Head East Young Man

This week’s eastern snowfall favored Shawnee Peak, just over the border in Bridgton, ME

While Friday’s snowstorm brought some snow to the larger mountain resorts of Mount Washington Valley, heavier snowfall graced the hills east of town and towards the coast. This made Shawnee Peak a great choice for skiing this weekend, as they received 6 inches of the white stuff Friday.  We hopped in the SUV and headed east on Route 302 for the short drive to Bridgton, ME.

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The day marked the first time in a long time since visiting the historic resort, which opened close to 80 years ago. Known for its night skiing, my last two trips to Shawnee were in the evening, so it was a nice change of pace to see the place in daylight. It also opened up many trails I had never had the pleasure of experiencing.

Our favorite runs of the day (and the ones with the most packed powder, no coincidence) were on the eastern slopes of the mountain. Fewer crowds meant morning corduroy lasted longer into the afternoon and soft turning conditions run after run. Considering last Wednesday brought warm temps and rain, Shawnee’s grooming and snowmaking team deserve kudos for restoring snow surfaces so quickly. And the 6 inches of powder Friday didn’t hurt either.

Shawnee is a skier’s mountain, meaning the layout and fall lines are thoughtfully put together and its orientation to the sun and the surrounding bodies of water make for a wonderful experience. Sunday brought blue bird skies and brilliant views to the Presidentials to the west. And it’s always thrilling to ski down a mountain that sits lakeside. Views to Moose Pond and Kezar Lake, among many others in Maine’s Lakes Region, are resplendent from Shawnee.  With its warm sunny exposure and water frontage, no wonder its original founders called it Pleasant Mountain.

Shawnee caters to families and rug rats were plentiful.  They also nod to the twin tip and snowboard crowd with a well developed terrain park.

As one of the last independents, less slick and less developed than its counterparts to the west and north, Shawnee has an old school feel that is welcoming. I stopped for pizza and hot cocoa and the total, with tax, was about $5 – an unlikely figure at many ski areas nowadays. What it lacks in 6-pack lifts and high speed quads, it makes up in value and a cheery “Mom and Pop” vibe.

With February vacation week coming up, try something new and give Shawnee Peak a try, day or night. It’s a short drive from the Valley, but a friendly and less frenzied experience than larger resorts. Find them online at shawneepeak.com

 

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