INside the OUTside: Sugarloaf homecoming a little different

Patrons gather for the annual Sugarloaf homecoming. (photo by Dasn Cassidy)

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

It was a clear ‘crisp’ day at Sugarloaf over the weekend. It didn’t seem to be the same as Homecomings in the past as the Coronavirus epidemic has taken its toll on Maine’s economy in many ways.

Looking back to last spring …. late February when spring skiing at the “Loaf” was in full swing, the mountain had just received a substantial amount of snow and many skiers were looking forward to skiing into May.

However, news spread around the slopes quickly that the mountain was closing for the season due to Coronavirus outbreak. The news spread like wildfire and it got worse as all ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada closed down.

But that was then … and this is now. Although many changes will greet us when opening season arrives, be prepared for new regulations both inside the lodges and on the slopes.

The base lodge will be open as usual for changing into your ski wear and boots, however, social distancing and dining may pose some problems early in the season.

The locker rooms will be open for members to change into their ski and snowboard gear, however, the hours of operation have been modified.

Snowguns came to life on Skidder Trail as it was all dressed in white for visitors as they drove up to the Sugarloaf base lodge.

Although the crowd wasn’t as large as expected due to cancelling of the opening meetings and some outdoor events, many children were busy with paintings, art contests, and many fat bike treks were held.

Seasons’ passes are available to purchase online, along with ski club memberships for the 2020-2021 ski season.

It’s time to get into shape! Looking forward to seeing you on the slopes!

INside the OUTside: Pandemic weighing you down? Take a hike!

Kathleen Cassidy at the foot of the trail, and above, Moxie Falls. (photo by Dan Cassidy)

by Dan Cassidy

With all the turmoil going on in not only our country, but throughout the world that has affected our lives, I try to keep my mind occupied with more positive things. What I tell my wife when she asks me “what do you plan to do today?” … I respond by saying, “I’m going to putter!”

One of my daughters has been home for several weeks from the west coast so we have spent many great days at beaches, riding bikes and doing other family things.

We decided one morning to take a trip up to Moxie Falls. She had never been, so off we went. It’s a pretty ride up Route 201 taking us through Skowhegan, Madison, Bingham, Moscow, Carratunk and meandering along the Kennebec River to The Forks. It’s about a two-and-a-half hour drive from the Central Maine area.

Moxie Falls. (photo by Dan Cassidy)

On the way, we passed through Bingham and from there the road begins to wind as we passed close to the Kennebec River, with sharp curves. Along the way, we passed by steep rock/ledge walls where some people have erected bird houses with numbers on them, all homemade and beautiful.

It’s a very picturesque ride to The Forks and what we noticed was the lack of traffic, with the exception of several tractor trailers heading in both directions, but a lack of Québec vehicles as the borders are still closed.

We took a right hand turn at The Forks and traveled about a mile-and-a-half to the entrance of Moxie Falls parking lot.

The walk is about a mile each way on a dirt path, shaded by overhead trees, making it very nice as the heat of the sun was getting quite hot.

Be prepared for your hike. You should wear sneakers, hiking boots, shorts and a light jacket in case of rain. I wouldn’t recommend flip-flops as there are rocks, roots of trees and other obstacles along the route. Bug spray is a good idea to carry.

We noticed several families, walking along the way and the mile trek took us right to the rushing waters of the falls. We spent about a half hour looking around the different look-out spots.

The hike back was about the same, as there was little elevation going in both directions. The best part was the shade from the hot sun. The trail meanders through the woods with wooden stairs and platforms to get a better view of the falls.

The falls area is one of the highest waterfalls in Maine, reaching vertical drop of about 90 feet. Caution here, as it’s best not to go off trail as the terrain gets very steep and rocky and the water is flowing at a very high speed.

While there is no overnight camping, there are several camping and lodging facilities in The Forks area. There are also several rafting outfitters and restaurants in the area.

Our choice for lunch was right after the bridge at The Forks at the Hawk’s Nest Lodge and restaurant. It has a picturesque outside seating and a great view of the Dead River across the road.

Enjoy your trek and be safe.

