January 18, 2022

Business rises as temperature falls at Maine ski resorts

PORTLAND — Ski resorts are getting back on track after balmy temperatures caused the season to get off to a slow start.

Warm temperatures early in the season kept resorts from making snow and may have kept skiing far from people’s minds. But more trails have been opening since temperatures dropped and snow began falling in December.

“Certainly, since Christmas, the weather has been favorable,” said Skip King, spokesman for American Skiing Co., which owns Sugarloaf/USA in Carrabassett Valley and Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry.

“It got cold early enough before Christmas that the mountains were able to make a lot of snow,” King said.

This year’s slow start follows a rough season last year, when a January ice storm shut down some resorts, made driving treacherous and kept many Mainers preoccupied with other things, like getting their electricity restored.

This year’s ski business has revived enough since Christmas to avert another disaster, according to area ski resorts. Most are experiencing an average or slightly-below-average season.

The industry has two critical ski periods ahead: Martin Luther King weekend and February school break.

Tom McAlister, general manager of Saddleback Ski Area in Rangeley, described the season so far as mediocre.

“It has picked up some, but it is still not going full tilt,” said McAlister, who has about 70 percent of his trails open.

Sugarloaf/USA spokeswoman Leah Stevens said the warm November put the resort behind but that the snowfall since Jan. 3 means 100 of 126 trails should be open by the weekend.

Ed Rock, general manager of Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, said more people are getting into the skiing mode each day.

“Each day since a few days before Christmas, it has been building and improving,” he said.

He said snow on the mountains is not always enough to lure skiers.

“If don’t see snow in their back yard, it is difficult for them to envision there is snow on the mountains,” he said.

Have feedback? Want to know more? Send us ideas for follow-up stories.

comments for this post are closed

You may also like