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Maine Ski Resorts

Maine's ski & snowboard resorts such as Sugarloaf and Sunday River are farther from New England's larger cities, but they offer great snow and smaller crowds.

Maine Ski Map

The wonderful, rural state of Maine has a number of excellent ski resorts that attract discerning skiers from across the region and as far away as Europe.

An advantage of Maine's major ski resorts is that their mountains are higher and farther north than others, and thus may have better, drier, less icy snow.

And the very distance of Maine ski resorts from major population centers means that there will be more dedicated skiers coming—and fewer overall skiers at that.

Most visitors drive to ski resorts, but if you're coming from a distance (say, beyond Connecticut), you may want to consider flying to Portland ME and renting a car or taking a bus from there to the resort.

Where to Stay

Maine is New England's largest state by area, so choose lodgings conveniently located for the ski vacation you want. Click here for the full list.


Here are my favorite Maine ski resorts, in order of preference:

Sunday River Ski Resort

Sunday River Road, Newry ME (map)
A big, good, elaborate ski resort spread over 8 mountain peaks north of Bethel ME, famous for being family-friendly.

Ski school at Sunday River Ski Resort, Maine
Teachin' 'em the turns at Sunday River.

Sunday River Ski Resort, 7 miles (11km) northwest of Bethel, Maine (map), and 71 miles (114 km) northwest of Portland, is a big, elaborate resort: 132 trails (43 Beginner, 47 Intermediate, 26 Expert, 16 Expert Only) on eight mountain peaks along a 3-mile (5-km) ridge, served by 16 ski lifts, five of them high-speed quads, one of them the first Chondola (high-speed 6-person chairlift + gondolas) in the Northeastern USA.

If you skied or rode all of Sunday River's trails, you'd ski/snowboard more than 50 miles (80 km)!

The vertical drop is 2340 feet (713 meters) from the mountain's summit of 3140 feet (957 meters).

The resort opens in early November, and skiing/snowboarding is good through the end of April.

Snowmaking is perhaps the best in all New England, so skiing is usually fine, whatever nature may have provided.

Beyond skiing, Sunday River has everything for everybody: geocaching, ziplines, kids' programs, ski and snowboard schools, equipment rentals, fireworks displays, mountaintop candlelight dinners, terrain parks, spas, cafeterias, restaurants, bars, and beds for 8000 people.

The resort itself has two grand hotels, the Grand Summit and Jordan Grand, with all facilities, including bars, restaurants and spas.

The Phoenix House and Well next to the South Ridge Lodge has several dining rooms for upscale and casual dining, live music, and a sports pub corner. The Foggy Goggle Bar at South Ridge Lodge is a favorite après-ski locale.

The nice old town of Bethel, with its hotels and inns, restaurants and services (supermarkets, pharmacies, etc.) is only a short drive south. Prime lodging here is the renowned 3-star, 49-room Bethel Inn Resort. A smaller, more intimate lodging is the 3-star, 7-room Austin's Holidae House Bed & Breakfast. More...

At Grafton Notch State Park, 17 miles (27 km) northwest of Sunday River, the Mahoosuc Guide Service organizes dogsledding expeditions on winter weekends to Umbagog Lake and other Maine woods destinations.

For smaller, less active alternatives nearby, look at Mt Abram Ski Area and Black Mountain Ski Area.

Sugarloaf/USA Ski Resort

5092 Sugarloaf Access Road, Carrabassett Valley ME (map)
Well north of Sunday River Ski Resort, Sugarloaf's mountain is higher (second highest in Maine, after the mighty Katahdin), its snow is colder—and drier—and its crowds are smaller. Sugarloaf/USA Ski Resort is 18 miles (29 km) northwest of Kingfield, Maine, and 131 miles (211 km) north of Portland.

View from the summit at Sugarloaf, Maine
Sugarloaf: the view from the summit.

Being farther north than Sunday River means that it takes longer to get to Sugarloaf, but for those willing to make the trek, this is an advantage. You'll have more of the mountain to yourself.

Speaking of the mountain, it's Maine's second highest at 4237 feet (1291 meters), the vertical drop is 2820 feet (860 meters), the second-longest among New England ski resorts (after Killington). It's the only mountain in the eastern USA on which you can take a lift above tree line.

