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Carey Kish

Carey Kish of Mount Desert Island has been adventuring in the woods and mountains of Maine for, well, a long time. If there’s a trail—be it on dirt, rock, snow, water or pavement—he will find it, explore it, and write about it. Carey is a two-time Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, Registered Maine Guide, author of AMC’s Best Day Hikes Along the Maine Coast, editor of the AMC Maine Mountain Guide (10th ed.), and has written a hiking & camping column for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram since 2003. Follow his outdoor travels and musings here, and on Facebook/CareyKish. Let Carey know what you think at MaineOutdoors@aol.com.

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Posted: March 4, 2016

Sugarloaf: It’s where winter is at

Written by: Carey Kish

While this week’s storm showered the coast and much of the interior with rain, leaving things around these parts brown and gray and dull, winter was busy again up north. The Sugarloaf region picked up three to close to six inches of snow, heavy and wet and not the powdery stuff we’d like to have, but good base covering snow nonetheless. This skier was sure happy to see it, as were the Sugarloaf folks, who had this to say yesterday:

“Snow followed by mixed precipitation and rain seems to have been the trend for the last couple weeks, but as the Doppler Radar shows this storm moving into Canada, we’re left with 3-5 inches of new snow, and clearing skies. I’m trying to be cautious of my word choice here, but I think it’s safe to say that we’ve been spared this time around.

Although nothing compares to a blower powder day, the 5″ of snow that we picked up at higher elevations was a heavier, base building snow, that has allowed Ski Patrol to drop ropes on more than 30 trails! And, with snowmaking operations expected to resume tonight, you can expect softer snow, better conditions, and some great weather for the first weekend of March.”

No winter on the coast, no problem. Sugarloaf was winter! Carey Kish photo.

No winter on the coast, no problem. Sugarloaf was winter! Carey Kish photo.

So, ignore what you see in your yard and on the streets of southern and coastal Maine today. Winter’s still around, but it’s up in the mountains, and certainly at Sugarloaf, where the skiing is as good those great folks can make it, helped some by Old Man Winter’s offering this week. Go see and ski it for yourself!

This last storm dropped nearly six inches on the Loaf. Carey Kish photo.

This last storm dropped nearly six inches on the Loaf. Carey Kish photo.

BLUEBIRD BLUE, HALF IN THE BAG

I got up to Sugarloaf late Tuesday afternoon with just enough time to get in a handful of runs. Conditions were every bit “firm” as I’d heard in the base lodge. But it was a bluebird day, the view to the Bigelow Range was as beautiful as ever, and I was on the slopes with a big smile. All good.

Après ski in The Bag, I found “conditions” to be much softer than out on the hill, what with a cold Bally in hand and a bowl of popcorn going and some good conversation with skiers around me and John behind the bar. No complaints ever about being “half in the Bag.”

It was the Stratton Plaza Hotel in beautiful downtown Stratton for eats that evening, which featured a large one-topping pizza and a pitcher of beer for $16 for its dinnah special. No brainer there.

In The Bag for a Bally and popcorn apres ski. Carey Kish photo.

In The Bag for a Bally and popcorn apres ski. Carey Kish photo.

Comfortably ensconced in the Tranquility Lodge on the Flagstaff Lake on the north edge of town, the storm made its presence known, buffeting the old barn turned B&B all night. Morning arrived with big flakes, which all too soon turned to mixed precip.

The drive to the mountain mid-morning was a white knuckler, but I got in enough good runs in to make it worthwhile before the temps dropped and the snow started to set up.

An early happy hour in the Bag, then chow at the White Wolf (the turkey pot pie special was out of this world), then R&R at the Tranquility and it was lights out for this skier.

On my way home yesterday back to the land of no snow on the ground, it was a balmy 3F, but clear blue skies. Looked like a good day on the mountain, if cold and windy. Next time, soon enough.

The Loaf was looking good even before this last blanket of snow. Carey Kish photo.

The Loaf was looking good even before this last blanket of snow. Carey Kish photo.

Cruising on Tote. Carey Kish photo.

Cruising on Tote. Carey Kish photo.

Blue skies and the Bigelows. Carey Kish photo.

Blue skies and the Bigelows. Carey Kish photo.

The Tranquility Lodge in Stratton is a comfy and reasonably priced spot for a ski getaway. Carey Kish photo.

The Tranquility Lodge in Stratton is a comfy and reasonably priced spot for a ski getaway. Carey Kish photo.

The turkey pot pie at the White Wolf Inn in Stratton was awfully good. Carey Kish photo.

The turkey pot pie at the White Wolf Inn in Stratton was awfully good. Carey Kish photo.

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