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Posted: January 6, 2017

2017 Can’t-miss winter events in Maine

Written by: Staff Reports

Mushing at Bridgton’s Winter Carnival, sledding down East End hill during the Snowman Adventure Race and taking to the chute at the U.S. National Toboggan Championships.

Nobody wants to succumb to unrestrained weather-related hostility each winter. And the other alternatives – psychotropic drug abuse and/or season-long hibernation – aren’t very appealing either.

But such are the options for folks who don’t prepare against the personality-altering effects of a New England winter.

The cold season can ice our spirits and bury our good natures under a half-ton of ash-colored slush. But we can break free from winter’s frigid clutches with a little help from a toboggan, an ice bar, and a few well-placed snowballs. The key is strategy. We need a wintry plan of attack. For, like the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of February shock therapy.” Here are a few options for staving off winter psychosis.

Also check out our list of Maine Winter Fairs & Festivals

Press Herald file photo

Full Moon Hike

Time TBD. Feb. 11, Mt. Abram, Greenwood. Free.
The appearance of the full moon means it’s time again for the uphill trek to Mt. Abram’s peak, where music and mountain revelry await. The 50-minute (give or take) climb will do wonders raising your body temperature, but if you’re still chilly when you reach the summit, take comfort in the warming hut at the top. Hang out, have a beverage, then ski, ride or hike your way down.

Always imagined yourself as a biathlete? Of course you have. Gabe Souza/Press Herald file photo

Always imagined yourself as a biathlete? Of course you have. Gabe Souza/Press Herald file photo

Liberal Cup Biathlon

Jan. 29, Hidden Valley Nature Center, 131 Egypt Road, Jefferson. $30.
Not a great cross-country skier? That’s okay! Never shot an air rifle? No problem! This annual biathlon is open to skiers and shooters of all levels – novice included. (There’s even gear you can borrow and you’ll go through a gun safety session before heading out). Categories for novice, intermediate and advanced skiers – and afterward enjoy beer and hot toddies. Advanced registration required this year and it’s likely to sell out so plan ahead!

Ice Bar at Brunswick Hotel & Tavern

5 to 10 p.m. Feb. 2 – 4. Inn at Brunswick Station, Brunswick, $16 in advance, $20 at the door.
There will be an ice bar and drink luge (but of course) plus live entertainment and food from the tavern (like pork potato skins and house pretzels with dipping sauce). Tickets:

6th Annual Ice Bar & Lounge

6 to 9 p.m. Feb. 4, The Chalet at St. Joseph’s College, 278 Whites Bridge Road, Standish. $25 in advance $30 day of.
If you’re not a student at St. Joseph’s College, their annual Ice Ball is a good reason to get on campus. The ball includes an ice bar (cash bar), fire pits and an indoor lounge to warm up and hang out. It’s open to the public, so long as you’re over 21. Fun attire encouraged and the event is open to alumni, friends and the local community. Register online at

U.S. National Toboggan Championships

Feb. 10 to 12., Camden Snow Bowl, 20 Barnestown Road, Camden. $60 two-person team, $90 three-person team, $120 four-person team, $120 experimental team.
Toboggan National Championships Competitors in the U.S. National Toboggan Championships will find out first hand what it’s like to rumble down the 400-foot-long chute and coast out onto a frozen pond. First-timers might focus on their costuming (a cape and a pair of underpants are a surefire hit) and hitting the finish line without losing knuckle flesh to the unforgiving wooden chute walls. Returning riders will want to go faster.

Press Herald file photo

Snowman Adventure Race

10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 25, Riverside Golf Course, 1158 Riverside St., Portland. $40 per adult team, $20 for parent-child duo,
The Snowman Adventure Race is a two-person relay combining running, biking and downhill sledding.

Get outside. Gordon Chibroski/Press Herald file photo

Get outside. Gordon Chibroski/Press Herald file photo

Great Maine Outdoor Weekend

Feb. 3-5, all over the state. Many events free.
The Great Maine Outdoor Weekend includes dozens upon dozens of events around the state and throughout the day and evening Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are winter hikes and owl watches, ice skating and film screenings, winter backpacking and snowshoe adventures (one year there was a snowshoe adventure that ended with a hotdog cookout. Here’s hoping that happens again). Bonus: Many of the events are free.

Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series

Feb. 12 and March 5, Bradbury Mountain State Park, Pownal. $20 in advance, $25 day of race.
You can let winter conquer you, or you can conquer winter with a cold-weather sprint up Bradbury Mountain. In snowshoes. The Bradbury Mountain Snowshoe Series includes three races over the course of the season, from a 3-mile race in Jan. and a 5-miler in March. And while running uphill is never easy, running uphill while wearing snowshoes is a winter feat that will prove winter is powerless over the likes of you. BYO snowshoes, although there are some available to borrow on a first come, first served basis. All races start at 11 a.m.

Flavors of Freeport Chef’s Signature Series and Ice Bar

Feb. 17 to 19. The Hilton Garden Inn, 5 Park St., Freeport. $25 to $45
Frosty beverages, ice sculptures, twinkling lights, snow machines and roaring fires. That’s how Freeport does an Ice Bar! On Friday night, enjoy cocktails in the courtyard and then head inside to dance to the funky tunes of Motor Booty Affair. On Saturday, the Ice Bar runs in conjunction with the Chef’s Signature Series event and there will be a DJ. Both events are part of the Flavors of Freeport Weekend. More on that and tickets:

Snow Day at Wells Reserve

Feb. 23 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. | Wells Reserve at Laudholm |
Free and open day of snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding with snowman making, hot cocoa and a bonfire to warm up by. Yep that’s right, it’s all free.


WinterKids Downhill 24

March 3. Sugarloaf, 5092 Access Rd, Carrabassett Valley.
Remember when you were a kid and you could spend hours repeatedly doing the same fun thing over and over and over ? It never got old. The Downhill 24 is kind of like that, except with skiing. Teams will compete to ski who can squeeze the most run in 24 hours (Let’s do it again! And again! And again!). The whole effort benefits WinterKids.

America’s Mattress Race

March 11, Shawnee Peak, 119 Mountain Road, Bridgton. $5 mattress fee plus lift ticket.
During the America’s Mattress Race, mattresses of all sizes will take to the mountain at Shawnee Peak. They’ll shirk their once-sedentary lifestyle for a chance to make like a toboggan and slide Shawnee’s Main Slope — with a few riders on top clutching the edges in high-speed fear. The fastest team wins a new king-sized mattress, and there’s also a prize for the most uniquely decorated mattress. Race starts at 1 p.m. Registration is from 9 a.m. to Noon.

Press Herald file photo


Hallmarks of Maine Maple Sunday. Press Herald file photos

Hallmarks of Maine Maple Sunday. Press Herald file photos

Maine Maple Sunday

March 26 | All over the state |
Over 80 sugarhouses and farms around the state will be open for Maine Maple Sunday. Most sugarhouses will offer free maple syrup samples and demonstrations on how pure Maine maple syrup is made. Many farms offer games, activities, treats, sugarbush tours, music, and so much more.

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