By DOUG HARLOW Morning Sentinel
SKOWHEGAN – Eaton Mountain Ski Area opened for snow tubing Friday, a year after its owner was injured and forced to close the mountain.
"I'm physically doing quite well," David Beers said Friday. "Up and around."
Beers suffered broken bones and skull fractures on Dec. 4, 2011, when an 18,000-pound snow groomer rolled over him at the mountain. His jaw was broken in three places and he still is deaf in one ear, he said.
Beers and his wife, Donna, and their son Jacob, 8, spent Christmas 2011 together in his hospital room in Bangor.
The mountain was closed last winter.
This year is a whole new story.
"We had our opening day today and had a good turnout," Beers said. "We were able to make enough snow and got enough snow from Mother Nature last night to allow us to get open."
The mountain, off Lambert Road and Route 2 east of downtown Skowhegan, will have three snow tube chutes open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily through New Year's Day but, for now, no skiing or snowboarding.
The mountain's chairlift still needs to be upgraded, inspected and certified by the state and the area's insurance company, Beers said.
Beers said the snow tube chutes offer a 60-foot drop and run about 500 feet.
"It's something like riding a roller coaster," he said.
Snow tubers pay $13 per person for three-hour sessions.
"We limit the number of tickets we sell for any snow tubing session so that people can be sure they're going to get a lot of runs in," Beers said. "That way, we keep the crowd to a minimum and they don't end up spending a lot of time standing in line. Usually by the end of the three hours, they're pretty well worn out and have gotten their money's worth."
The mountain, with a new handle-tow lift, opened for the first time with a new snow-tubing park in 2010 after a fire closed the original place in 2005.
The Beerses invested about $100,000 to install the new handle-tow lift, lights for nighttime activities and snowmaking equipment.
Morning Sentinel Staff Writer Doug Harlow can be contacted at 612-2367 or at: