High up in the northeastern corner of the United States, Maine enjoys stacks of snow during the winter months and has some impressive mountains to ski. The Appalachians run through the west side of the Pine Tree State, where ski resorts take full advantage of the steep verticals on offer!
Due to COVID-19, safety measures were put in place by the State of Maine which impacted the 20/21 ski season. These included a mandatory 10-day quarantine or negative COVID-19 test for anyone returning or traveling to Maine. In early March, this restriction was eased to include travelers from certain states only. In Franklin County which is home to Sugarloaf and Saddleback Resort, restrictions included mandatory mask-wearing, physical distancing and enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. In addition, many resorts required advance lift ticket purchases and had limited capacity for indoor/outdoor dining. Such restrictions are not anticipated to continue into the 21/22 winter season.
Sugarloaf is one of the top ski resorts across the entire American East, so it’s no surprise that it takes first place in Maine. From the 4,237 ft summit you’ll enjoy stunning views over the Carrabassett Valley, along with access to the high-alpine Snowfields that are lined with double black diamond trails if you're up for a challenge! There’s also cat skiing in the steep side country of Burnt Mountain and six terrain parks scattered across the resort. The ski village might be small but it's well-equipped, with winter gear stores, decent restaurants, and a slope-side hotel complete with an outdoor hot tub big enough for 30 people!
An excellent full-service ski resort with fast lifts and meticulous grooming, Sunday River is hard to fault. Green trails connect up across the majority of this 870 ac ski area, so even beginners can go exploring without the worry of advanced slopes getting in the way! That said, if you want to test how fast you can really go on skis then give the White Heat run a try. Expect plenty to do after skiing too, with theatre shows, ten-pin bowling, and spa treatments on offer in the village, not to mention regular firework displays! Accommodation options include upscale hotels, slope-side condos, a youth lodge for groups, and an economical mountain inn.
After a 5-year hiatus, Saddleback is finally making a comeback for the 2020/21 winter season! This much-loved ski mountain now features a new high-speed quad chairlift that whisks you to the top in just 4 minutes. Confident skiers will find a whole section of the mountain dedicated to advanced terrain, with the Muleskinner trail and Casablanca glades not to be missed. There are townhouses and condos to rent next to the slopes, or for better value lodgings head down to the lakeside town of Rangeley, a 15-minute drive away. Take a wander around and you’ll discover a handful of casual restaurants and fun pubs for evening après-ski entertainment.
Camden Snow Bowl offers a very different experience to the other Maine ski resorts on this list, owing largely to the fact that it’s located right next to the coast. Skiing here comes with a sea view! Situated on Ragged Mountain, there are 20 groomed trails to ski plus 45 ac of untouched glades, with some hike-to terrain for experts too. And don’t miss a ride on the 400 ft toboggan chute, which hosts the U.S. National Toboggan Championships each year. The resort is just 4 mi from Camden Harbor, where you can find plenty of traditional inns and apartment rentals, plus there’s beer tasting at the Sea Dog Brewing Co. to enjoy!
Skiers have been schussing down the slopes at Shawnee Peak for over 80 years already, and this well-run resort offers all the essential amenities for a fun ski vacation. Three-quarters of the trails here are classed as beginner and intermediate, which makes it a fantastic place to hone your skiing skills. You can also keep practising after dark because half the slopes stay open for night skiing every day apart from Sunday. The resort offers unique ski-in/ski-out accommodation at the top of the mountain in their North Ridge Yurt and Tuckermans Cabin, along with larger lodges that are perfect for groups at the base areas.