Wear a Mask and Keep your Distance
|National Ski Areas Assoc. Lift Guidance|
Be Kind and Patient
Due to COVID-19, there are going to be numerous changes at Maine ski areas. Some you will find reasonable... and some you may dislike. While it is certainly appropriate to bring significant issues to the attention of ski area management, it does no good to berate a front line ski worker about a policy you may not like. Things will be different, but lets roll with the changes and be nice to each other… especially the ones working out front to help make your ski day as enjoyable as possible!
Boot Up at the Car
This is probably the biggest change you will experience at Maine ski areas. From what we are reading from mountain communications the lodges will have strict capacity limits and you may not be able to leave bags under tables or in cubbies in the lodge. This year is the year to figure out how to boot up in the parking lot “western style”. Out west, it is very common to boot up in the parking lot as large day lodges are not as common. You may want to invest in a small foldable chair that you can use to sit down and boot up. Wear your ski pants in the car to the mountain, get your boots on in the parking and get to the lift. Piece of cake and you might even save some time!
Invest in Skiing Day Pack
With limited capacity in lodges and restaurants, this is the year to invest in a small day pack designed for skiing. Bring your lunch, snacks and extra gear on the hill to prevent trekking back to the lodge. Modern skiing day packs are very slim, don't have straps hanging off them (for chairlift safety) and allow you to easily load / unload chairlifts while wearing the pack.
Need a break? Ready to eat lunch? Need to warm up? Head back to the car and tailgate! I anticipate a many skiers will want to do this this winter and hopefully the mountains will allow it. Too cold? You can always hop in your vehicle to warm up. After skiing après beverage? Crack open the cooler (or thermos) in the parking lot! Ski areas with parking lots closer to the lifts (think mid-sized to smaller mountains) are ideal for this activity. But you could even pull it off at the larger ski areas. It will take a little planning to bring the equipment you need, but I am looking forward to the smells of multiple BBQs emanating from the ski parking lots! Hopefully ski areas in Maine will be accommodating to tailgates!
Invest in Good Cold Weather Gear
Are your feet often cold? It is going to be tougher this year to find a place inside to warm up. Take a good hard look at your ski gear. Modern battery powered heating technology in boots, socks and gloves will help keep you warmer on the hill. An investment in a good cold weather gear will go a long way to making your ski day more comfortable and avoid having to make multiple trips inside.
Consider a Season Pass
There is a psychological shift when you have a season pass. When you have a season pass to a resort, skiing a half a day becomes much more palatable. When you purchase a lift ticket, you may feel you have to ski “bell to bell” to get your money’s worth. A season pass gives you more flexibility to call it a day whenever you want to. Due to a variety of factors (COVID policies, lift lines, weather etc.) skiing a full day just might not make sense from time to time. A season pass will help you stay flexible in your skiing activities during this COVID ski season. It is possible that the larger ski areas may limit pass sales. In fact, Sugarloaf and Sunday River are taking pass sales off-line October 12. Check out our page for all the season pass links to the ski mountains in Maine.
Buy Day Lift Tickets Online
To avoid standing in ticket lines at the mountain consider purchasing your tickets ahead of time online. Most ski mountains have this capability, and the larger mountains in Maine will have kiosk access to pick up your tickets and head straight to the lift. Hopefully ski mountains will be creative in their lift ticket pricing to feature more incentive for off-peak pricing including half day or hourly tickets. And we suggest keeping the mountain lifts running later in the spring when daylight allows! We would buy a late afternoon ticket in March and April!
Ski Mid-Week & Non-Holiday Weekends
If you have flexibility in your schedule, this is the year to ski during off-peak periods. Capacity at day lodges and chair lifts will be restricted so skiing mid-week will help you avoid the weekend crowds. Also, instead of making multiple day trips to your favorite mountain this may be the year to save up your acorns and rent a condo for a few days. Skiing right from the condo front door to the lift has a lot of advantages, especially in this COVID year.
Try Something New Outside in Maine!
Not every day will be a good day to alpine ski. It will be too windy, too cold or you might just not have the time to get to your favorite ski area. There are lots of fun things to do outside. Cross country skiing, snow shoeing, ice skating, sledding or just taking a winter time walk are all fun and relatively inexpensive things to enjoy outside in Maine.
This year will be different, but with a little perseverance, patience and creativity, we can have fun in Maine and stay safe during this COVID time. Get outside and do it!