Maine Areas Thrive Despite Thaw-Freeze Cycle

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SAM Magazine--Portland, Maine, Jan. 15, 2004--Maine ski areas have taken advantage of New England's subzero freeze to make snow ahead of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. "The Maine ski industry has been able to make snow during every single day in 2004," said Greg Sweetser, executive director of Ski Maine. All areas are opening new terrain for the upcoming three-day weekend.

"We have been able to resurface all open terrain and open the remainder of nearly all of our snowmaking trails. We will have more than 110 trails open for the holiday weekend," reported Susan Duplessis, director of communications at Sunday River.

Sugarloaf/USA is open to the summit, providing 2,820 vertical feet of skiing. "Trails are opening in record time because of the cold temperatures," said Bill Swain, communication manager.

Shawnee Peak and Mt. Abram made enough snow to cover all their snowmaking terrain, and gave their snowmaking crews some time off.

"With the temperatures expected to reach the 20s during the weekend, skiers and snowboarders will enjoy some of the finest snow and weather conditions of the season," Sweetser said.

Maine's ski mountains reeled in impressive visitor numbers during the 2003 holiday vacation period. More than six feet of natural snow fell prior to the holidays and helped spur demand. And despite flooding rains for some areas, many ended up with a net gain in snow coverage by the holidays' end. Several areas reported increases in ski and snowboard rentals and learn-to lessons. The early snow also helped Mt. Abram pre-sell lots in a ski in/ski out log home development. \