Carie Amoroso, left, and Tammie Willoughby lead the way in the Mt Apatite snowshoe hike on Saturday morning in Auburn. The hike was organized by the Friends of Mt Apatite as part of Auburn’s Winterfest. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

AUBURN – A record number of skiers and snowboarders turned out to Lost Valley on Friday and Saturday for Auburn’s 20th annual Winterfest, according to General Manager John Herrick.

Herrick said that all of Lost Valley’s parking lots were filled up on Friday night, with cars parked along Lost Valley Road all the way to Young’s Corner Road.

“We were mobbed here on Friday,” Herrick said Saturday evening. “On Friday night, there were so many people packed into the lodge that you couldn’t move.”

Business was still booming at Lost Valley on Saturday, Herrick said, despite weather that was a bit warmer than usual.

“I’m hearing from skiers and snowboarders that the snow is really nice right now, even though it was a little warm,” Herrick said. “It’d be nice if we could get Mother Nature to bring some snow, but everyone is having a good time.”

Brent Luchies of Woolwich and his 6-year old daughter, Willa, both agreed with Herrick’s assessment.

“It was better than I expected, considering how dreary it was outside,” Luchies said.

The second day of Winterfest featured several events across Auburn, including a free snowshoe hike at Mt. Apatite, a screening of the film “Abominable,” and back-to-back Twin City Thunder hockey games at the Norway Savings Bank Arena.

Carie Amoroso was one of 26 people who showed up for the 2.5 mile loop on Mt. Apatite and described the conditions as “fabulous.”

“Everyone had a great time getting to know each other and it was a very friendly and inviting group of people that were happy to be outdoors and enjoy winter the best they can,” Amoroso said.

Herrick said that on Saturday, one of the popular Winterfest events at Lost Valley was the beginner and advanced Fat Bike group rides with the American Lung Association’s Trek Across Maine group.

Neal Coughlin, who led the advanced group, said that the riders were “all smiles” after the ride was over.

Coughlin, who has been riding fat bikes for several years, said that while he is normally competitive when it comes to fat biking, he enjoyed showing new and amateur fat bikers the ropes.

“I was looking at their tires and letting them know if they were too hard or if they were too soft for the conditions,” Coughlin said. “As we’d ride, I’d talk with some of the bikers about their experiences with fat bikes and would give them some tips and tricks for getting through tough spots.”

He added that Dan Bilodeau of Auburn was responsible for leading the beginner bikers.

“Everyone had a good time and rode well,” Coughlin said.

Winterfest continues on Sunday with a 9 a.m. duathlon at Lost Valley hosted by Baxter Outdoors and family sledding, skating and snowshoeing at Sherwood Heights Elementary School.

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Dylan Larose and son, Ossian Fletcher-Larose take their time show shoeing during the Auburn Winterfest snowshoe hike on Saturday morning. The two were enjoying traditional wooden and rawhide snowshoes. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

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