Have you ever dreamed of heading out to a frozen lake to do a little ice fishing in the early morning, cooking your catch for lunch, and then enjoying a little afternoon walk on a pair of ash-frame snowshoes built by local craftspeople? It is one of many winter adventures waiting for you, your friends, and your family in the lovely state of Maine when you find your perfect home here.
There are guided snowshoeing tours for beginners, cross-country skiing trails to explore, and world class downhill skiing and snowboarding that will put your skills to the test. Some of the best winter activities in Central Maine can be enjoyed from the sidelines: including a skor competition at state fairgrounds or a toboggan championship. We enjoy the winter in style. We think you will too. Here are some of our favorite winter adventures in more detail.
Winter Events • Spectators Welcome
U.S. National Toboggan Championships: Registration is open for the 32nd annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships in Camden. The cost is $73 for a two-person team, $110 for a three-person team, and $146 for a four-person team. The three day weekend event will be held at the Camden Snow Bowl, February 3rd to 5th 2023. Reserved parking is available for $157-$209.
You, your friends, and your family will have a great time cheering on competitors at the annual event. Folks travel from near and far to test out their tobogganing skills on well crafted sleds racing down the 400 foot wooden trough flooded with ice that empties onto Hosmer Pond. This is always a lot of fun. A two-person team from Tennessee took second place in 2007, and they’d never even seen snow before!
You can head up to the mountain and test the run before registering, just to get a feel for world class tobogganing. The chute is open to the public on non-race weekends, weather permitting, for $10 per person per hour (toboggans provided). Children must be at least 42” tall to ride. Goggles and helmets are recommended.
Skor Skowhegan: For the uninitiated, skoring is very simply a sport where a person on skis or snowboard is pulled by an animal or motor vehicle (a winter version of waterskiing). Skoring has been a mode of travel for people of Scandinavian countries for hundreds of years. Reindeer skoring races are held in some of these countries through the present day. We use horses for skoring races in Maine.
The date is set for New England’s only equestrian skoring competition. The gates open at 10:00am and the first race is at 11:00am on February 25th, 2023 at the Skowhegan State Fairgrounds. It is part of the Somerset Snowfest. The snowfest runs from February 18th to 26th 2023 and also includes an ice-fishing derby, kite-flying derby, downhill kayak race, and winter triathlon.
It’s not too late to register your skoring team (there aren’t any individual sign-ups) in the pro or novice division. The cost is $80 per team. The pro division will have three jumps, while the novice division can avoid the jumps. It is a 1,000 foot course and the action is fast paced, with speeds approaching 30mph. Riders must come with their own horse, and the horse is required to have at least two front winter shoes with studs. Please refer to the event site for all the rules and regulations.
The time trials had a great turnout in 2022 with 23 pro, 5 novice, and 3 novice junior competitors. Nate True and Josie McAllister took first place in the pro division with a time of 00:23,5 (best of two runs). The first place prize was $400 for the pro division and $200 for the novice division in 2022.
Winter Sports • Your Favorite Adventures
Skiing & Snowboarding: In addition to hosting the annual toboggan race, the Camden Snow Bowl is a wonderful local town-owned ski area in Central Maine. You will enjoy a view of the ocean from the summit of the triple chairlift before carving down the Clipper, Lookout, or enjoying a little solitude in the glades. Full day adult weekday tickets are $37, and weekend tickets are $47 for the 2022-2023 season. There are 15 trails, 11 glades, and 2 terrain parks on 105 acres serviced by 2 chairlifts and 1 conveyor lift.
There are a lot of excellent skiing and riding opportunities to discover in Maine. There are 19 resorts across the state, and many will be a short drive away from your new home in Central Maine including Sugarloaf. This is the largest ski and snowboarding mountain (and the second tallest mountain) in Maine. The resort is located in Carrabassett Valley. The mountain summit is 4,237’ with 162 trails and glades over 1,240 acres serviced by 11 chairlifts and 3 surface lifts. The average annual snowfall is 200”. The daily ticket rates will vary, depending on the “date, type, and how far in advance they are purchased”. Maine residents enjoy a 50% discount for full day tickets on Wednesdays (except February and Christmas vacation weeks).
Other world class resorts include Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry, Saddleback Ski Area and Bike Park in Rangeley, Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford, Mt. Abram Ski Area & Bike Park in Greenwood, and Pleasant Mountain Ski Area (formerly Shawnee Peak) in Bridgton.
Snowshoeing & Cross Country Skiing: Maine was once the capital of snowshoe production in the United States. And while a large part of the industry has shifted elsewhere, local businesses still make ash-frame snowshoes for your winter walking pleasure. When living in a state where a Northeaster might drop 10” of snow in a single day, it’s wise to have the proper footwear. You can walk to the corner market with ease, once you get used to your snowshoes.
Snowshoeing has become a popular recreational activity in recent years. There are plenty of places across the state to enjoy this wonderful winter activity. You can revisit your favorite summer and fall hiking trails in the area state parks, and put your snowshoeing skills to the test after a heavy snowfall. Lily Bay State Park in Greenville maintains a 5 mile loop for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in the winter, with an additional 2 miles of side trails. There are 5.5 miles of groomed trails and 6 miles of un-groomed trails to explore on snowshoes or nordic skis at Sebago Lake State Park.
Guided Tours (Snowshoeing & Ice Fishing): Sometimes you need a little help putting your best foot forward (especially when there’s a giant webbed platform connected to it to keep you from sinking in deep snow). You, your friends, and your family can enjoy the tranquility of a snowshoeing adventure in the mountains of Maine, and get a little help, by joining a guided tour. The majority of the area ski resorts have snowshoeing and cross country ski trails onsite or nearby to explore. Some resorts offer guided tours. It’s a great way to get familiar with the sport and navigate varying terrain. Sugarloaf offers an early evening 2 mile Snowshoe Safari Tour complete with a guide, hot chocolate, and cookies for $45.
There are also area businesses that specialize in guided tours for winter adventures (including snowshoeing, cross country skiing, and ice fishing).
Maine Path and Paddle Guides in Windham offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing day trips for $20 per person on select Sundays.
Northwoods Outfitters in Greenville offers a 3-5 hour “Woods, Wildlife and Waterfalls” guided snowshoe walk. They also offer a 6-8 hour “Guided Ice Fishing” tour. You can catch a fish, cook it for lunch, and then do a little snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on the frozen lake ($350 for two people, $30 for additional people). The ice house, fishing equipment, bait, and two meals are included in the price. Snowshoes, snowmobiles, and cross-country skis are available to rent.
Mservier & Associates has been serving Maine home buyers and sellers with a collection of resources, agents, and market data since 1988. The rich tapestry of snow-covered trails and mountain terrain is waiting here for you to discover and explore when you find your perfect home in Central Maine. We look forward to working with you. Contact us today!