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When many people think of taking a ski trip in the U.S., Colorado and other western states are the first places that come to mind. However, the northeast also has some excellent places to enjoy some winter fun that goes beyond just the popular slopes of Vermont.
There are lots of ski resorts in Maine that offer big adventure, family-friendly fun, and a welcoming community of like-minded people who love to play in the snow. As we’re gearing up for the winter travel season, here are some ski resorts in Maine to experience for yourself.
The largest winter sports destination in Maine is Sugarloaf, which is in a remote area but has lots of ski-in/ski-out lodging options in the vicinity. The closest airport is about a 2.5-hour drive away in Portland. This popular New England ski resort has a well-equipped ski village with gear stores and restaurants, too. At Sugarloaf, you’ll find the only lifts that are above the treeline. There’s a high average snowfall in this part of Maine, which translates to longer ski seasons. Sugarloaf has a summit elevation of 4,237 feet, a vertical drop of 2,820 feet, 1,240 developed skiable acres, and 162 trails and glades. There are six terrain parks with features of all abilities, too. Other winter activities here include cat skiing, Nordic skiing, fat biking, and snow-go ski-biking.
Big Squaw is a ski resort that is a few miles from Moosehead Lake and offers lovely views from the summit. This is a small, affordable resort that is good for families. In addition to downhill skiing, there are six miles of groomed cross-country trails. This mountain has been open for skiing since 1963 and has food, beer, and wine available for purchase. Kids under age four and seniors over age 70 ski here for free.
The Saddleback ski resort offers deep powder and steep chutes for skiing enthusiasts. Experienced skiers love it here, and there’s a fast ski lift that will get you to the top of the mountain quickly. You can rent condos and townhouses next to the shops or head down to Rangeley, about 15 minutes away, for more affordable lodging. Saddleback has six lifts, 68 named runs, and over 600 skiable acres. The longest run is 3.1 miles, and the average annual snowfall is 225 inches. Aside from downhill skiing, the resort also offers uphill touring, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, fat biking, and snowmobiling.
The Camden Snow Bowl is a unique place to ski in Maine because it not only offers snow but also views of the Atlantic Ocean. There is a lot to do in the Camden and Rockport areas of Maine all throughout the year, and during ski season, you’ll find ski routes for all levels here. The sea views are nothing short of epic, and there’s a toboggan chute for a bonus thrill ride. The Camden Snow Bowl has nearly 1,000 feet of vertical elevation and over 20 runs. There’s a 4,000-foot triple lift at the resort, which has snowmaking on over 80 percent of the mountain. Adult day passes are as low as $35.
The Sunday River Resort is a family-friendly skiing destination with interconnected peaks and other fun winter activities as well. In addition to skiing, you can go ice skating, ski biking, and snow tubing here. It’s a resort with fast lifts and great grooming, with many easy trails for beginners. There’s a ski school to take a lesson, and twilight skiing is available on several runs. There are 135 trails and glades to explore here. Lodging options include rooms at the resort, Grand Summit Hotel, Jordan Hotel, and Snow Cap Inn.
Located north of Portland, Lost Valley is a Maine ski resort that is great for new skiers. You can take a ski or snowboard lesson here and also check out the terrain parks for a challenge. This is a prominent ski school that offers lessons for all ages and ability levels. Your lift ticket is included with most lessons. You can book lodging at local hotels and receive a Lost Valley customer rate. Lost Valley is also known for its brewpub and Oktoberfest party in the fall season.
Titcomb Mountain is a ski resort close to Augusta, Maine and a friendly place to ski. It has illuminated trails for night skiing and cross-country skiing trails for a well-rounded experience. This mountain resort has been offering winter fun for over 80 years and has a 750-foot slope with 16 alpine trails for all skill levels. Snowmaking covers 70 percent of the trails. Kids aged five and under and seniors aged 70 and over ski here for free. Both children and adults can take a lesson here on most days that the resort is open for skiing.
If you’re looking for an uncrowded place to skin in Maine, Mt. Abram is a good choice. There are many beginner and intermediate trails here and also a ski school. At the resort, you’ll also find nature trails and mogul runs. The resort has 1,150 feet of vertical drop, five lifts, 10 easy trails, 21 intermediate trails, and 13 expert trails. The Westside is the beginner area, and the main mountain is for more experienced skiers. Something unique about this resort is that the trails are named after the characters of the vintage Rocky and Bullwinkle cartoon TV show.
You can also plan a ski trip to Powderhouse Hill, a small resort with a small vertical drop. It’s a great resort for families and a very affordable place to try skiing for the first time. There’s a lodge at the resort with a snack bar and a very local vibe. Powderhouse Hill is owned by the town of South Berwick, Maine and is owned and operated by volunteers. Sunday afternoons are especially popular times to visit the ski area. The ticket price is just $5 – cash only.
Pleasant Mountain used to be known as Shawnee Peak and is about 45 minutes from Portland, Maine. It is known as a great place to go night skiing and snowboarding. There are stunning views of Mount Washington and Moose Pond from this family ski mountain. Come here for western Maine skiing and to be surrounded by lakes and views of the Presidential Mountains. The summit elevation is 1,450 feet, the vertical drop is 1,300 feet, there are 239 developed skiable acres, and you can explore the 47 trails and glades. At the resort, there are six total lifts, propelling up to 5,550 uphill passengers per hour.
Black Mountain of Maine is a small family recreation area that is supported by the local town. It is in the Longfellow mountain range and has scenic runs that are beginner-friendly. You can also go tubing at this resort for some fun that little ones can also enjoy. This western Maine resort is a fun place for a winter excursion and the third-tallest, currently operating ski venue in Maine. It has 1,380 feet of vertical, two chair lifts, and a T-bar that connects you to over 50 trails and glades. There are also 17 kilometers of Nordic ski trails. To make the resort affordable, children in second grade and under get free season passes.
You’ll find something for every skill level at Bigrock Mountain, which also has a tubing park. Bigrock is a nonprofit organization managed by a local board of directors and just over two hours from Bangor. The terrain park has over 20 elements to try, and you can savor homestyle meals in the onsite café. The ski school offers private and group lessons for kids and adults.
For a small ski hill accessed by three rope tows, check out Spruce Mountain in Jay, Maine. This resort is by the Androscoggin River and is an affordable place for families to ski. Spruce Mountain has been operating since 1956 and is jointly owned by the towns of Jay, Livermore, and Livermore Falls. Make sure to wear leather gloves or work gloves to use the rope tows. You’ll have a low-tech, classic skiing experience here at the largest and tallest rope tow-served mountain in New England. The vertical drop is 300 feet, and snowmaking coverage is 50 percent. There are three easy trails, five intermediate trails, and three difficult trails at Spruce Mountain.