Skiers ride a quad lift at Pleasant Mountain on Thursday night, taking advantage of the night skiing at the Bridgton mountain. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

BRIDGTON — Those who comb through Alpine ski area websites have known for a long time that the best deals are night skiing passes. But at Pleasant Mountain during a recent, much-awaited evening snowstorm, the reasons to embrace night skiing went far beyond cost savings.

Those reasons ranged from the convenience to the lack of crowds to the unique, magical atmosphere and “cool vibe.”

Night skiing can be colder when the temperatures drop and, with that, icy after the snow on the slopes has been skied off by those skiing during the day. But the benefits outweigh the cons to those who only night ski with night-skiing season passes or with time available after the workday. Add in more affordable tickets, and if you hit a snowstorm at night during the week? Even better.

The opportunity to ski under lights until 7 or even 9 p.m., when the slopes are less crowded, offers a kind of snow-globe experience, where the surrounding landscape disappears in darkness and all that’s visible is the illuminated trail ahead and the lifts running above. For those trying it for the first time, it can be a remarkable, even magical experience.

It’s why Kelsey Ortiz came with her 4-year-old daughter, Piper, from Brunswick, during the snowstorm on Jan. 12.

Piper Ortiz, 4, of Brunswick made her first trip to night ski under the lights and falling snow and loved it, while skiing with her mother at Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“It is cheaper than day skiing. But we’re here tonight so she can try night skiing. We drove from Brunswick when we saw the forecast for snow,” Ortiz said. “Tomorrow will be a rough day of work, but it’s worth it. The snow (storm) drew me. And there’s rain tomorrow, so the snow will be ruined. I wanted to get it while it’s good, considering the kind of winter we’ve had.”


Of Maine’s 17 Alpine ski areas, 13 offer night skiing. Of those that do, six have a specific night-skiing pass that cost less than the day pass. The other seven offer one ticket that includes both day and night skiing, although many of these smaller mountains open mid-afternoon.

Snowboarders ride a quad lift while night skiing at Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

At Pleasant Mountain, where adult day tickets midweek can cost as much as $69, the night-ski ticket (for just one night) is as low as $24 on Monday nights. At Sunday River – the only one of Maine’s big ski areas with night skiing (which ends at 6:30 p.m.) – the difference between an adult “Twilight Pass” can cost as low as $50 compared to an adult midweek day ticket that costs as much as $95.

But Black Mountain of Maine offers the best night skiing deal going, hands down.

Night skiing takes place at the Rumford ski area on select Wednesdays for free through the support of local businesses that sponsor the evening. This winter the skiing is free from 4 to 9 p.m. on four of the next five Wednesdays. It’s an opportunity Black Mountain has offered for 15 years.

“The events are very well attended by both kids and adults,” said Deanna Kersey, Black Mountain’s spokeswoman.

Night skiing season passes are not as common, but die-hards who choose to ski only at night using a dedicated night-skiing pass say the rewards are ample.


“We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for that,” said John Moss of Sebago, who came to ski with his two daughters with night-ski season passes. “I also like it better. It’s less crowded. On the weekends it’s too busy. You wait in lines and it’s a lot of out-of-staters. At night it’s just the locals. I just think it’s quieter.”

Moss, a Windham native who recently moved back home from California, said the night-skiing season passes lets his family enjoy more skiing than they would if they only skied on the weekends. As of Jan. 12, Moss already had 15 ski days in the books. He said the night ski passes for himself, his 8-year-old daughter, Charlotte, and his 5-year-old daughter, Francesca, cost just $550. An unlimited season pass for John Moss alone would have cost $899.

“I’m psyched to get the girls skiing since we moved home. They’re 5 and 8. My wife doesn’t ski and I want someone to ski with,” said Moss, a snowboarder.

Others at Pleasant Mountain who have a dedicated night-skiing season pass talked of the convenience and more-relaxed atmosphere you get coming to the mountain after work or after school instead of on weekends when most people ski.

Crystal Bilodeau of Naples skis under the lights and falling snow at Pleasant Mountain in Bridgton on Jan. 12. She and her husband have season night-ski passes and ski two to three times a week. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

Crystal Bilodeau of Naples said she and her husband enjoy their night passes because they enjoy skiing mostly with their neighbors and locals.

The Jan. 12 storm, however, drew out more than locals from the Sebago Lakes region to Pleasant Mountain. The snow – while not quite powder – drew from the Midcoast. Tara Cloutier of Wiscasset left work at 3 p.m. when she saw the forecast for snow in Bridgton and drove nearly two hours in the storm. It would take her the same amount of time or longer driving home in the freezing rain that night. Was it worth it?


“Absolutely,” Cloutier said, beaming as she pulled her snowboard out of her hatchback. “Typically there are less people skiing at night. But I just go where the snow goes. If I waited for the weekend to ski, I’d have missed this storm. So night skiing offers that flexibility.”

Chris Lekousi of Windham, a student at the University of New England, also came for the snowstorm. He noted at night the slopes can be skied off and icy – an obvious pitfall of night skiing. But Lekousi quickly added, you never know if this will be the case.

As it turned out on Jan. 12, skiers and riders raved about the fresh snow.

“The conditions are actually ideal,” Lekousi said. “In general, it tends to be more icy when the sun goes down. But not tonight.”

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