INside the OUTside – Summer weather is here: time to get outside

by Dan Cassidy

It’s that time of year… even though we haven’t had enough poor weather conditions, and for those of you who are outdoor enthusiasts have had to put up with this Coronavirus COVID-19. It’s hard to imagine that the whole world has seemed to be shaking up, destroying lives and creating uprisings.

Take a hike

It’s time to get your hiking gear and plan a trek into Maine’s woods, mountains and lake regions. Let’s not get too excited and overdo yourself in climbing a high mountain range, bike an extended ride or not pack accordingly.

Although it looks like it’s going to be a shortened season, there are many opportunities to get in some single day and multi-day treks. Temps are rising steadily as the month of June wears on, and Caribou, Maine, of all places may soar into the high 90’s breaking all-time records.

A day trek …

Before we venture out, let’s make sure you have the proper gear for a day trek.

  • A lightweight backpack to carry some light food, water, warm waterproof rain gear.
  • Footwear – very important to keep feet both dry and safe for the terrain you’ll be hiking. Sneakers are not the proper footwear for hiking rough terrain.
  • Apparel should consist of waterproof wool layers that will keep you both dry and warm.
  • Hiking pole, such as a ski pole or walking staff will help maintain stability and strain on your knees.
  • Don’t forget to leave a copy of your trek behind so that if you should get lost or if you need to be contacted, timing may come into play. Always carry a compass.
  • Keep track of the weather before you venture out. Plan ahead for any inclement conditions.
  • Other gear should include a first aid kit, sunglasses, sun protection lotion, knife, toilet paper, whistle if you should get lost and a cell phone.

If you’re planning an overnight trip, you’ll need a backpack large enough to carry some extra gear. In addition to the gear you’ll need for a day hike, here are other essentials to consider:

  • Check out the weather forecast as to where you’ll be heading.
  • Food such as snacks, sports bars, sandwiches (peanut butter and jelly) and chocolate bars.
  • Stay hydrated. Don’t forget to carry plenty of water for an extended trek. You may want to consider water treatment tablets, as any water found on the trails should be treated before drinking.

Enjoy your day! It’s a great way to stay healthy, toned up and it’s a great exercise.

INside the OUTside: The passing of a Maine ski legend

Natalie Terry was still skiing at 95 years old. (The Town Line file photo)

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

Natalie Terry, a local ski legend at Sugarloaf Mountain, died Wednesday, April 22, 2020, at her home, in Waterville, of natural causes, at the age of 96.  She was born in Portland, on July 14, 1923.

According to a published obituary, the family moved to Waterville in the early 1930s, where Natalie and her twin brother Don graduated from Waterville High School in 1941. She continued her education attending Thomas College and later worked at Keyes Fiber Company.

I first met Natalie in the early 1960s at Sugarloaf. She was a special person to watch her glide down the trails. It was an honor to be on the Maine Ski Hall of Fame Board when Natalie was inducted into the 2012 Maine Ski Hall of Fame.

She was a natural athlete and took part in several sports including figure skating, diving and golf during her early youth. Natalie was one of the original skiers at Sugarloaf Mountain where she would skin up the only trail on the mountain with Amos Winter and several other local skiers.

In one of my last conversations with Natalie in the latter part of the 1999 ski season, she told me that this would be her last year as an instructor. “I’m 95, but I still plan to ski,” she said.

Sugarloafer from the beginning

Natalie began her long skiing career at Sugarloaf around 1951.  “I was extremely honored at being recognized by the Maine Ski Hall of Fame in the Class of 2012,” she said.  She has worked with seven directors at Sugarloaf, Harry Baxter, Patrick Molignier, Russ Morey, Art and Cindy Hammond, Ken Everett, Paul Brown and Bob Matarese.

During the last 10 seasons teaching at the mountain, she consistently received the highest number of requested private and group lessons of any staff member.  When she was in her late 80s, she showed no signs of letting up.

Natalie said that she and her late husband Tim Terry, a Waterville businessman, along with friends at Sugarloaf climbed the mountain before there were any lifts.  “We used seal skins to hike up and then put them in packs as we skied down the Old Winter’s Way.”

