November 3, 2021

Winter Escapes

bethel-innWinter is an ideal time to cozy up and spend a weekend or a week at a classic Maine inn, along the coast or in the mountains. Forty kilometers of cross-country trails are a highlight of a stay at The Bethel Inn Resort in Western Maine, not far from Sunday River ski resort. In Camden, the Camden Harbour Inn opened in 2007, a high-design luxury inn overlooking Camden’s harbor. Just south of Portland in Cape Elizabeth is Inn by the Sea, located on a mile of sandy beach. The inn features 61 luxuriously appointed fireplaced rooms, and one- and two-bedroom suites. 1802 House Bed & Breakfast Inn offers six rooms in the heart of Kennebunkport while Cliff House is set on the edge of the Atlantic on the rocky coast of Ogunquit, with panoramic ocean and coastal views from 226 guest rooms and suites. For more info, go to Visit Maine.

Maine Ski Resort News

SaddlebackShawnee Peak in Bridgton, the oldest ski resort in Maine, has been sold to Boyne Resorts. The Michigan-based company already owns the state’s two largest mountains, Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, and Sunday River in Newry. Shawnee Peak has six lifts that service 19 trails and three terrain parks, and Boyne has said that current ski passes and lift tickets will remain valid. Boyne has 11 resorts across North America, including Big Sky in Montana, Brighton in Utah and Loon Mountain in New Hampshire.

Sunday River has announced that the next major step in the Sunday River 2030 plan is installing the fastest eight-person chair in North America for the 2022-23 winter season. The Jordan 8, a new Doppelmayr D-Line chairlift that is among the most advanced in the world, features weather-blocking bubble covers and will access terrain on Jordan Bowl and beyond. This part of the resort will come to be known as the Western Reserve as future terrain development plans come to life.

Sugarloaf has announced plans for the development of nearly 450 acres of terrain on West Mountain with new alpine trails, snowmaking, a new high-speed chairlift, tubing park, downhill mountain bike trails, and residential real estate. The West Mountain expansion was announced as the centerpiece of a ten-year resort vision, called Sugarloaf 2030. The plan outlines a roadmap for growth at the resort over the next ten years, and includes five new or upgraded lifts, new alpine terrain, real estate development, and investments in technology.

Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley has broken ground on the Mid Mountain Lodge, which is now targeted to be completed in fall 2022. It will be located in Bicknell’s thrush habitat and project leaders have collaborated with the Maine Audubon Society to construct the lodge on pedestals for minimal disruption of the watershed and will use a sod roof and glass designed to minimize bird strikes. Other investments being made at the mountain include three new lifts, two new environmentally friendly eco-diesel groomers, nearly $2 million in snowmaking upgrades, a new single-track mountain bike trail and a 7-megawatt solar farm.

Snowmobile Season

snowmobilers-katahdinMaine is one of the major snowmobiling destinations in the Lower 48, offering challenging terrain, reliable snow and some true wilderness riding conditions. There are 280 local snowmobile clubs that help to maintain more than 14,000 miles of marked snowmobile trails. While there is riding all over the state, prime sledding terrain can be found in the Jackman-Moose River area, the Moosehead Lake and the Rangeley Lakes region, the Millinocket and Katahdin area and Aroostook County. There are dozens of outfitters, sporting camps and resorts that offer rentals, overnight stays and guided sled tours. Go to Visit Maine for details.

Cross-Country Skiing

cross-country-medawislaBy January, Maine is reliably snow-covered and its many cross-country trails have been groomed into pristine condition. In the far north of the state in Presque Isle, the Nordic Heritage Center has 20 km of trails and a warming lodge. At Sugarloaf, some skiers trade their alpine skis for a day of Nordic skiing at the Outdoor Center, the largest Nordic center in Maine, with 90 km of groomed trail loops. In Bethel, not far from Sunday River, both Carter’s X-C Ski Center and Bethel Village Trails offers miles of groomed trails for skiers of all abilities. Five Fields Farm in Bridgton, which lies in the foothills of the White Mountains, is just an hour from Portland. Go to Visit Maine for more details.

Dogsledding in Maine

Maine-dog-sleddingThere’s no winter experience that can compare with dogsledding, a thrilling ride through the woods being pulled by a well-trained pack of sled dogs. A variety of Maine outfitters can get you into the wilds on a sled dog adventure. In the Maine Lakes and Mountains region, consider Dogsled MaineMahoosuc Guide Service and Ultimate Dog Sledding Experience. In the Maine Highlands region, check out Lone Wolf Guiding Service and Maine Dogsledding Adventures. There’s also the Wilderness Sled Dog Race in Greenville and the Can Am Crown International Sled Dog Races in Fort Kent. Go to Visit Maine for more information.