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Skiing Maine: 17 Mountains

Skiing Maine: 17 Mountains
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6:15 p.m.
Mt. Abram, Greenwood

It was nighttime, and the bar/restaurant inside Mt. Abram’s lodge was busy. It was a tough call. Either boot up now and climb Mt. Abram, or do it after a leisurely dinner. We decided to eat first, ski later. Since the lifts weren’t running, we climbed to the second knoll in the moonlight. And one after another, we clicked in and headed downhill under a shimmering sky to a hollering and cheering crowd below. Although we wouldn’t be there for it, as the lifts started to turn the next morning Mt. Abram would be transformed from a low-key bar scene into a winter wonderland for families dressed in ski and snowboard gear the next morning.


7:30 a.m.
Sunday River, Newry

Management cranked the lifts early for us. We skied the most perfectly groomed and untouched corduroy as the sun rose, casting our morning in orange glow. Sunday River was ours for those two runs.

10 a.m.
Black Mountain of Maine, Rumford

The morning developed into a sunny, bluebird-sky day, and the reflection from the snow was nearly blinding. Everything at Black seemed to be sparkling. The downhill trails were quiet, but at the base of the mountain, where cross-country routes intersect, a crowd of parents were ringing cow bells as their Nordic-ski-racing kids shot by wearing shiny Lycra outfits. The lodge may be new, but the T-bar atmosphere is timeless.

11:30 a.m.
Titcomb Mountain, West Farmington

Even before my first run, the sound, smell, and feel of Titcomb, another community ski area, evoked memories of the mountain where I spent all my childhood winter weekends. Inside the lodge, excited kids squealed as they layered on clothing and booted up next to a huge stone fireplace, while logs crackled and scented the air with a fragrance that could be bottled and sold as “ski-lodge memories.” Outside, a dad was pulling his child, swaddled in fleece, on a wooden sled, with the family’s black Labrador puppy tagging along.

Riding up the T-bar, I scoped out Dare Devil’s Plunge to Dire Straights, a series of tight and twisty old-fashioned trails that follow the natural contour of the mountain. I skied through the mellow hero bumps — the kind that are so perfect you feel like the best skier in the world for that moment — then stopped halfway down and basked in the quiet that surrounded me. I felt utterly content with this sweet trail and its perfect snow. That run soon became my official favorite trail for this Ski Maine odyssey. Ten minutes later, and after a lunch of homemade turkey and dumpling soup made by faithful volunteers, Titcomb became my official favorite mountain for the Ski Maine odyssey.

Like many other community ski areas in Maine, this might not be your vacation destination if you’re “from away,” but if you’re a local and grow up skiing here, you’re very, very lucky. Thank goodness places like this still thrive. Progress is good, but mountains like Titcomb have a soul: They’re living memorials to a bygone era of skiing.

Please Note: This information was accurate at the time of publication. When planning a trip, please confirm details by directly contacting any company or establishment you intend to visit.

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5 Responses to Skiing Maine: 17 Mountains

  1. Marissa Dana December 9, 2008 at 1:03 pm #

    Wow! Amazing! And so many places to visit this winter…

  2. Jamie Trowbridge December 9, 2008 at 4:16 pm #

    I’m thrilled to hear so many local areas are doing well in Maine. Your story makes me want to seek them out. Plus, I’ve always wanted to ski Sugarloaf.

  3. Karin Johnson December 30, 2008 at 11:46 am #

    This reminds me of a club I belong to called “Quad Man/Woman”. Every year while vacationing in Aspen with a large group of friends we would spend one day of the vacation and ski all five mountains in the area in one day-top to bottom. We had to take public transportation- no personal vehicles allowed. We’d go straight to the top of the mountain and straight down and move onto the next mountain! I even have the “quadman/woman T-shirt to prove it!

  4. Jay Allen January 13, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    I am sooooooo jealous!!!

  5. Doug Willey February 8, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    Awesome adventure and article, Heather! You must often think the phrase that Steve Martin had in one of his routines, probably before you were born…” the most amazing thing to me is…I get paid for doing this!”

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