January 2

Can’t-miss winter events

Stave off winter psychosis with toboggan runs, mattress races, ice bars and full moon hikes

By Shannon Bryan sbryan@mainetoday.com
Staff Writer

From ice bars to toboggan races and much more, there are so many ways to embrace winter in Maine.

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Members of team Fetching Yetis celebrate a successful run during the 22nd annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships at the Camden Snow Bowl in 2012.

2012 Press Herald file photo/Tim Greenway

Additional Photos Below

Nobody wants to succumb to unrestrained weather-related hostility each winter. Other alternatives – psychotropic drug abuse and/or seasonlong hibernation – aren’t very appealing either.

But such are the options for folks who don’t prepare against the personality-altering effects of a New England winter.

The cold season can ice our spirits and bury our good natures under a half-ton of ash-colored slush. But we can break free from winter’s frigid clutches with a little help from a toboggan, an ice bar and a few well-placed snowballs. The key is strategy. We need a wintry plan of attack. For, as the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of February shock therapy.” Here are a few options for staving off winter psychosis:


Folks who don’t typically shape shift with the appearance of the full moon will appreciate the uphill trek to Mt. Abram’s peak, where music and mountain revelry await during the Full Moon Hike. There’s a heated lodge up there, not that you’ll need it. The 50-minute climb will do wonders raising your body temperature and you’ll find yourself periodically disrobing. Hang out, have a beverage, then ski, ride or hike your way down.

Jan. 11, Feb. 15, March 15; free; Mt. Abram, Greenwood; www.mtabram.com/news-events


You can let winter conquer you, or you can conquer winter with a cold-weather sprint up Bradbury Mountain. In snowshoes. The Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series includes three races over the course of the season, from a 3.5-mile race in January and a 5-miler in March. And while running uphill is never easy, running uphill while wearing snowshoes is a feat that will prove winter is powerless over the likes of you.

Jan. 19, Feb. 16, March 9; Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal; $15; trailmonsterrunning.com/ bradburysnow


This annual event features bars carved out of ice in the courtyard, food from area restaurants and a DJ for entertainment. Tickets must be purchased in advance, please note the event sells out; Saturday night is sold out with the exception of some overnight packages with Ice Bar tickets.

Jan. 23 to 25; Portland Harbor Hotel, Portland; $25/$31 with drink ticket; www.evesatthegarden.com


Downhill. That’s generally the direction people go on snow-covered mountains. They might choose to ski down, tube down, sled down or ride down. But they’re all going down. Not you. You defy gravity and the presence of ski lifts by going up that mountain on foot. The Winter Wild Event at Sunday River (a first this year) is a 4.15-mile race up the mountain and back down. It won’t be easy, but it does end at the White Cap Lodge, so there’s always food and drink to look forward to.

Jan. 25; Sunday River Ski Resort, Newry; $20 in advance/$25 day of; www.newinterwild.com


When you were younger, you might’ve conned the family dog into pulling you around the snow-covered yard on a plastic sled, because mushing is an exceptional way to embrace winter. And dogs. Bridgton’s annual Mushers’ Bowl includes two days of dogsled races and skijoring (wherein people on skis are pulled by their canine friends) at Five Fields Farm. The winter carnival a few weeks later boasts a Freezin’ for a Reason polar dip, winter hikes, guided snowshoeing, dodgeball tournament, snowmobile rides and dogsled rides on Highland Lake. Aspiring mushers can give the family dog a rest and get a firsthand dogsledding experience on either day as long as they sign up beforehand.

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Additional Photos

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The ice chips fly as Jeff Day of Ice Designs in New Hampshire puts the finishing touches on a sculpture for the 2012 Portland Harbor Hotel Ice Bar.

2012 Press Herald file photo

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Justin McClogan and other participants dash up the Portland's the hill of Portland's Eastern Promanade during the first leg of the 2011 Snowman Adventure Race.

2011 Press Herald file photo/Carl D. Walsh

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A cardboard sled called “The Mooselook Monster” heads down the slope during the Cardboard Box Race at Saddleback Mountain in Rangeley in 2011.

2011 Press Herald file

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