Freddy Ker, 6, of Portland screams with delight while sledding down Payson Hill in Portland. Ben McCanna / Portland Press Herald

Winter in Maine affords plenty of opportunities for families to play outside together.

Traditional sledding, cross-country skiing and ice skating are all great, cold-weather activities and there are many places within a short ride from most areas in Southern Maine.

Recreation departments in most communities have winter opportunities available to the public.

Windham Parks and Recreation Director Linda Brooks said the town maintains a skating area on Chaffin Pond in Lippman Park accessed by Chaffin Pond Reserve Drive off Route 302 in North Windham.

Nathan Milliken, a junior at Portland High School, conditions with the Nordic ski team at Payson Park in December. Derek Davis / Portland Press Herald

“We have two S’mores and Skate Nights scheduled for Jan. 28 and Feb. 22 from 6-8 pm.,” Brooks said.

Windham Recreation also has a snowshoe loan program available. For more information, Brooks can be reached at 892-1905.


The cold snap in January assures good ice skating and Gorham has multiple areas. Recreation Director Cindy Hazelton reports rinks include those at Narragansett Elementary School behind Public Safety on Main Street, Little Falls Recreation Area behind Old Robie School on Gray Road, and Shaw Cherry Hill Farm on Main Street adjacent to Sebago Brewing.

“I believe they all have had water put in and the surfaces are ready to skate on now,” Hazelton said.

Portland offers ice skating in Deering Oaks. The city’s website says celebrities like Whitey Houston and Denzel Washington skated there during filmings.

Payson Park off Baxter Boulevard in Portland has ice skating in addition to sledding. The city also has sledding on the Eastern Promenade and at Riverside Golf Course on Riverside Street.

Cross-country ski trails in Gorham were not ready yet as of mid-January, but Gorham Recreation has sledding at its Little Falls site.

Jack Oddi, 3, accompanied by his mother, Kristina Wilson, tried skating for the first time at West Brook Skating Rink in Biddeford earlier this month. Tammy Wells / The Courier

Cross-country skiing is open at Harris Farm in Dayton from 9 a.m. to dusk every day, snow permitting. According to its website at, 40 kilometers of trails run across open fields and forests of the dairy and vegetable farm.


“Trails range from gentle beginners’ loops to rolling terrain for more advanced skiers,” the website says. Thirty kilometers are groomed with wide skating lanes and 35 kilometers are track set. Harris Farm also has fatbike trails, rents snowshoes and has a sledding hill for the kids.

Sledding has been popular for decades at the University of Southern Maine off College Avenue in Gorham Village.

Pineland Farm, 15 Farm View Drive, in New Gloucester has free skating on its 50-by-100-foot rink. Sled rentals are available, according to its website, For more information and updates on conditions, the Pineland Welcome Center can be reached at 688-4539.

In Biddeford, the West Brook Skating Rink off Route 9 offers free skating, with loaner skates available. A recent posting on Facebook said, “The ice is nice.”


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