There are 133 trails (35 green, 41 blue, 57 black; total length 54 miles/87 km). 17 of the trails are gladed. Variety of terrain and quality and quantity of natural snow are among its strong points.

The 15 lifts include two high-speed SuperQuads and two high-capacity quads. The 10-year average of natural snow is 206 inches (5.23 meters), and the resort has the ability to create snow on 94% of its trails.

How good is the skiing and snowboard riding? Well, four Olympic contenders honed their skills on the slopes of Sugarloaf: Kirsten Clark, Emily Cook, Bode Miller and Seth Westcott.

This is a resort with all services: kids' programs, ski and snowboard schools, terrain parks, cafeterias, restaurants, bars, and plenty of lodging.

I particularly like that the Grand Summit Hotel is right next to the lifts. Talk about slopeside! (See the photo on the right.) The 7-room Nestlewood Inn Bed & Breakfast is not much farther away, and cozier.

In nearby Kingfield, the 26-room, 3-star Herbert Hotel is the traditional favorite. The4-star, 6-room Mountain Village Farm B&B is a step up in comfort.

For cross-country skiers, Maine Huts & Trails is establishing a chain of country huts on 180 miles (290 km) of cross-country ski trails, with the comfortable huts about 11 miles (18 km) from one another. The Stratton Brook hut is not far from Sugarloaf. More...

The small town of Kingfield, 15 miles south of Sugarloaf, has a few services, but you'll probably spend virtually all of your time at the resort. This is forested Maine, with only a few small villages scattered here and there.

Saddleback Mountain

976 Saddleback Mountain Road, Rangeley ME (map)
West over the mountains from Sugarloaf, Saddleback has some of the same advantages: good snow, beautiful scenery, short (or no) lift lines.

About 8 miles (13 km) east of the town of Rangeley ME, the setting for Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort is scenic, with fine views across the broad valley to the north.

Saddleback Mountain trail map, Maine

Saddleback's base elevation is 2460 feet (750 meters)—highest base elevation of any eastern US ski area. Its vertical drop is 2000 feet (610 meters) from a top elevation of 4000 feet (1220 meters) on 8000 acres (3237 hectares) of land, 600+ of it skiable.

There are 68 trails, 25 of them Black (difficult) or Double Black (most difficult), but 20 Blue (intermediate) trails, and 23 Green (beginner and easy) trails.

As for lifts, Saddleback has four quads, a t-bar, and a moving carpet for beginners.

For snowboarders, there are two terrain parks.

Snowmaking covers 85% of the trails to supplement the 225 inches (5 meters) of annual snowfall.

Pleasant Mountain

119 Mountain Road (off US 302), Bridgton ME (map)
Fun, friendly, accessible, unpretentious, Pleasant Mountain (formerly Shawnee Peak) makes a good family day-trip or overnight getaway.

Pleasant Mountain Ski Area, Maine
Pleasant Mountain Ski Area looks like a ski peak should, viewed across broad Moose Pond.

Pleasant Mountain's vertical drop of 1300 feet (396 meters) from the 1900-foot summit is traversed by 40 trails (10 Beginner, 18 Intermediate, 12 Expert) served by 5 ski lifts, including a quad and two triple chairlifts.

There are lots of long Intermediate cruising trails—the kind I like. Four of the trails are glades, and fully 19 trails are illuminated for nighttime skiing and riding.

Even the 400-foot (122-meter) snowboarding half-pipe is lit for night riding.

The two base lodges have cafeterias. The Blizzards Pub has table service and live entertainment.

Day care is available right at the resort for children from 3 months to 6 years.

As "Shawnee Peak," Pleasant Montain was the first ski area in Maine to install a T-bar and chairlift (1950s). It continued its innovation by installing the Summit Triple Chairlift, which has a conveyor loading system: you stp onto a moving belt and slide into your chair seat on the move, which allows the lift to operate more speedily.

