offering a variety of agricultural products and treats, including cheeses, baked goods and vegetables, or shop for Maine-made handcrafted products at shops and galleries.
While there are typically several much-anticipated annual winter events, this year’s calendar will not look the same. However, the future snow reports will include any safe, reimagined events still taking place or offering virtual options.
The snow reports, released biweekly on Wednesdays throughout the season, will be posted on VisitMaine.com, where visitors can also find information on other winter activities. Those enjoying Maine this winter are encouraged to share their photos on social media using #MaineWinter.
Plan now for summer.
While this winter recreation season will be different than in years past due to COVID-19, a plethora of skiing and snowmobiling opportunities will provide Mainers a chance to safely explore the outdoors throughout the state.
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