Family Friendly Ski Resorts
Finding a great ski area is like finding a secret powder stash. In Maine’s Lakes & Mountain region, there are plenty.
The region hosts Maine’s Big Three resorts—Saddleback, Sugarloaf and Sunday River—along with a cadre of small and medium-sized areas. These smaller resorts—often called ‘locals hills’—draw skiers and riders from neighboring towns, both beginners and intermediates, and families and folks looking for bargains on tickets and meals. Some riders and skiers ‘graduate’ from smaller resorts to the big boys. Others, charmed by the camaraderie and fun of the smaller hills, never leave.
Enjoy ocean views while skiing at the Camden Snow Bowl. With nearly 1,000 feet of vertical elevation and more than 20 recently expanded runs, this family friendly spot shines as a seacoast ski resort. Nestled among picturesque harbors, charming inns and award-winning restaurants, the Snow Bowl is also the only ski area on the East Coast with ocean views.
Lost Valley in Auburn offers a full and interesting ski day for skiers of all abilities. There are 22 trails, 3 terrain parks and 9-gladed trails with night skiing available, too. Opened in 1961, today it also offers snowtubing, groomed Nordic skiing, and snowshoe trails.
For almost a century, the town of Rumford has hosted many winter sports including downhill and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and—way back when—ski jumping. Today, Rumford’s Black Mountain of Maine resort has three lifts to take skiers and snowboarders to 1,380 feet of vertical drop and to over 50 trails and glades. The resort also offers top-to-bottom night skiing. Nordic skiers can glide across 17 km of trails. Folks wanting to hurl themselves downhill in a different way can try The Edge Tubing Park.
Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton rises from the lakes northwest of Greater Portland. Open since 1937, the mountain has six lifts, taking skiers and riders to 1,300 vertical feet, 40 trails, seven glades and three terrain parks. Pleasant Mountain is known for its great views and easy access to southern Maine cities. It’s also popular for its night skiing—Pleasant Mountain boasts having the most in New England—and for its citizen-racing programs including its ‘Racing With the Moon’ evening league.
Mt. Abram in Greenwood is just down the road from Bethel, a classic New England sports town. Mt. Abram has drawn skiers and riders since Christmas Eve, 1960. The mountain has a vertical drop of 1,150 feet. Its four lifts bring skiers and riders to 36 trails in two distinct areas of the mountain. At the main section are mogul runs, steeps, natural glades and intermediate and advanced groomers. The Westside area is great for family skiing, beginners and intermediates.
Set in the college town of Farmington, Titcomb Mountain is a small, community ski area founded in 1939 by the Farmington Ski Club. Its three surface lifts take skiers and riders to 350 vertical feet of terrain that includes 16 trails and a terrain park. Nordic skiers can enjoy 16 kilometers of groomed cross-country trails; 2.3 km of the trails are lit for night skiing.
Spruce Mountain in Jay seems to rise right out of the Androscoggin River. It’s another small, community-run ski hill, this one with a vertical drop of 300 feet, three rope tows (bring tough mittens!), 11 trails, night skiing and Nordic trails. Spruce Mountain is run largely by volunteers.