An Austrian named Werner Rothbacher ran the Sugarloaf Ski School. Natalie and Tim had a camp near the ski area and Natalie often skied with friends in the ski school. In the spring they wore blue sweaters with gray stripes. It was the season of 1969-70 when Natalie officially joined the Sugarloaf Ski School. The school was under the direction of Harry Baxter, who later went on to manage Sugarloaf before moving to Jackson Hole. She remembers skiing on Tony Sailer skis during the first season with the school. Four seasons later she became fully certified.

“Being part of Sugarloaf for so many years has not only impacted my life, but my whole family’s life as well,” adding, “My soul is on that mountain.”

Here are a few excerpts from some of her family and colleagues …

Sarah Carlson – daughter…

“I don’t remember not knowing how to ski, having learned when I was three,” said Sarah Carlson, Natalie’s daughter. “I do remember how happy I would feel at the end of a school day Friday, knowing that we were going to pack up the family station wagon and head to Brookside Cabin in Bigelow Village shortly after I got home. We would fire up the woodstove, chop a hole in the brook for water, read by gaslight lantern and go to bed early to be up and ready to head to the mountain.”

“In those days Sugarloaf was much like Titcomb Mountain, where I raised my family and where we live now. Everyone knew everyone else and my brother Geof and I were pretty free to roam the mountain with our friends. There was a little red lodge and only T-Bars to ride. My father actually started teaching before my mom. I remember her saying, “Mmmm, I taught you to ski, so maybe I should try teaching, too!” And the rest, as they say, is history.

During the Christmas blizzard of 1968, my mother, brother, and I were having a blast skiing powder that was getting ever deeper. Every time we came down for a run the lift operator, who knew us well, mentioned that we should probably get on the road. Eventually, we tore ourselves away from the mountain, but only made it to Kingfield where we did our traditional stop at Harvey Boynton’s to say hello. My father, who was in Waterville, had been calling up and down the valley trying to tell us to stay put. The roads were closed by that time, so we spent Christmas Eve at the Herbert [Hotel, in Kingfield] with many other stranded families.

My father did a solo week away in the winter of 1971. When we arrived on Friday evening he announced that he had been doing some research and he thought that buying a condominium was a good idea. We all replied with, “A condo… what?” having never heard the word before.

My mother was not so sure this condo thing was a very good idea, but once she saw it that next winter she fell in love with, particularly the view of the Bigelow’s. It was supposed to be a rental property, but after I started participating in the Sugarloaf Tutorial Program (which eventually became CVA – Carrabassett Valley Academy), she decided to move up to the valley in the winter and teach full time.

The story of my mother, being one of the early skiers of Sugarloaf became deeply entwined in family lore. My brother and I heard it often and skied the old Winter’s Way with pride. I told it to my own children over the years and they know it well, too. The teaching of skiing also spans generations as I taught and coached alpine ski racing at Saddleback, Sugarloaf, and Titcomb. My son, Jence, taught in the Bubblecuffer’s Program while at UMF, and also coached ski racing at Titcomb. My daughter, Emma, teaches at King Pine, in New Hampshire. Their grandmother took great pride in the way the thread of the enjoyment of the sport and the teaching/coaching of it wove through the generations. A few years ago, we were actually able to take some runs on what is now known as Natalie’s Birches with a fourth generation. My brother’s son Carter and his daughter Alice took to the mountain for some very special family time. Gran/Mom/Natalie was thrilled by those moments.

Ethan Austin…

“Her skiing instructing career at Sugarloaf spanned roughly 50 years,” said Ethan Austin, Director of Marketing and Communications Sugarloaf.

Megan Roberts… 

“When they talk about skiing being a lifelong sport, Natalie was the example. She was skiing at Titcomb, in Farmington, before Sugarloaf was open,” said Megan Roberts who has spent years in the ski industry and as a ski historian.  “So, she was already more advanced than shoes just learning at Sugarloaf when it did open. In her last years, walking, especially with ski boots on, was difficult for her. But as soon as she was on her skis, her grace and flowing freedom returned. Her love for skiing and sharing the joys and benefits of it was her lifelong passion.”

Greg Sweetser… 

Natalie was known on a first name basis by many of her peers. “I saw her on a regular basis whenever I was at Sugarloaf,” said Greg Sweetser, executive director of Ski Maine Association. “We never worked together, but she was surely an icon in the ski instructor world.

