Camden Snow Bowl Ski Getaways

ski getaways

Many alpine resorts are justifiably proud of their mountain vistas and make a point of highlighting the views in their brochures. The Camden Snow Bowl can't claim it offers views of big mountains. But it offers spectacular scenery nonetheless.

From the summit of 1300' Ragged Mountain, home to the Snow Bowl's trails, skiers and riders look upon the vast expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. Nestled at their feet is the town of Camden, which the word picturesque, although much overused, describes perfectly. Beyond the town's snug harbor Penobscot Bay fades into the Gulf of Maine. The islands that line the horizon include Deer Isle, North Haven, and part of Vinalhaven. It's a view quite unlike any other in the east, and once you've seen it you won't mind that it doesn't include high alpine peaks. That's not to say that the surrounding countryside is flat; far from it. And neither is the Snow Bowl's terrain. While two green circle trails are on the map - Coaster and Lower Spinnaker - most of the terrain is solidly blue square and cut New England-style. In other words, trails flow down the mountain naturally and aren't overly wide.

The Snow Bowl got its start back in 1936 and has been a largely volunteer run operation, with a minor break, ever since. The first lift was erected in 1958 and in 1991 the now-famous toboggan chute was constructed. Site of the National Toboggan Championships but available to the public when the ice on Hosmer Pond, the chute's runout, is safe, it's a thrilling diversion to a day's visit. Ice skating, a network of cross-country trails, tubing, and a terrain park also provide alternative winter fun.

Three lifts serve 950' of vertical. A short T-bar, a long (4088', or 3/4 of a mile) T-bar, and a double chair get you up; 10 trails get you down. The longer of the two T-bars serves the summit runs. All trails lead back to a comfortable A-frame base lodge where you'll find all services, a retail store with a full shop, rentals, and first aid. The Snow Bowl has an active racing program, a ski school, and a fully-qualified Ski Patrol. Coastal Maine sees its share of big winter storms, but snowmaking was installed some years ago to ensure a more reliable product, and most trails are groomed daily. The Snow Bowl offers evening or night skiing and riding several times a week except for holidays (when it operates during the day only) and is closed on Mondays except for holidays and school vacations.