Maine sits in the most northeastern part of the US and is well known for being a winter sports hot spot. There are many skiing opportunities here, and the conditions can often be better than in other areas in New England.
Since I was a kid, I’ve been an avid skier and have had the chance to ski at many different resorts in North America. I’ve skied several resorts in Maine and have researched the best skiing destinations here.
This post will highlight all of the best ski resorts in Maine. I’ll break down what each location offers, what type of amenities are available, and what snow conditions can be expected. Whether you live in the area or want to visit, this is good information to know.
Let’s dive in.
- Resort Website
- Opening Day: November 22 (Average)
- Closing Day: May 1 (Average)
- Best Known For: Large resort, reliable snowfall, technical terrain
The best ski resort in Maine amongst most skiers here is Sugarloaf. This is one of the largest ski resorts in the Eastern US, with over 1,200 skiable acres across a variety of terrain. It’s a top destination for locals and visitors for the quality of skiing it offers.
Sugarloaf also sees reliable snowfall and averages over 200-inches of snow every year. That’s considerably more than some other popular resorts in the area and ensures that there will be plenty of coverage all season long.
The resort has a lot of technical terrain, making it ideal for experienced skiers who want a good challenge. You can find steeps, bumps, and trees all over the resort. There is also plenty of beginner and intermediate runs for people who just want to cruise.
Sugarloaf has a quality ski school where you can take a lesson, and rentals are readily available right at the base area. There are also a few great hotels nearby and plenty of rental homes available for your trip.
The biggest downside to this resort is that it’s far away from the major city centers in the region. You are looking at about a 4-hour drive from Montreal or Boston if you are flying into one of those airports.
2. Saddleback Mountain
- Resort Website
- Opening Day: December 4 (Average)
- Closing Day: April 20 (Average)
- Best Known For: Modern amenities, steeps, glades
Saddleback Mountain is another one of the top resorts in Maine. This destination is getting very popular again after it was closed for several years due to the need for updates and a change of ownership.
The renovations made Saddleback one of the most modern resorts in Maine, and this means speedy lifts and comfortable amenities all over the mountain. It’s quickly becoming a favorite for people who live in the state.
Saddleback is also well-known for having steep and technical terrain that experienced skiers will love. The resort has an entire side of the mountain filled with steep chutes, snow-filled glades, and other exceptional terrains.
There isn’t a huge lodge for skiers to stay at right at the base of the mountain, but there are plenty of rental homes and condos that make for an excellent way to spend a night or a week here. Many food options dot the slopes and surrounding area as well.
You can also take advantage of a quality ski school to get a lesson and improve your skills, and rentals are easy to find right at the base.
Saddleback Mountain can get pretty crowded, so you’ll want to make sure to book everything well ahead of time to make sure you can take advantage of everything this quality resort has to offer.
3. Sunday River
- Resort Website
- Opening Day: November 21 (Average)
- Closing Day: April 15 (Average)
- Best Known For: Family-friendly atmosphere, good snow, many different runs
Sunday River is probably the most family-friendly ski resort in Maine, making it an extremely popular destination for families who want to ski together and find fresh snow. It has a lot of easy groomed terrain for beginner skiers to take advantage of.
The resort itself consists of eight different mountains. While that sounds like a lot, 18 lifts make it easy to access all of the open terrain. You can ski nearly 900 acres of runs here, spanning a vertical drop of 2,340 feet.
There are several resort lodging properties to stay in when you visit Sunday River, and you can get a discount on lift tickets when you book a room. The resort staff is eager and happy to help you figure out the best place for the family to stay.
Being a family-focused location also means that the ski school is excellent here. Whether you are a complete beginner or just want someone to help you improve your on-snow skills, plenty of group and individual lessons are available.
The food at Sunday River is also worth mentioning because there are many dining options to take advantage of. It has some of the best food of any resort I’ve visited in the East. There are also many fun events the resort hosts throughout the winter months.
Even though Sunday River is stacked with amenities and very convenient, it is a little more expensive to ski here than other resorts in Maine. It’s not a very budget-friendly location.
4. Camden Snow Bowl
- Resort Website
- Opening Day: December 21 (Average)
- Closing Day: March 20 (Average)
- Best Known For: Variety of terrain, affordable, near several city centers, views of the Atlantic Ocean
If you want a more easily accessible Maine ski resort, Camden Snow Bowl is pretty close to several city centers. This makes it a good day trip skiing destination for people living around the Portland area.
Another fantastic feature of this resort is that you get to enjoy amazing views of the Atlantic Ocean when you’re at the top of the mountain. There aren’t too many locations in the world that offer this, so it’s well worth putting on your bucket list.
Camden Snow Bowl also has a good variety of terrain, offering something for just about every type of skier. There are about equal amounts of beginner, intermediate and advanced terrain to explore here.
There is a lodge, but it doesn’t have overnight accommodations, so you’ll need to find that somewhere else nearby. But there are equipment rentals and a ski school for lessons right at the base.
Camden Snow Bowl is pretty small, with only three lifts and nine trails. It’s not the most expansive resort in Maine, which can lead to crowds during busy times.
5. Shawnee Peak
- Resort Website
- Opening Day: December 15 (Average)
- Closing Day: April 1 (Average)
- Best Known For: Night skiing, beginner-friendly, close to city
Shawnee Peak is the oldest ski resort in Maine and has been hosting skiers for decades. It’s a small but well-known location that is easily accessible just over an hour outside of Portland.
The resort has excellent snowmaking coverage to allow for good skiing all season long and is a good place for beginners to learn or visit because of the not-too-technical terrain you can explore here.
Night skiing is also popular at Shawnee Peak, and the resort turns on the bright lights nearly every day of the season. If you want to have a more extended ski day or just try night skiing, it’s a good location to do it.
This is a small mountain with only about 250 acres of skiable terrain. Still, you can easily set up a group or private lesson and get rentals if you don’t own ski gear. There isn’t much technical terrain for expert skiers to enjoy, which is a bit of a bummer.
Additional Tips for Skiing in Maine
Being so far north, the winter days in Maine can be pretty short. If you want to take advantage of your ski days, be sure to arrive at the resorts early or make sure they have night skiing so you can keep at it after dark.
You’ll also want to budget time for driving, as many of the resorts here are several hours from the nearest airport or larger city. They are worth visiting but take a little more planning and preparation with that distance in mind.
Maine is a fun skiing destination with several excellent resorts to explore. The locations listed here offer the best skiing in the state and give skiers of all kinds good terrain, helpful lessons, and an overall solid experience.