“One thing that really stood out about Natalie was her incredible work ethic, and love of teaching people how to ski and how to improve their skiing. She had a knack of communicating with skiers and bringing out their confidence to perform to their ability, and then take a step forward in building new skills.”

Sweetser continued, “Natalie was there every day, no matter what the weather. She loved the mountain and she loved all her friends throughout the Sugarloaf community. She set a great example for untold younger instructors at the mountain.”

Natalie’s affiliation spent here career teaching skiing which she was passionate about. She was a Level III certified instructor with the Professional Ski Instructors of America, was recognized by Ski Magazine as one of the top 100 ski instructors in America.

She was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame in October 2012. A few years ago, the Birches trail, at Sugarloaf, was renamed “Natalie’s Birches.”

Her last year of teaching was the season of 2018-2019 at the age of 95. Natalie will be missed by all who knew her. She was also a hiker and at the age of 90 took her first snowmobile trek.

Tom Butler…

“Nat was an amazing woman to put it mildly,” said Tom Butler, director of Ski Services.“I have known Natalie since the day I was hired as a ski instructor at Sugarloaf in 1992. At that stage she was nearly 25 years into her ski teaching career which began in 1969 and continued through 2019. A 50-year career in the same job, for the same employer is an impressive accomplishment. The fact that she started her tenure at Sugarloaf when she was 46 years old is mind boggling. One can think of the numbers of students she’s taught but I like to think about the generations of students that have had the pleasure of learning from her. Grandparents, parents and children of the same families all learned from Natalie. Her expertise and knowledge were literally passed down from one generation to another. Her influence on these skiers is hard to calculate but her legacy is easily felt all around us.

Natalie was a beautiful skier, smooth and elegant and I would sneak in behind her every now and again to follow, and watch her as she skied down a slope to try and mimic the grace and flow that she exhibited. What sometimes gets overlooked though is how rugged she was. Natalie was physically and mentally tough and would not let weather or conditions dampen her enthusiasm for the sport or her guests. I remember when she was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame, a guest at the banquet commented to her that she reminded him of his mother in that, even at an advanced age his mother wouldn’t think twice about climbing a ladder to paint the house. Natalie looked at him with a quizzical look and without any pretense said, “Well, the house wasn’t going to just go paint itself.”

That’s how she lived her life, completely on her terms with no excuses and pure grace and determination. We’re going to miss her something fierce,” he said.

INside the OUTside: Mild winter cuts ski season prematurely short

Paule Bergeron, center, account executive for Québec City Tourism, speaks with CVOA members during a ski trip to Québec City recently. (photo by Dan Cassidy)

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

What was turning into a lackluster ski season beginning with mid-to-late December and running into March, the ski area of choice, Sugarloaf Mountain had put out a tremendous amount of coverage from their snow guns covering trails from January to mid-February when all snowmaking hoses and guns went silent.

Thanks to the weather, occasional snow showers kept the trails in pristine condition, thanks to groomers that kept the corduroy slopes in top shape.

While ski conditions were in great shape, unfortunately, Mother Nature didn’t help much as wind, cloudiness and low light made it more difficult to enjoy the runs.

In mid-February, about 20 (CVOA) Carrabassett Valley Outdoor Association skiers and snowboarders ventured to Québec City for four days. The group was spearheaded by Peter and Judy Weston. Our lodging was at the Manoir Victoria right at the entrance of the “Old” City where the Winter Carnival was being held. The hotel provided a large conference room for our convenience to enjoy Happy Hour each evening.

Our first day on the slopes was spent at Mount Saint Anne, where we enjoyed fresh snow, wonderful trail conditions and pristine views of the Saint Lawrence River and Québec City that was visible towards the south.

Our second day we traveled north to LeMassif, a great ski resort that is about to get much larger, thanks to a new Club Med hotel that is under construction along with several condos along the shore of the Saint Lawrence River, and due to open next season. Also, right at the river’s edge are railroad tracks that transport passengers from Québec City through Le Massif and onto Bay Saint-Paul, a beautiful four-season village. Le Massif is also the training slopes of the Canadian Ski Team.

Our third resort that we visited was Stoneham located about an hour to the north-west of Québec City. Although it snowed all day, it seemed that the ski conditions improved while we were there. On this particular day, trails were not crowded and the snow was very light.

