|Up in Aroostook County, Maine, winter arrives early and stays late. It's good to have something to do here in the state's largest county (larger than the rest of New England combined, in fact) and despite the popularity of snowmobiling here - almost everyone's second car is a snowmobile - it's best to have another choice. The sport of alpine skiing is certainly not unknown here; Big Rock was established in 1960. But it declined in popularity over the years as prices rose, making it more difficult for families to enjoy a day's outing. In a bid to change that the Maine Winter Sports Center (MWSC), through grants made available by the Portland-based Libra Foundation, purchased Big Rock in 2000 and has made steady improvements to it since.|
MWSC cleared and reconditioned trails, refurbished the lifts (a triple, a double, and a Poma), beefed up snowmaking (it now covers 65% of the terrain), and purchased new grooming equipment. More recently it added new terrain, cross-country and snowshoe trails, increased night lighting, expanded the lodge to improve food service and add a new rental shop, and added telemark instruction to the ski school programs.
All the enhancements are backed up by a rather steep and challenging small mountain with nearly 1000 feet of vertical. Sixty percent of the trails are rated intermediate, and they all have a consistent pitch. Beginners and the advanced enjoy the other 40% of trails which are evenly split between them. And while beginners can relax and learn on the Bunny Trail, served by its own handle tow, more advanced skiers and riders will soon find out the black diamond trails are steep and sometimes narrow - Galaxy and Ho Chi Minh are two good examples - and demand one's attention.
Down at the base lodge the Big Rock Café serves up hot and cold food and beverages and features daily specials. The rental shop, staffed by certified technicians, also rents cross-country gear and snowshoes. The cross-country trail network is about 10 km total length, the snowshoe trail just under three (but with a vertical climb of more than 500'). MWSC also maintains a network of cross-country centers throughout Aroostook County, with hundreds of kilometers of maintained trails, lodges, and backcountry warming huts.
Big Rock is open Wednesday through Sunday, holidays and school vacations. Wednesday through Friday the lifts run until 9:00 p.m., a good idea since Mars Hill is well north of the 45th parallel and winter days are short indeed.
|Snow Conditions (updated)04/13/2013, 10:27am |
|Operating Status: Open for Summer Fun |
|Past 24 hours: ||Pst 48 hours: ||Snow Totals: |
|0" ||0" ||0 " |
Past 72 Hrs
| Surface Condition: ||Base Depth: ||Roads: |
| || " - " || |
|Open Terrain: |
|Trails: ||Lifts: ||Acres Open: |
|0 of 35 ||0 of 3 || |
|Percent: ||Grooming: ||Snowmaking: |
|% || |
|Sky Condition: ||Noon Base Temp: ||Noon Top Temp: |
| ||°f ||°f |
|Night Skiing and Tubing: ||Night Skiing: ||Night Skiing Trails: ||Night Skiing Lifts: |
| || || |
|Tubing Available: ||Tubing Hours: ||# Tubing Lanes: |
| || || |
|Terrain Park/Halfpipe: |
|Park Available: ||Location: ||# Features Open: |
| || |
|Pipe Available: ||Halfpipe Location: ||Halfpipe Last Cut: |
| || || |
|Cross Country Skiing: |
|XC Available: ||XC KM: ||XC Skating KM: |
| || || |