New England is a region of the United States that is famed for cold weather in the winter, so it shouldn’t be surprising that many Maine residents are into snow sports, with plenty of nearby ski resorts to Portland. Lobster season in the Pine Tree State winds down in December, which is around the time …
Some would say that Maine has the best of both worlds, being a coastal state and having access to mountains. Each November, when the cold weather arrives, residents of the Pine Tree State hang up their beach towels and summer fishing gear in exchange for skis and boots. Bangor, a city in eastern-central Maine, is …
Guide to Maine’s Ski Resorts
New England ski resorts boast an abundance of snow and impressive drops, and Maine is no exception. The 19 Maine ski resorts come in every size and skill level, so any skier, from beginner to expert, can find the right fit.
Maine gets plenty of snow, with about 120 inches on average and more than 200 inches annually at Sugarloaf. The higher humidity and warmer temperatures in New England mean snow is often wetter and icier than in western states, but Maine’s cold temperatures can keep the snow from getting too slushy. The conditions also make it easier for resorts to create additional snow as needed.
The popular mountain resorts of neighboring states can get more attention than those in Maine, which means Maine skiers benefit from shorter lift lines and lower prices. Maine is well-known for its three largest ski resorts: Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and Saddleback.
Top Maine Resorts
Sugarloaf is the largest ski resort in Maine with more than 1,000 acres of skiable terrain. There are 12 lifts servicing 162 trails. The 57 miles of trails are nicely split among all ability levels. Beyond alpine skiing and snowboarding, the resort has plenty of side country options, like back country skiing in patrolled terrain.
Visiting Sunday River Ski Resort can be a bit complicated at first. The 135 trails are spread over eight interconnected mountain peaks. The resort’s 15 lifts are accessed from three base areas, but if skiers end up at the wrong parking lot at the end of the day, there are free shuttles on weekends and holiday weeks that can get them to the correct location. Sunday River has six terrain parks and plenty of developed tree skiing, perfect for the snow at Sunday River that is well-regarded as the most reliable in the state.
Saddleback Ski Area recently reopened after several years of closure. With the highest base elevation of all New England ski areas at 2,120 feet, it has 66 trails and a 2,000 foot vertical drop. Saddleback is the largest independently owned ski resort in Maine, and is in business thanks to a passionate group of skiers who wanted to see it return.
Small Maine Operations
Many other resorts in the state are locally owned and operated, whether by ski clubs or municipalities. They all provide affordable skiing options as low as $5.
- Mt. Abram
- Shawnee Peak
- Camden Snow Bowl
- Lost Valley
- Mt. Jefferson
- New Hermon Mountain
- Powderhouse Hill
- Titcomb Mountain
- Quoggy Jo Ski Center
Non-profit Maine skiing
Five ski areas in Maine are run by volunteers and non-profit based. Some have more than two dozen trails and have rental equipment available.
- Black Mountain – The affordable family recreation area has a terrain park and back country trails.
- Baker Mountain – The small ski area is run by volunteers so that local kids can ski.
- BigRock Mountain – The large ski area has something for every ability level.
- Lonesome Pine Trails – The northernmost ski area in Maine is run by volunteers. The ten runs connect to cross country ski trails.
- Spruce Mountain – Jointly owned by three towns, Spruce Mountain has eleven trails for all levels. Three rope tows lead to the top of the hill.
Future of Maine Skiing
Two of Maine’s ski areas are not currently operational, but both have plans to reopen in the near future. The small Eaton Mountain is expected to be operated as a student-led program. Big Squaw Mountain, in the process of being renamed, is undergoing redevelopment on the top half of the mountain. The bottom half was operational thanks to volunteers known as Friends of the Mountain, with hopes that the entire ski area will be reopened in the near future.