Winter weather on the way, it’s time to think snow

According to the most recent reports, it looks like a pretty good snowstorm will hit much of the state early Sunday morning, turning Maine into a winter wonderland. Or, if you’re like some folks I work with, the storm will officially mark the date when you’re supposed to make like a bear and hibernate for six months.

Since I’m a snowdrift-half-full type of guy, I’ll opt for the “wonderland” option. And if you’re like me and ready to embrace a good ol’ Maine winter, I’m happy to report that there’s plenty going on in the world of snow.

Here are a few developments you may want to be aware of:

  • You were probably already aware that a couple of the state’s largest ski resorts are open for business. Earlier this week, the Ski Maine Association sent out a press release announcing that things are going even better than we may have thought.

In fact, November was colder than it’s been in more than 20 years, according to the release, and as a result, eight resorts or mountains will be open by this weekend.

On the list: Sugarloaf in Carrabassett Valley, Sunday River in Newry, Bigrock in Mars Hill, Hermon Mountain in Hermon, Lonesome Pine Trails in Fort Kent, Mt. Abram in Greenwood, Shawnee Peak in Bridgton and Titcomb Mountain in West Farmington.

Saddleback in Rangeley is expecting to open Dec. 21, which means we ought to have plenty of skiing options over the Christmas holiday.

  •  If you’re a nordic skier, you’re typically at the mercy of Mother Nature.

Fortunately, there are some spots that make snow for the use of cross country skiers.

Sugarloaf is one of those, as the Sugarloaf Outdoor Center announced late last week that it had made enough snow to open a quarter-mile loop with groomed surfaces for classic and skate skiers.

“We rarely make snow at the Outdoor Center, but with the favorable temperatures and our ability to utilized equipment from Sugarloaf’s snowmaking department, we decided to go for it this year,” Outdoor Center manager Chris Parks said in a news release. “Our guests are always anxious to get back on snow at this time of year, so we’re excited to be able to offer this terrain so early in the season.”

  •  While we’re talking about snow, we might as well take the opportunity to talk about ice, too.

Specifically, ice-fishing, a favorite outdoor activity for many Maine families.

And while some folks think of Jan. 1 as the traditional opening day of ice-fishing season, that’s really not the case: On many of the state’s waters, it’s legal to ice fish as soon as safe ice forms.

And according to the Facebook posts of some, there are already a few places where you can safely drill a few holes and spend a fun afternoon on the ice.

A couple of disclaimers: First, be sure to check your state fishing rulebook before heading onto the ice. Make sure the lake or pond you want to fish is in fact open. And make sure you know exactly what the daily bag limit for each species of fish is.

Second, don’t make a mistake you can’t take back: Nobody who stayed ashore ever broke through the ice, after all. Make sure the ice is safe. Check it early. Check it often. There’s no fish worth your life. If you’re in doubt, stay on shore. Head home. Read a book. Organize your fishing gear.

Then wait for a cold snap, and head back when conditions are safer.

 Follow John Holyoke on Twitter: @JohnHolyoke


John Holyoke

About John Holyoke

John Holyoke has been enjoying himself in Maine's great outdoors since he was a kid. Today, he's the Outdoors editor for the BDN, a job that allows him to meet up with Maine outdoors enthusiasts in their natural habitat. The stories he gathers provide fodder for his columns, and this blog.