Our last evening at Happy Hour, I invited Paule Bergeron, business development account executive of Québec City Tourism, to tell our group about all the many things that Québec has to offer, both winter and summer. She informed us about all the wintertime activities that included skiing, ice skating, snowshoeing, attending the many outdoor activities during their huge winter carnival right into spring and summer with all the carnivals, paved biking trails, boating, museums, hiking and many other activities.

Clean your ski gear

So now, with plenty of snow still lingering in the mountains of Maine, but with no lifts turning and gatherings not allowed due to an unseen virus that has destroyed many thousands of lives, I’ve already taken down cleaned and stored my on-the-roof ski box, cleaned my skis, boots and all my ski gear and stowed them away until next year. Just a note on putting ski gear away, be sure to pull your inner boots out of the exterior boots, wipe them down, apply a light coating of powder inside the inner boots and store. That way, you’ll be sure the inner boots will be dry and ready for next season.

As soon as temps rise and the predicted snowstorms melt away, it will be time to get out the bike and do some serious riding to stay in shape. Be sure to check out all the parts of your bike, check the brakes, lubricate and make sure your tires are in good shape.

Hope to catch up with you on some bike trails and really hope this COVID-19 gets busted! Stay healthy and stay safe!

INside the OUTside: Maine offers Adaptive Programs

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

Adaptive programs are being offered at Sunday River, in Bethel, Sugarloaf, in Carrabssett Valley, and other ski mountains in Maine.

Also included are Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, competitive Alpine racing and programs for visually impaired skiing for snow sports athletes.

There are also cycling trails in the foothills of Maine where veterans can find winter retreats with clinics and specialty camps are available throughout the state. These and other programs are offered at Sunday River, Sugarloaf and Pineland Farms.

For more information, check out Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation at the following 8 Sundance Lane, Newry, ME 04261-3228, (207) 824-2440, or log into: www.maineadaptie.org or email info@maineadapive.org.

Other Adaptive programs include Horizons that is your Adaptive Gateway to the Outdoors. The program offers three recreation activities through the Horizons programs, ski, climb and sail.

AEOC provides recreation and education programs at Sugarloaf Mountain or sea cliff climbing in Acadia, offering outdoor adventures year around to all people with disabilities. The Lodge is a fully accessible facility that sleeps up to 25 people. The Lodge includes a full kitchen, laundry room, dining area and living nook. There is also a yurt located on the property that is available for meetings, classes, art and crafts.

Ski and ride safely. Use your head and don’t forget to wear a helmet.

Dan Cassidy, of Winslow, is an experienced skier who has skied throughout the country and the world.

INside the OUTside: Maine Ski Hall of Fame to induct eight new members

Induction ceremony to be held at Sugarloaf Mountain on October 19

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

Dave Irons, columnist for the Sun Journal, and chairman of the Maine Ski Hall of Fame, has released the names of eight inductees to the class of 2019, who have made the sport of skiing grow. According to Irons, the Hall of Fame was formed to recognize Maine skiers who have gained significant contributions to skiing in Maine. “Since its inaugural banquet in 2003, more than 130 skiers have been inducted, representing every aspect of the sport, competitors, coaches, instructors, founders and pioneers,” he said.

“This year’s induction brings the total to 144 members,” said Theresa Shanahan, executive director of the Ski Museum of Maine. “The Ski Museum is located at 256 Main Street, in downtown Kingfield, and will be open on Saturday, October 19, and Sunday, October 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tours of the Museum will be given,” she said.

Tickets to the reception and banquet can be purchased by contacting the Ski Museum of Maine at (207) 265-2023.

The eight Inductees include Seth Wescott, Lindsay Ball, Henry Anderson, Leigh Breidenbach, Don Fowler, Billy Chenard, Paul Schipper, and Robert Zinck.

Seth Wescott was a dominant competitor in Snowboard Cross. He was introduced in the 2006 winter games in Torino, Italy. Wescott won that first event and four years later, he was successful in defending his title at the Vancouver Olympics. He will be honored as one of more than 130 skiers into Maine’s Ski Hall of Fame. He also won two silvers in the World Championships along with three silvers and a bronze in the X-Games.

