Best Maine Ski Areas - 2019 Readers' Choice Awards

We had a tremendous response to the first Family Skiing in Maine Readers' Choice Awards. The number of votes cast exceeded our expectations. Thank you to everyone who voted! Without further adieu... here are the Best Maine Ski Areas as chosen by the readers of A Family Skiing in Maine.

Best Maine Ski Area for Families

The Winner - Black Mountain of Maine

Our fans have spoken! Black Mountain of Maine is the favorite family area as chosen by readers of a Family Skiing in Maine. With their awesome base lodge, great beginner terrain, fantastic blue cruisers and just a great community vibe, our readers agree that families love to ski Black Mountain.

Fun Family Fact - A cool family event happening at Black Mountain this winter is they are partnering with Gorham Bike & Ski and welcoming The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital's children, families & staff to the mountain for an entirely free day of fun. Stay tuned to the Black Mountain website for further details as they become available. 

Black Mountain is open Friday - Sunday along with winter holiday and school vacation periods. In fact, we think this video sums up pretty well what Black Mountain is all about.

We encourage you to give this Rumford, Maine mountain a visit this year! And bring the Family!

Honorable Mention

We would like to recognize Lost Valley in Auburn and Mt. Abram in Greenwood as honorable mention winners in the Best Maine Ski Area for Families category. These family-friendly ski areas received strong support from our readers.  Both Lost Valley and Mt. Abram do a great job providing opportunities to spend some quality time in the outdoors in Maine. Check them out with your family this winter! They are well worth the visit!

And you really can't go wrong visiting any Maine ski area with your family and build some memories. Get your family outside and enjoy all this great state has to offer!

Best Maine Ski Area for Overall Terrain

The Winner - Sugarloaf

Our readers chose Sugarloaf Mountain as the ski area in Maine with the best overall terrain… and A Family Skiing in Maine can’t disagree! This is our home mountain and it offers some of the best skiing in Maine for all ability levels.

From the Family Skiing in Maine “Old Man” - here are his favorite trails at Sugarloaf. (Click here for Sugarloaf trail map.)

Green square - A bit off the beaten track, but lower West Mountain is an awesome beginner area. From the mid-station on down the slope is gentle and the views scenic. For something more accessible from the base lodge you can’t beat Boardwalk off the Double Runner chair. The trail is very wide and great for new skiers to learn how to turn.

Blue square - Tote Road from the summit to the base lodge is an awesome three mile intermediate run. For a less crowded blue square run, try any of the blues off of Bullwinkles Lodge - Upper Scoot, Upper Windrow and Upper Glancer. You will often find the Old Man slashing up the side gnar on any of these trails.

Proper "Old Man Slashing" Technique
Black Diamond - Off the front face of the snow fields, Upper White Nitro to Powder Keg to Upper Boomauguer is an Old Man favorite. Much to the chagrin of the other Family Skiing in Maine members… lots of “old man slashing” goes on during this run. The snow doesn’t stand a chance!

Glades - Sugarloaf’s Brackett Basin is a glade playground where you can spend all day and not do the same run twice. But you will usually find the Old Man in Gondi Glade - a glade on the skiers right of the Upper Gondi trail. It usually holds great snow and has just the right pitch and tree spacing to generate some great Old Man slash turns.

And we must mention the backside snowfields. Only open a few days a year but if you are an expert skier or rider, the backside is well worth the visit! Congratulations to Sugarloaf for being named by the voters as the Best Maine Ski Resort for Overall Terrain.

When planning for your Sugarloaf ski day, use our Sugarloaf Snow Report page where you can find the latest weather, ski conditions and a link to a live webcam. 

Honorable Mention

Black Mountain of Maine came in a strong second in the overall terrain category as voted on by our readers. Black Mountain offers some great green and blue cruisers and the glade scene has really taken off. A volunteer group called the Angry Beavers do amazing work maintaining the glades and opening up new gladed terrain at Black. Also for cross country skiers there is a world-class nordic facility for winter fun and competition. When the snow is on you cannot go wrong at Black!

Best Maine Ski Area for Grooming & Snowmaking

The Winner - Sunday River

With over 2,000 snow guns, 80 miles of snowmaking pipe and 2,200 hydrant stations and a large fleet of groomers, it’s no wonder the Family Skiing in Maine readers chose Sunday River as the Best Ski Area in Maine for Grooming / Snowmaking.

Sunday River has made a big investment in their snowmaking capabilities to make sure they are consistently one of the first areas on the East Coast, and in the nation for that matter, to open each year. In fact, they were the first ski area in Maine to bring snow guns online into mountain operations. Sunday River has a great page on their website detailing their snowmaking history and current operational technology. For the 2019-20 season, Sunday River installed four new 500-horsepower pumps which will add another 10 percent of water capacity for snowmaking.

And the Sunday River grooming fleet & drivers are masters and turning a variety of snow conditions into groomed perfection. The Sunday River blog details a night in the life of a groomer driver at Sunday River. It is not as easy as one might think! Without snowmaking and groomers, skiing would often be a pretty miserable experience. Congratulations to the Sunday River operations crew for being named Best Maine Ski Resort for Grooming / Snowmaking.

