Ski Resorts in Maine
Maine skiing ranges from rugged snowfields at Sugarloaf to the best snowmaking and grooming in the East at Sunday River, but Maine is not known for its luxury. Hence the state slogan “the way life should be” not “the way life would be in the lap of luxury”.
- Far from major cities such as New York and Boston; over 6 hours and over 3 hours to Sunday River respectively
- Snowfall isn't as consistent as nearby Vermont
- Majority of ski resorts are much smaller than those in the West
- Fly into Portland International Jetport or Bangor International Airport which are major airports in Maine. Just note, most ski resorts in Maine are far away from these airports. There are closer regional airports such as Sugarloaf Regional Airport which is a short drive from Sugarloaf.
- Best way to resorts from Portland International Jetport or Bangor International Airport is by driving or taking the shuttle bus (where provided). The drive from Portland International Jetport to Sunday River takes 90 minutes. For Sugarloaf, the drive from Sugarloaf Regional to Sugarloaf is a quick 15 minutes or a longer 2 hours from Bangor International Airport. Maine is a far drive from major cities such as New York and Boston. The closest major ski resort, Sunday River, is over 6 hours drive from New York City and over 3 hours from Boston.
Sugarloaf is the largest single ski area in Maine and the second largest as well as one of the best in the East. It also has the biggest fan base due to snowfields, superb scenery and popular on-mountain restaurants for ski-in lunch and après ski at Shipyard Brewhaus and The Bag – with the best burgers in ski country.
You can rent a ski-in/ski-out condominium at Sugarloaf, or stay at the four-diamond Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel. Ask for the penthouse suite at Sugarloaf if you really want the best place to stay on the mountain. You’ll have your own private hot tub and great views of the slopes from your 3-bedroom private ski suite. Then you can really call yourself a Loafer… like the locals do. Otherwise, there's limited lodging near the ski resort.
Sunday River ski vacations are reliable because of the top-notch snowmaking, and the large skiable terrain at 332 ha including perfectly groomed trails, to glades and terrain parks. The skiing here is spread across eight interconnected peaks each offering something unique. Best of all, the fun doesn't stop when the sun goes down; all daytime lift tickets include night skiing until 8:00pm.
Lodging at Sunday River comes down to one of the two Grand hotels - The Grand Summit or the Jordan Grand Hotel and Spa are both right on the slopes with outdoor heated swimming pools and limited spa treatments, and in hotel dining and bars. While these hotels aren’t as “grand” as they sound, the on-mountain location is convenient with ski storage and valet service. Just a short drive from the slopes is a luxury ski house rental called Ski Esta at Sunday River. You will also find plenty of great après ski bars like the Matterhorn at Sunday River, and some top restaurants in the town of Bethel – one of the best in New England.
Saddleback is currently changing owners and is set to re-open in the future. The ski area in the Rangeley Lakes region, in the western part of Maine, is almost like a private country club – never crowded, high elevations, plenty of snow to go around. In recent years, Saddleback had received new ski lifts, snowmaking, new ski trails and extensive glades like Casablanca, and a beautiful base lodge perfect for a ski wedding. Visiting Saddleback, you can rent a condo or a ski townhouse right on the slopes (not fancy – remember this is Maine). The town of Rangeley is more popular for Maine snowmobiling than downhill sports. There are more trucks with snowmobile trailers than SUVs with ski racks on a winter weekend.
Maine is home to a whole bunch of diverse ski areas, all offering something different. From small family-friendly ski hills such as Black Mountain Maine and Hermon Mountain to slightly larger resorts including Mt Abram and Shawnee Peak to town-owned ski areas like Camden Snow Bowl and Powderhouse Hill, there are plenty to choose from.