Lindsay Ball is a visually impaired skier who started skiing at age six with Maine Adaptive Sports. In 2011, she competed for Lawrence High School, in Fairfield. She also went on to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in the giant slalom. Lindsay mounted numerous podiums in World Cup and NorAm competition. She has won gold medals in both downhill and giant slalom. She graduated from UMF and is serving as vice president of the Maine Organization of Blind and Athletic Leadership Education.

Henry Anderson carried on the start of Maine tradition of skiing. He was born in New Sweden in 1894, and grew up where skis were used for transportation and later on racing. He made his own skis from 1926 to the early 1930s. He also made XC racing skis for members of the New Sweden Athletic Club and the Caribou and Fort Fairfield ski teams.

Leigh Breidenbach worked her way through the University of Maine at Farmington where she taught skiing at Sunday River. After graduation, she joined the school’s Ski Industry Program under Doc DesRoches and Tom Reynolds where she became part of the program. She is a fully certified Level III PSIA instructor. She has served the Ski Museum of Maine Board.

Don Fowler has demonstrated the love of skiing by being on the mountain every day that he can. He is one of the founders of the Ski Museum of Maine and has donated countless hours as the organization’s clerk and attorney.

He has compiled the complete history of Sugarloaf and helps as an ambassador for the sport.

Billy Chenard carried on a long tradition of highly competitive Nordic skiers coming out of the Chisholm Ski Club. He competitively skied for Rumford High School and was always either at the top of near it. He won the National Junior Nordic Combined title in 1972. He developed the cross country trails at Sugarloaf and the Balsams that were recognized by racers as being the best layouts in the East.

Paul Schipper a legendary skier at Sugarloaf Mountain is well known throughout the country and the world. It all began during the 1981 ski season when he realized that he had not missed a day on the slopes. That was the beginning of “the streak.”

From age 57 in 1981 until 2005, Shipper skied every day that Sugarloaf was open. As a retired airline pilot he was a keen weather observer and reported to Chip Carey in the marketing department. He used the streak to get as much publicity for the resort.

Robert Zinck got his start with the Chisholm Ski Club and developed into an all around athlete. His specialty was ski jumping. He jumped wherever he could at places like Black Mountain, in Rumford, the Swan’s Corner Gould Jumps, in Bethel, the Big Nansen,in Berlin, and all over New England.

Zinck had victories including 1972 Class A High School title, 1973 Maine and New England Class A Jumping crowns, 1974 Junior Nationals and many other championships. This led to his being named to the U.S. National team in 1976-1977.

According to Shanahan, this year’s special guest is Bill Green of Bill Green’s Maine. He is scheduled to honor some of the inductees.

INside the OUTside: Natalie Terry chalks up another milestone

Natalie Terry

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

Begins 50th year of ski instructing at Sugarloaf

Natalie Terry began another year at Sugarloaf as she has done over the last 49, however, this year has a special meaning. This is the 50th consecutive year that she has been teaching skiing at Sugarloaf since 1951. “I have never missed a year,” she said.

Natalie has received the highest number of requested private and group lessons of any staff member.

“Skiing has been a passion in my life,” she said. She and her late husband, Tim, lived and skied in Waterville with their two children at the Colby Outing Club in the late 1940s and at Baker Mountain, in Bingham, well before any lifts were cut at Sugarloaf.

She began her long skiing career at Sugarloaf around 1951, and has worked with 11 directors at Sugarloaf. “I climbed with Amos Winter to the top of Winter’s Way. We would seal skin up the mountain and ski down,” she said. “It was the only trail that had been cut.”

Natalie is certainly respected by her colleagues at Sugarloaf. “The past few years have been magical for me, three quarters of my life has been on this Mountain,” she said. She was inducted into the Maine Ski Hall of Fame in 2012.

“She is known as a celebrity on the Mountain,” Bob Trip, manager of the Ski and Snowboard School said. “Every coach considers her as a celebrity here. She is considered as family, She never expects anything from anybody he said.

Ski and ride safely, use your head and wear a helmet.

INside the OUTside: Bonjour, Québec

Skis and poles spread out all over the snow while the owners take a hot chocolate break. (Photo by Dan Cassidy)

Dan Cassidyby Dan Cassidy

It’s that time of year to start planning a vacation trip to ski country. If you haven’t ever been to Quebec, or maybe you’ve been in the summer for a visit but to make Ski Quebec City, Charlevoix, you’ll be amazed at what you’re in for.