Camden Snow Bowl

Hosmer Pond Road, Camden ME (map)
What a combination! One of Maine's prettiest, most cultural coastal towns, and all winter sports too! Mount Battie, right behind the town, is the focus. If someone in your group doesn't want to ski, there's lots of other things to see and do. Great fun for both skiers and poets... not to mention skier-poets. Maine has several great ski resorts to which skiers will travel for hundreds of miles.

They're all high in the mountains, where the air—not to mention the snow—is dry because of the altitude above sea level.

But what of a ski area only three miles from the sea, just outside the charming, historic coastal windjammer-port town of Camden, Maine?

That would be the Camden Snow Bowl, a small but intriguing ski and snow sports area by Hosmer Pond in the Camden Hills with a vertical drop of 943 feet (287 meters; from 1093 feet to 150 feet above sea level), and 80 skiable acres (32 hectares).

The 11 ski trails (20% Beginner, 60% Intermediate, 20% Expert) are served by 4 ski lifts, including a double chair, 2 T-bars and a surface lift. Snowmaking covers 45% of the skiable surface area. About half the trails are usually illuminated for evening skiing.

The terrain park is all set for snowboarding.

Skiing and snowboarding are the two expected snow sports here, but Camden Snow Bowl has much more.

First and foremost is its famous 400-foot (122-meter) toboggan chute, which has hosted US national toboggan championships. There's also a popular snow tubing hill, ice skating on Hosmer Pond, snowshoeing and winter hiking—a full list of winter sports.

The snow can be damp rather than dry here because of the temperature-moderating effect of the ocean, but that also means the air is not biting cold.

Sure, ski conditions here are sometimes not as good as at the higher-elevation ski resorts inland, but Camden is always good with great inns, restaurants, museums and entertainments.

Maine coastal culture and skiing, too. Wow!

Mount Abram

308 Howe Hill Road, Greenwood, ME (map)
Fine small ski area near Bethel, a worthy family alternative to bustling, much bigger Sunday River.

Besides Black Mountain of Maine, the mountains between Rumford and Bethel (map) can boast Mt Abram Ski Area, a good medium-sized, locally-owned family resort with a vertical drop of 1150 feet (351 meters), 51 downhill trails (11 Beginner, 27 Intermediate, 11 Advanced, and 2 Expert) served by five ski lifts, including two double chair lifts and two fixed-grip T-bars.

Four terrain parks keep snowboarders and freestyle skiers happy, as do the six trails illuminated for nighttime skiing and riding.

Mt Abrams' 1325-foot (404-meter) snowtubing park is Maine's largest, and is illuminated for nighttime runs, which are great fun (and easy on the leg muscles) after a full day of skiing or snowboarding.

Snowmaking covers 85% of the trails to supplement an annual snowfall of 125 inches (3.18 meters).

Mt Abram Ski Area, Greenwood ME

The atmosphere here is friendly, family, homey and old-time: the simple pleasure of skiing without the hype or expense.

For variety, medium-sized Black Mountain Ski Area is 24 miles (39 km) to the north, and large, active Sunday River Ski Resort is 10 miles (16 km) northwest, only about a 20-minute drive.

Portland is 59 miles (96 km) south of Greenwood.

Titcomb Mountain

Ski Slope Road off Morrison Hill Road, West Farmington ME (map)
Perhaps the finest, friendliest beginner's mountain in Maine, fun for all but the most suicidal double-black-diamond fiends.The families of the Farmington Ski Club own and operate Titcomb Mountain Ski Area, as they have since 1939, assuring a welcoming family atmosphere and good downhill skiing and snowboarding, and 17 km (10.5 miles) of Nordic (cross-country) groomed ski trails.

The 750-foot slope features 15 alpine trails and a terrain trail for snowboarders served by two T-bars and one handle tow. Rentals and lessons are available for all disciplines.

Snowmaking covers 75% of the downhill trails, and lighting encourages night skiing, so there's no end to the fun. The base lodge has a commissary serving warm food.

The ski area is just a mile or two west of the college town of Farmington, north of Lewiston and Augusta.

Lost Valley Ski Area

200 Lost Valley Road, Auburn ME (map)
Lost Valley Ski Area is a small family area 5.6 miles (9 km) northwest of the center of Auburn, Maine (map), a 15-minute drive.

