Black Mountain schedules first hill climb of season for Dec. 13

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RUMFORD — With the opening day of Black Mountain of Maine’s ski season fast approaching, the resort is kicking off the 2014-15 season with a Snowmobile Hill Climb at 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the ski lodge.

General Manager Jim Carter said the format will be basically the same as last year.

“The lodge is going to be open at 11 a.m. for registration, and the hill climb itself will begin at 1 p.m.,” he said.

Preregistration is $15 on online, over the phone or at the lodge. Registration is $20 the day of the race.

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Carter said grudge matches — where snowmobile riders have the chance to race head-to-head with their friends or other riders for a $5 fee — will take place after the 1 p.m. main event.

“The grudge matches are definitely one of the more popular elements of the snowmobile hill climb,” Carter said.

Although Black Mountain doesn’t officially open until the end of December, Carter said snowmaking is “actually ahead of where we were last year around this time.

“As a matter of fact, we have more snow right now than we did last year before we opened,” he said. “The main trail, or the trail we’re using for the snowmobile hill climb, is basically done. In another day or two, we should be finished, and then we’ll shift our focus over to the novice area.”

Carter said he believes the ski season this year will be better than last year.

“Right now, our mountain forecast is that it’s going to be colder for a longer period of time,” he said. “Even if the weather gets a bit warmer, it doesn’t hurt us, because we keep piles of snow to the side until we’re ready to open and spread the snow over the trail. If it gets warm, we don’t lose as much snow as we would if we pushed the snow into a 10- or 12-inch layer.”

He said Black Mountain a second snowmobile hill climb is scheduled Friday, Jan. 23.

For more information or to preregister for the race, call 364-8977.

mdaigle@sunjournal.com

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