Skiing Maine: 17 Mountains
Lonesome Pines is the closest ski mountain to the Canadian border in northern Maine. Like most of Aroostook County, it benefits from a winter-friendly climate, although with the recent addition of snowmaking covering 60 percent of the terrain, it’s not relying solely on Mother Nature. The day we visited the mountain, management had decided that it was too cold to open to the public, but they ran a lift so that we could get in our requisite run. Despite the frigid temperature, this was, once again, another mountain with a warm heart, whose mission is to serve the community at the lowest cost possible.
We stocked up on provisions before embarking for our last mountain, nearly six hours away, then climbed into the cars and settled in for a day on the road. I’d arrive at my final destination, my own bed, at 11 p.m. that night. Riding in a car for more than 12 hours in one day is miserable. But in the end, it’s completely survivable. Since my back was in tweak mode for the next nine weeks — either from sitting in one position for too long or from sleeping on the floor one night — I was reminded of this whirlwind tour not only by my nostalgic memories but also by the twinge whenever I stood up straight. skimaine.com/areas/lonesomepine
Camden Snow Bowl, Camden
A little road-weary, I cheered when I saw the Snow Bowl sign. Camden is a year-round community recreation center. During the winter, it offers tubing, ice-skating, cross-country skiing and snowshoeing, in addition to alpine skiing, snowboarding, and a world-famous toboggan run. But the best thing about Camden is the view from the summit: The ocean is so close you could probably throw a snowball into it. After our final run, we celebrated achieving our goal with a champagne toast — to ourselves and to the 17 mountains we’d just skied. camdensnowbowl.com
End of the Trail
Before this odyssey, I thought that after 17 mountains in three and a half days, it would be difficult to keep track of which was which — but each one turned out to have distinctly memorable attributes. I was especially happy to experience so many thriving community ski areas. They reminded me of my childhood, and I doubt that I’d love skiing as much as I do today if I hadn’t grown up with that sort of ski experience. Community ski areas are the backbone of this sport. They’re where skiers and riders are made.