Lost Valley's 15 trails (6 Beginner, 5 Intermediate, 4 Expert) on a vertical drop of 240 feet (73 meters) are reached by two double chair lifts and one surface lift.

The 100-inch (254-cm) annual snowfall is supplemented by 100% snowmaking—and Lost Valley claims to be the first ski area in Maine to have used snowmaking equipment. It was also the first to provide lighted trails for night skiing.

Lost Valley Ski Trails Map

Lost Valley is a great place to learn skiing and to practice your turns: few speeding hotshots will imperil your efforts.

Is it "too easy?" Well, three-time US winter Olympian Julie Parisien began her career here by learning to ski at the age of two.

The Beaver Snowboard Park and Otter Slide Terrain Park keep snowboarders happy.

The base lodge has a full-service ski shop, equipment rentals, a cozy fieldstone fireplace, and a café serving sandwiches, salads and snacks.

The Brookside Lounge serves alcoholic beverages, and has live entertainment on weekends.

Black Mountain of Maine

39 Glover Road, Rumford ME (map)
A good, accessible ski and snowboard area near Rumford ME with something for everyone.

Black Mountain of Maine Ski Resort, a few miles west of Rumford ME (map), has 20 alpine ski trails (4 Beginner, 10 Intermediate, 6 Expert) on a 1120-foot (341-meter) vertical drop.

Its five ski lifts include a triple and a double chair lift. The snowboarders' terrain park includes a 300-foot (91-meter) half-pipe as well as grind rails and a table.

Average annual snowfall here is 110 inches (2.8 meters), and Black Mountain of Maine is equipped to cover 65% of its trails with its own-made snow.

From Thursday through Saturday a half-dozen trails are illuminated for night skiing and snowboarding.

Nordic skiers enjoy more than 10 miles (16 km) of groomed cross-country trails.

Black Mountain's neighbor, Mt Abram Ski Resort, is 24 miles (39 km) to the south, about a 45-minute drive.

Eaton Mountain

89 Lambert Road, Skowhegan ME (map)
East of Skowhegan less than six miles (10 km), Eaton Mountain is a small local ski area with a vertical drop of 622 feet, 18 ski trails (5 Beginner, 7 Intermediate, 6 Expert), including some gladed trails, one double chair lift, one T-bar, and 100% snowmaking.

The entire area is lit at night for night skiing. The ski school is good for beginners and intermediates.

There's a terrain park for snowboarders and snow tubing runs for everyone.

New Hermon Mountain

441 Newburg Rd, Hermon ME (map)
New Hermon Mountain Ski Area, 12 miles (19 km) west of Bangor ME just north of I-95, is a small family-oriented beginners' ski area with 18 trails (40% Beginner, 30% Intermediate, 30% Expert) on 75 acres (30 hectares) of skiable area, a vertical drop of 350 feet (107 meters), and annual snowfall of 90 inches (2.29 meters) supplemented by 100% snowmaking.

The longest trail run is 5000 feet (1.5 km).

Hermon has one double chair lift, 2 T-bars, snow tubing park with its own lift, and 100% snowmaking, as well as a snowboarders' terrain park and half pipe, and a new lodge with snack bar.

Mount Jefferson

Off Thomas Hill Road, Lee ME (map)
Mount Jefferson Ski Area in Lee, Maine, 60 miles (97 km) northeast of Bangor (map), is a nice, small, family-owned and -operated ski area that's great for first-time and beginning skiers.

With a vertical drop of 432 feet (132 meters), 12 trails (3 green, 6 blue, 3 black), a 600-foot handle tow and two 2000-foot T-bars, it's great for beginners. The annual snowfall of 110 inches (2.79 meters) is supplemented with 40% snowmaking capability. Ski and snowboard lessons and rentals are available, and the snack bar refills you after a few runs.

Big Rock Mountain

37 Graves Road, Mars Hill ME (map)
A small ski area north of Houlton, south of Presque Isle, Big Rock is a small ski area in Mars Hill ME, north of Houlton and south of Presque Isle in extreme northeast Maine very close to the border with New Brunswick, Canada.