Carter’s XC Ski Center in Bethel, above, widened and flattened the Nordic trails this year to help the trail system hold snow better. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

Across the cross-country skiing community in Maine, more was done in the offseason this year for more effective snowmaking in warmer temperatures. After Maine Nordic centers, like many across the country, saw an increase in interest the past two years, they improved or added trails, facilities and events for the coming winter.

On the national scene, the four-year-old Indy Pass, previously only for Alpine areas, is welcoming select independent cross-country ski areas into its lineup. That means skiers who buy the pass get two free ski days and a discounted third day at a number of independent ski areas across the country. At the moment, Black Mountain of Maine is the only Nordic area in Maine participating, along with two resorts in New Hampshire and three in Vermont. 

“It’s really exciting to be included in the Alpine conversation. It brings credence to cross-country skiing that it’s not an obscure sport anymore that only endorphin junkies do,” said Reece Brown, director of the Cross Country Ski Areas Association in Vermont.

Other upgrades and new offerings at some of Maine’s busiest Nordic centers include the following: 

INLAND WOODS + TRAILS in the heart of Bethel purchased a utility vehicle with the help of a Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund grant, which means the nonprofit trail center will be able to groom faster and move “harvest” snow. With the plow on the utility vehicle, the trail crew can move snow to places on the trail system that may be spotty during warmer days.  


“It will help us keep a consistent trail, to get trails open and keep them open,” said Gabe Perkins, the Inland Woods + Trails executive director. 

Last season was another record year for the trail system as far as ticket sales, despite the season being two weeks shorter than the 2021 season, which also was a record year. Typically, Inland Woods + Trails stays open until April, but last year it closed in mid-March because of warm temperatures.

For the second year, the Bethel Nordic center will offer free season passes to every youth in the school district, a program that gave out 54 school season passes last year.

A skier enjoys the free Nordic trails offered at the Oxbow Brewing Company’s Oxbow Beer Garden in Oxford. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

CARTER’S XC SKI CENTER, also in Bethel, invested in an excavator to help the trail crew there widen and flatten trails so the 55-kilometer network can hold snow longer. 

They’ve also added two electric vehicle charging station to help skiers traveling from great distances charge up while they ski. And the food truck is expanding service, opening all day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. 

Owner Jes Carter said it’s clear the pandemic gave the ski center a boost because now the Nordic center’s three off-the-grid trail-side cabins are booked every weekend – which is a first. There are plans to open more next winter. 


“I’m already booking into 2024. It’s very exciting,” said Carter, who came home to run the family business at the outset of the pandemic. 

The annual Wooden Ski Day Celebration – this year slated for Jan. 22 – also has expanded after it drew crowds and skiers who showed up in retro ski gear last year. This year’s event – that gives free passes to all who show up with wooden skis – will have a live band.

“Last year, a man from Vermont came with a collection of wooden skis he let everyone try,” Carter said “I didn’t even know he was going to show up. He saw the event on Facebook.”

PINELAND FARMS in New Gloucester got an entirely new building this fall after the YMCA moved off the Pineland Farms campus and the Outdoors Center moved into the nearby building, filled in the swimming pool, and took over the much-larger space on Nov. 1. The Nordic center’s name also changed to the Outdoor & Fitness Center at Pineland Farms. 

Now, Nordic skiers will have ample room to sit and boot up. There is significantly more room in the rental and retail shop. There’s a locker room, and the new site even has a bowling alley.

“There is now enough space in the building so there won’t be lines out the door on cold days,” said Matt Sabasteanski, the outdoor center’s director. 


The ski area is keeping the igloo shacks that it rolled out during the pandemic to provide safe lunch spots, but scaling back trailside food service. There’s not much need with the Pineland Farms Market – a favorite lunch spot among skiers – that now will be just a half kilometer ski away from the new Nordic lodge.

A Nordic skier glides along the trails at Quarry Road Trails in Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

QUARRY ROAD TRAILS in Waterville introduced a learn-to-Alpine-ski program last year with a rope tow, and the nonprofit expects more skiers in that program this year.

In addition, a new electric air compressor will save on fuel and emissions (without using diesel), and allow the volunteer snowmakers to make snow at slightly warmer temperatures, said Jeff Tucker, Quarry Road Trails’ new program director.

“It should help us make snow more efficiently at slightly warmer temperatures. It will help us take advantage of snowmaking windows with temperature,” Tucker said. “We have traditionally been able to open earlier than other Nordic centers because of snowmaking. Having a good snowmaking base always helps with events and competitions.”

This year, the welcome center in the large yurt will be open for visitors to come inside, as it did before the pandemic. And the first community ski race is scheduled for Dec. 4 – with a new sit-ski division.

As in past years, Quarry Roads will offer community free ski days, with the first one scheduled on Jan. 7. Check the website for future dates. 

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