November 24, 2013

Josh Christie: Maine ski areas were busy in off-season

From base lodge facilities to new terrain, there are a lot of improvements for skiers to enjoy.

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Along with clearing and expanding trails that were skied this spring, the Friends of Squaw Mountain have made many improvements to the base lodge.

Elsewhere, summer changes were the usual melange of improving snowmaking capacity, adjusting slope grades and widening trails. Greenwood’s Mt. Abram expanded snowmaking and built a new tubing park next to the lodge, while Saddleback in Rangeley widened some trails and added a new groomer to their fleet. Rumford’s erstwhile Black Mountain has added a new glade and a spiffy new warming hut.

Some of the other changes are less visible but no less important. Ownership of Black Mountain and Bigrock, both previously managed by the Libra Foundation, has transferred back to the local communities (Friends of Bigrock Mountain and Chisholm Ski Club, respectively.) The groups have both had success with fund raising, which should keep the mountains serving their communities into the foreseeable future.

Also on the financial front, the Camden Snow Bowl just added $2 million in funding from the town of Camden to the $4.5 million raised by the Capital Campaign Committee of the Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Foundation. That $6.5 million will fund improvements that include a new lodge, a new triple-chair, and a doubling of snowmaking capacity.

Of course, these improvements won’t go in until after this season. Until then, get out there and enjoy some early-season skiing. Sugarloaf and Sunday River already have lifts turning, and many others will be opening in the coming weeks.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer and lifetime outdoors enthusiast. He shares column space in Outdoors with his father, John Christie. Josh can be reached at:

joshua.j.christie@gmail.com

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