Snowstorm brings reduction to Maine’s winter outside recreation spots

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After weeks of no or limited snow, Friday’s storm finally allows some recreation centers to open for winter activities, including cross-country skiing and snowmobiling.

Matt Sabasteanski is Outdoor Recreation Director for Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. He says Pineland was only able to open its ski slopes for three days this season before Friday.

“We are open, not closed. So it’s really an exponential game changer,” says Sabasteanski. “You know, our season pass holders are such huge supporters of the Nordic center and it’s great to be able to give them the opportunity to use their skis.”

About 15 kilometers of trails were open as of Friday morning and Sabasteanski says snow groomers are working to open more trails. Since the ground was not frozen, the snow had to be packed in some places to prevent it from absorbing water.

Maine Snowmobile Association President Al Swett says the season is two months behind its typical start date.

“And now it’s finally snowing. Everything is beautiful again. The clubs will be out there doing their trail work and grooming and making everything nice and our reputation will be back online.”

He added: “We are a sport that relies on Mother Nature and we are big business. And when we fail, many small businesses fail. Because they need us to transfer them until the start of the summer season. But for now it’s phenomenal.”

According to Swett, the snow accumulation from this storm should be enough to keep trail conditions in good shape for the foreseeable future. But he warns that Maine’s lakes aren’t sufficiently frozen and people should avoid the ice.

Despite the snow, Swett says people should stay away from ice on Maine’s lakes because it’s not thick enough to be safe.