L et’s agree. This will go down as a season to remember … especially if the snows of January and February are a harbinger of even more to come.

Skiers and boarders have been blessed with the most cover, and best conditions in recent (or even long-term) memory.

And in an unusual turn of events, the storms that have brought us such great conditions this year were not confined to the western mountains. In fact, late January and early February snow brought not only equal amounts to the coastal plain, but on multiple occasions dumped even more on such usually snow-starved (at least of the natural variety) areas as the Camden Snow Bowl.

Even more unusual, and enjoyable, were the colder-than-usual coastal temps during the storms that resulted in actual powder conditions, the likes of which, in the eyes of some, haven’t been seen in a generation.

But don’t take it from me, as I do tend to over-enthuse, I’m told, when such conditions prevail over the entire state.

Listen to what the folks who report conditions at a sampling of Maine areas had to say just a few days ago:

CAMDEN SNOW BOWL: “Over 2 feet of snow in the last 10 days and more coming! All trails open. Groomed packed powder on Slipway, Windjammer, Clipper, Coaster, Foxy, Lower Mussel Ridge, Lookout, Spinnaker, Northeaster and Terrain Park. Triple chair and conveyor operating. “

TITCOMB MOUNTAIN: “All the Nordic trails are perfect! Alpine is looking beautiful as well. All lifts are running and all of the mountain is open.”

SUNDAY RIVER: “With mixed predictions from the weather people, ranging from 6 to 36 inches dropping from now through tomorrow night, it’s pretty safe to say we’re on our way to well over 4 feet over the course of two weeks. It’s just beautiful! The groomers managed to get out on most of the steeper terrain early in the night to give it a good flurry-catching base, saving the green circles and some blue squares for last for cruiser-friendly turns. … And with all of those packed powder bumps on the naturals, especially in the trees, the fresh snow is sticking and waiting to be slayed.”

SHAWNEE PEAK: “We are 100 percent open! Conditions are spectacular! Our trails are loaded with snow and we are going to receive MORE SNOW over the next few days. Since 1989 we’ve the most night skiing in Maine, with four lifts servicing 10 trails and two terrain parks. We offer the most night skiing in the East, hands down.”

SADDLEBACK: “Powder skiing/riding all over the mountain! Groomed trails are soft and the glades have filled in and are skiing exceptionally well. Whatever part of the mountain you plan to ski or ride, today is a great day.”

So that was the prevailing official word from a handful of Maine areas. My unofficial assessment is equally glowing. I’m reminded of the dumps of over 50 years ago that had Stub Taylor, Lester Arsenault, Emery Hall and me digging down to find the roof of the ski patrol shack at the top of the No. 3 T-bar at Sugarloaf. And then creating a virtual tunnel up through so skiers on the lift could get to the top.

And I have fuzzy recollections of days in my youth when we got storms in sequence like we’ve recently experienced, but I can’t ever remember reveling in waist-deep Rocky Mountain fluff at Camden Snow Bowl like I did a few days ago.

Just watching skiing buddies who handle traditional eastern packed powder perfectly trying to navigate unfamiliar knee-deep snow has been great fun. As my friends in Vail reminded me, “Forget the new mantra about skiing with your feet apart to get the most out of your shaped skis. In the deep stuff keep ’em together, just like we were taught long, long ago.”

Not only are we blessed with the best skiing in years, the timing couldn’t be better as we get into the shank of the season, and next week’s vacation for the kids. And an added benefit of the substantial base depths with which every area in Maine is blessed, it bodes well for a long season and the dessert to which all of us chilled enthusiasts look forward: spring skiing.

John Christie is a former ski racer and ski area manager and owner, a ski historian and member of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame. He and his son, Josh, write columns on alternating weeks. He can be reached at:

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