Time to ring in the New Year on the slopes

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As the year ends, the ski season is off to a great start in the higher mountains, but there’s a struggle due to weather in the southern mountains.

Snowmakers are watching temperatures closely to take advantage of any snowmaking opportunities to enhance conditions and open more terrain. All we can do is watch the weather and check the area web sites for updates to plan our ski days. Regardless of the weather and ski conditions, the New Year’s celebrations will go on as scheduled.

Some areas will offer fireworks Wednesday night and others will also feature dinners and parties. Details can be found at www.skmaine.com and clicking onto your favorite ski area. Some will have dinners requiring reservations so check this out before making plans. As always, New Year’s Day should be a good day to ski. Not everyone has the day off, and with late night celebrators slow to arrive and avid college football fans likely to leave early, the day is usually not crowded, especially coming mid week.

Of course, this weekend has some special events as well. The Ski Museum of Maine will have a display at Mt. Abram today showing some of the historic ski items from the Museum’s collection and Fireside Chats will relate some of the local history of the sport. There will be raffle tickets on sale as well as opportunities to join the museum.

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New Year’s Day features a special event for cross country skiers that will benefit the Ski Musuem of Maine. Carter’s Last Stand is an annual event at Carter’s Cross Country Ski Center on Intervale Road in Bethel. The Celebration of Nordic Skiing in Maine starts with registration at 9 a.m., a choice at 10 a.m. of a Snowshoe Tour with a Forester, a Nordic Uphill Climb to Farwell Mountain Lookout, a guided Nordic Tour along the Androscoggin River or a Kids Nordic Relay Race.

There will be a hearty buffet lunch at Carter’s Lodge, and at 1:30, a Nordic Skiing Fireside Chat, part of the museum series on Maine Skiing History. The whole day wraps up at 3 p.m., with the drawing of the Great Ski and Sport Shop Raffle mentioned above. First prize is a $500 gift certificate to the Kittery Trading Post, second $250 at Ski Depot and gift certificates to several other shops. Tickets can be purchased at the Ski Museum in Kingfield or from any member of the Museum board and right up until the drawing. Tickets can also be purchased on line at www.skimuseumofmaine.org. Other events planned at Mt. Abram in January include a Full Moon Hike Jan. 3, a two-for-one Ride and Ski Card day and après ski party the 17th and a community food drive on the 18th.

Another opportunity to learn more about the Museum and the Maine ski Hall of Fame will be at Sunday River, Saturday, Jan. 17. The first annual Skee Spree and Auction will be held at the Shipyard Brew Pub in the White Cap Base Lodge from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 on,

The month of January is always heavy with promotions. Over the years, ski areas recognizing the trend of temperatures to be low, have taken to offering incentives and some have grown into major happenings.

Not all of the events are on the calendars yet, but more will be added as the month of January progresses. So far Saddleabck has a $39 Maine Day set of next Sunday, a Friday Night Lights Rail Jam the 16th and a Family Fun Day on the 17th.

Shawnee Peak always has a full schedule of Apres Ski sessions in Blizzards Pub to go with their night skiing. Other events include a Red Cross Blood Drive next Sunday. Donate blood and get a free mid week lift ticket. Racing with the Moon begins the 7th, and a long list of events the rest of the month.

Evening and après ski at Sugarloaf takes place in a number of places in the village and on the access road with the most regular entertainment in the Widowmaker lounge in the Main base lodge. A bit ahead of the New Year, Seth Wescott will be signing autographs Tuesday at the Loaf. January events include Maine Family Sundays, Bud Light College Snowfest Week8, Children’s Festival Week, , and the Charity Summit. CVA students take time from studies to work with Maine Special Olympics.

SundayRiver has a full schedule with college week 1/5-1/9, the Red Bull Frozen Rush pro truck race, Children’s Festival Week, and Go50 week.

Many areas feature live music most weekends for après ski, but they are too numerous to list here.

Finally, it’s time for those resolutions.

I could make a long list if I simply do the things I didn’t do during the last year. The most important one is to do more next summer to get in shape for the ski season. It’s obviously too late for this season, so all I can do is ski more and hope to round into late-season form a bit earlier. How about you? Do you resolve to ski more? That’s my only one at this point. We’ll see how it works and worry about summer activities to be in better shape at the beginning of the next ski season. Happy New Year, and I’ll see you on the slopes.

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