Winter Carnaval de Québec …

If you chose to find lodging in the Old City of Quebec, you’ll be amazed at all the snow sculptures, ice castles, eateries close by, and don’t forget that if you’re there during the annual Winter Carnival, it is scheduled for February 8 through mid-February this year. The winter celebration has been going on for over 50 years and draws over 8,000 people from all over the world. Be sure to check out the boat racing that crosses the Saint Lawrence River.

Four ski resorts, including Mont-Sainte Anne, Le Massif De Charlevoix, Stoneham Mountain resort and Le Relis Centre are all close by historic Quebec City. Each has snowmaking, equipment rentals restaurants and ski shops.

Mont-Sainte Anne has three mountain faces, with one overlooking the St. Lawrence River and is the highest vertical drop for night skiing.

Next is Le Massif de Charlevoix, about one hour east of the city. You’ll be amazed with beautiful views of the St. Lawrence River and has the highest vertical drop east of the Candian Rockies.

Stoneham Mountain Resort offers Canada’s largest night skiing area. There are three terrain parks for freestylers with an Olympic caliber half pipe. Stoneham also offers the best après ski ambience.

Le Relais is a close drive of 15 minutes from Old Québec that has the most lighted runs in the Québec City area. There are also three terrain parks for all levels of skiing and riding.

Leave the car behind and catch a ride on Ski Bus that serves Québec City, Mont-Sainte-Anne and Le Massif.

With the old city charm and magic that comes alive during the annual winter carnival, you and your family will find out that being outdoors during the winter can be really ‘cool!’

If it’s a ski trip your thinking about, let Ski Québec City and Charlevoix get you on some of the most beautiful terrain in all that ski country has to offer. Also, don’t forget your passport!

Ski and ride safely. Use your head and don’t forget to wear a helmet.

INside the OUTside: Sugarloaf, Sunday River making plans for early snow season

It won’t be long before the snow guns come alive and cover the slopes of Sugarloaf, Sunday River and other ski trails in Maine. (File photo by Dan Cassidy)

by Dan Cassidy

It’s been quite a warm summer overall and I was just reading a couple articles from our local ski areas in western Maine. Now I’m sure you remember how really hot and humid it has been over the past couple of months … but you may have forgotten the winter we endured last season. Let me remind you … it wasn’t only “cold” … it was downright freezing, along with more snow than we’ve had over the past couple years … beginning in early December, right into mid-May! Kind of forgot that didn’t you!

Well, as mentioned, a couple of the reports from our ski resorts are calling for an early beginning, hopefully the making of another great season!

While Sugarloaf and Sunday River had a great summer of golfing, fat biking, hiking Appalachian trails or visiting the Maine Huts and Trails, canoeing and riding some of the zip line runs, vacation days are coming to an end. I recently heard that the two Maine resorts are aiming to begin snowmaking in less than 100 days, give or take!? WoW!

Sunday River is one of Maine’s largest and most visited ski slopes in the east. The mountain is spread across 870 accessible acres that spreads across eight interconnected trails. We’ll keep you posted on new equipment, trails and events as snow season gets closer.

Maine Ski Hall of Fame Induction ceremony scheduled

The Maine Ski Hall of Fame is planning their 16th annual induction dinner Saturday, October 27th at the Grand Summit Hotel at Sunday River Resort beginning at 4:30 p.m.

The induction ceremony includes seven members to the Class of 2018. They are Karen Colburn, Leon Akers, Anne Dowling, Norman Libby, David Stonebraker, Kristina Sabasteanski and Warren Cook.

Reservations can be made by contacting Ski Maine Association at (207) 699-3121, or visit www.skimaine.com/hof. Dinner tickets are $65.00 per person. Special lodging rates are also available.

Get ready and get going!

For now, there are several things you can do to be ready for opening day. First, get moving and get into shape, get your skis out of storage, get them tuned and waxed, get those boots out and clean them up.

Some weather reports are indicating that we’re due for an early start to the winter, with ample snow before the Christmas holidays. It’s closer than you think!