Slide into winter at these outside exercise hubs

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Next time you and your family can’t decide whether to go sledding, skating, skiing or snowshoeing on a winter’s day, don’t worry.

You don’t have to choose. You can just head to a single winter fun spot like Pineland Farms in New Gloucester.

Established in the early 2000’s as a non-profit farm and recreation area, Pineland Farms has grown over the years into a winter activities destination offering free ice skating and sledding, groomed cross-country skiing, fat biking and snowshoeing trails (for a fee). and even disc golf. There’s also gear for rent, so it’s a great place to try something for the first time.

A major addition to Pineland’s winter recreation offering this year is that the outdoor recreation center has moved into the building formerly occupied by Pineland’s YMCA branch. So much more space to strap on the rental skis and snowshoes and take a break in the new cabin area where Y’s Pool used to be.

Here’s a slightly closer look at what Pineland has to offer for winter activities, followed by a few other places in Maine that the whole family could have fun. We’ve had a fairly snowless winter so far so call or check the websites before heading out to your favorite winter sports destinations.

The ice rink is free at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. Photo by Gretchen Layman

DOWN THE HILL, ACROSS THE POND

The beauty of sledding and ice skating at Pineland is that both are free. The rink is a 50 foot by 100 foot flooded area, lit at night and with a fire pit. However, you must bring your own skates. The lights are on until about 9pm daily. Warm up with hot chocolate at the Pineland Farms Welcome Center and Market.

The toboggan slope is located near Pineland Dairy and is kept smooth by the same grooming machines that power the ski and bike trails. Plastic tub slides can be rented for $5 per day or you can bring your own. The hill is open from dawn to dusk and people are asked to park in designated lots. You can find the ice rink, sled hill and other areas in Pineland by checking out the trail map at pinelandfarms.org.

The toboggan run is also free at Pineland Farms. Photo courtesy of Pineland Farms

BIKE, SKI, SHOE

Pineland Farms has 18 miles of groomed trails for cross country skiing, snowshoeing and fat tire biking. You can see where the trails lead by looking at the trail map mentioned above. Cross-country skiing costs $20 per day for adults, or $15 after 1 p.m., and rentals range from $14 to $24 depending on age and length of use. There are lessons too.

Snowshoeing costs $12 per day or $9 after 1 p.m., while biking costs $10 per day. Snowshoe rentals range from $6 to $14, while fat bikes (bikes with big tires) are $30 for two hours and $10 for each additional hour. Visit pinelandfarms.org for more information on skiing, snowshoeing and biking and check trail conditions with the daily trail report.

Supporters of free ski and snowshoe rentals will be available at several Maine state parks in the coming weeks. Photo courtesy of Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry

GOLF WITHOUT GREENS

Pineland has two disc golf courses and one of them – The Minuteman – is open year-round from dawn to dusk. It follows the basic structure of golf but with a frisbee. Each hole has a par – the number of throws it should take. You must complete each hole by landing your disc in a chain and metal disc catcher. The cost is $5 per lap or $8 all day, and you can rent a disc for $1. Visit pinelandfarms.org/recreation/summer/disc-golf for more information and a map of the course.

FAMILY NIGHT

The Lewiston Public Theater is hosting a “Play in the Snow” night at the Lost Valley in Auburn on January 21st. The ski area is open for families from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for skiing, snowboarding and tubing at a discount. The cost is $25 for skiing and snowboarding and $15 per hour for tubing. The money raised will be used for Public Theater productions as well as for educational and outreach programs. There will also be raffles and free hot chocolate. Advance tickets are recommended and can be purchased at thepublictheatre.org.

Tubing Hill is open at Seacoast Adventure in Windham. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

GREAT PARKS AND FREE GEAR

Maine’s state parks are great places to enjoy the outdoors in winter. Many offer cross-country skiing and snowshoeing trails, or just places for a scenic winter hike. There are parks that offer a mountain backdrop, like Bradbury Mountain State Park in Pownal. Some, like Camden Hills State Park or Wolfe’s Neck State Park in Freeport, are near the ocean. To find a park near you and see what it has to offer in the winter and for more information, go to Maine.gov and click on Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. You can search by region or activity, e.g. B. Cross-country skiing, dog sledding or snowshoeing.

Most parks have an admission fee ranging from $3 to $6 for Maine residents. But the State Bureau of Parks and Lands also has trailers with free ski and snowshoe gear for people to use. The trailer is on the road all winter. Currently, the trailers are scheduled to be held at Sebago Lake State Park on Saturday and Sunday, Wolfe’s Neck Woods State Park in Freeport and Camden Hills State Park on January 21 and 22, and Camden Hills State Park and Mount Blue State on January 28 Park in Weld stand and 29.

MORE HOSE

Seacoast Adventure in Windham also has a tubing hill, Friday evenings through Sunday, school holiday weeks and some other times. There is a carpet lift – a kind of conveyor belt for people – that takes you comfortably to the top. Tickets are $32 per person for a two hour session. A combo price of $48 gives you a regular tube and a children’s tube. You can also combine a tubing adventure with dinner at Deck House Tavern. Visit seacoastadventure.com for more information.

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