Honorable Mention

Sugarloaf came in a strong second in the Grooming / Snowmaking category. Many times over the years, we have been amazed how the groomers and snowmakers at Sugarloaf can transform the snow after a niar (bad word spelled backwards) event into a very skiable product. Sugarloaf has a big focus on energy conservation and has an impressive fleet of low-energy HKD snowguns to go along with its armada of groomers to get the mountain in tip-top shape for their skiers and riders.

Hats off to all the on-mountain operations teams across all the Maine ski resorts! Thanks for working odd hours, braving the cold and providing a great on-mountain skiing product for your guests!

Best Maine Ski Area for Overall Value

The Winner - Black Mountain of Maine

As the home of the $25 Friday / $45 weekend lift ticket, Black Mountain in Rumford, Maine is our readers choice for the best overall ski value in Maine. Adult season passes are an approachable $450 and are discounted when purchased in the early fall. Rumford residents get discounts on passes, and seniors over 75 plus kids through 2nd grade ski free!

For those needing to rent equipment, you can rent a full day ski or snowboard package for $35 / half day for $25. And if you feel like a tubing day you can enjoy that for $15 with no tube rental fee! Nordic season passes are $150 with a day nordic pass at $15.

Additionally, the concessions are very affordable plus the Last Run Pub offers Happy Hour 4pm to 7pm each Friday with $2 off Stevie’s Famous Chicken Wings!

Historically, Black Mountain has also offered “ski free” events sponsored by local business. Stay tuned to the Black Mountain of Maine website to keep informed of any special events this season.

A great ski area at affordable prices. Black Mountain is our Readers' Choice for best overall value in Maine!

Honorable Mention

Mt. Abram in Greenwood, Maine came in a strong second in the voting. This ski areas offers one of the most competitive adult day lift tickets in Maine with a $29 non-holiday Thursday / Friday; Saturday $49 and Sunday $39 ticket. Additionally their Westside beginner area offers tickets from $10 - $30. And to let you in on an inside tip - the terrain on this mountain is sneaky good. If you are an expert skier, check out Rocky’s Run on a powder day. It is steep and deep! Mt. Abram is well worth the visit and won’t break the bank.

Maine Ski Area of the Year

The Winner - Black Mountain of Maine

As chosen by our readers, A Family Skiing in Maine is pleased to name Black Mountain of Maine as Maine Ski Area of the Year for the 2019-20 ski season.

Black Mountain received the highest overall vote total across the 4 categories of families, terrain, snowmaking / grooming and value (scroll up to see complete results)... taking home first place in the families and value categories.

Black Mountain has a long history in the Maine skiing scene. Black Mountain opened in its current location the early 1960's and had a ski jump facility, nordic and alpine trails. In the early 2000's Black received major capital support from the Maine Winter Sports Center. Through this partnership a fantastic base lodge was constructed and a new main triple chair was installed servicing a 1,380 foot vertical drop... which by the way is the third highest vertical drop for Maine lift serviced ski area.

In 2013, the Black Mountain was at a crossroads and facing closure. The Black Mountain community stepped up and raised an initial $125,000 to take over operating control of the mountain. Since then, this community has rallied around the mountain to keep it operating. Mountain and volunteer crews went to work expanding snowmaking, opening new trails and building a glade skiing system that is second to none. As a non-profit corporation, the Black Mountain mission statement says it best:

We are dedicated to re-establishing skiing as a lifestyle in the River Valley. We will provide a safe environment that is accessible, family orientated and devoted to making a difference in people’s lives.

This Rumford, Maine ski area offers something for everyone at very affordable prices. A true winter recreation gem in the western Maine mountains. Congratulations to Black Mountain of Maine and its fans!

Saddleback Sticker Drawing Winners

Congrats Katy & Michelle!
Many of the voters in our Readers' Choice Awards poll (scroll up to see the complete results) entered their email address to be placed into a drawing for a "vintage" Saddleback sticker. As many of you know, Saddleback is working towards a late December closing of a sale of the mountain to the Arctaris group. Nothing would make the Family Skiing in Maine crew happier than to have Saddleback listed on the Readers' Choice poll next ski season! Our fingers crossed for a successful closing and we send good vibes to all the parties involved getting this deal across the finish line. We wonder what the new Saddleback sticker will look like?

We are pleased to name our two winners of the Saddleback sticker drawing!

  • Katy from Bowdoinham, Maine
  • Michelle from Gray, Maine

Congratulations to our winners and your stickers are on the way! Thanks to everyone who voted and we appreciate the fantastic support of our Facebook fans and blog readers. See you on a ski slope in Maine!



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A Family Skiing in Maine: Best Maine Ski Areas - 2019 Readers' Choice Awards
Best Maine Ski Areas - 2019 Readers' Choice Awards
The results of our reader-ranked survey for Best Maine Ski Areas for Families, Terrain, Value and Grooming / Snowmaking at our skiing in Maine blog.
A Family Skiing in Maine
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