New England is a region of the United States that is famed for cold weather in the winter, so it shouldn’t be surprising that many Maine residents are into snow sports, with plenty of nearby ski resorts to Portland. Lobster season in the Pine Tree State winds down in December, which is around the time of year that skiers and snowboarders get geared up for shredding some powder.
About 40% of Maine’s population lives near Portland, so it only makes sense that there would be many outdoor recreations available. Due to the massive amount of snow that the state gets, be sure to check out the weather conditions before hitting the road. If you live further up north, consider these ski resorts near Bangor, Maine.
The average ski season in Maine is similar to the rest of the country with the majority of resorts operating from mid-November to mid-March. However, it’s smart to check each ski area’s website before booking a hotel and taking the time off work this winter.
Here are the 9 closest ski resorts near Portland, Maine in order of proximity:
Lost Valley Ski Resort – Auburn: 40 miles | 1 hour
Lost Valley Ski Resort has been open since 1961 and family-owned for three generations. While most Lost Valley visitors come for the downhill skiing, it also has the Maine Family Snow Tube Park and access to Nordic ski and snowshoe trails.
The resort is famous for being the state’s first ski area to have artificial snowmaking capabilities and one of the most prominent ski schools in Maine.
There are 45 skiable acres at Lost Valley Ski Resort, 100% of which have snowmaking capability and night skiing. Lost Valley has 15 runs in total that are pretty equally divided between skill levels. There are four lifts that service the mountain and with a base elevation of 255 feet and a summit elevation of 495 feet, riders can enjoy the small 240-foot vertical drop.
There are plenty of accommodations nearby for overnight stays that range between just 8 and 15 minutes away.
200 Lost Valley Rd, Auburn, ME 04210 (Map) | (207) 784-1561
Shawnee Peak Ski – Bridgton: 45 miles | 1.25 hours
Shawnee Peak Ski Area is Maine’s most extended operating ski area, providing the public with lots of winter fun for over 80 years. The resort has artificial snowmaking capabilities for 98% of its terrain, which comes in handy during those warmer years.
The resort has 239 skiable acres, 43 runs mostly aimed at intermediate riders, and a vertical drop is 1300 feet. Shawnee Peak is famous for its night skiing, where guests can zip down 110 illuminated acres during the evening hours. There are plenty of dining options to choose from both on and off-site, such as Blizzard’s Lodge and Donut Shack.
In addition to skiing at Shawnee Peak Ski Area, there are three terrain parks and seven glades. There is also a fantastic ski school program for children and private and group lessons for adults who wish to learn or advance their skills.
119 Mountain Rd, Bridgton, ME 04009 (Map) | (207) 647-8444
Mt. Abram Ski Area – Greenwood: 65 miles | 1.5 hours
About an hour and a half from Portland’s downtown is a cozy family-friendly ski resort that is well-loved by natives to the area. Mt. Abram Ski Area is a modest resort developed in 1960 by two locals and has been a highly visited ski area ever since its formal dedication on Christmas Eve that year.
Rocky and Bullwinkle fans will be pleased to hear that all of Mt. Abram’s 36 trails are named after the famous cartoon characters. The mountain is divided into two areas with the westside mostly consisting of beginner trails. The main mountain is where visitors will find a majority of the intermediate runs and advanced runs.
Mt. Abram Ski Area’s base elevation is 1,050 feet reaching a peak elevation of 2,250 feet and a vertical drop of 1,150 feet. Outdoor recreation is welcomed all year long on Mt. Abram, but during the winter, it has a lot to do for visitors of all ages. There is even a daycare center at Mt. Abram for kids aged six weeks to six years old whose parents’ need a little time on the slopes for themselves.
Accommodations for the Mt. Abram Ski Area are a few short miles away in the town of Bethel. There are hotels, motels, and rental properties available for options for overnight stays. For dining options, the Loose Boots Lounge & Westside Cafe are on the mountain, but there are many more also in Bethel.
308 Howe Hill Rd #3112, Greenwood, ME 04255 (Map) | (207) 875-5000
Sunday River Ski – Newry: 71 miles | 1.75 hours
Sunday River Ski Resort is one of Maine’s most significant places to hit the slopes, and it’s one of twelve locations part of the Boyne Resorts Group in North America.
The resort is made up of eight interconnected peaks and offers a variety of winter sports terrains for skiing, snowboarding, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, and even night skiing. Accommodations like the highly regarded Grand Summit Hotel provide easy and convenient access to the slopes, but there are also offsite places nearby to stay too.
Of the 870 skiable acres at Sunday River, 552 of them have snowmaking capability giving resort stayers an almost guaranteed fantastic ski experience. There are 135 runs that are very diverse across the board, with 30% for beginners, 36% for intermediates, 18% for advanced athletes, and 16% for the double diamond daredevils.
Sunday River’s base elevation is only 800 feet and goes up to its peak at 3,140 feet, which means it has an impressive vertical drop of 2,340 feet. On weekends and holidays, twilight skiing is offered on 140 acres of the terrain. There are also many great dining options both on and off the resort, as Bethel’s town is nearby and considered a top-notch ski town.
15 S Ridge Rd, Newry, ME 04261 (Map) | (800) 543-2754
Black Mountain – Rumford: 80 miles | 1.75 hours
The Black Mountain of Maine has the third tallest terrain in the state and is famous for being another fun and family-friendly resort. The ski area is a non-profit location that prides itself in providing affordable skiing for all ages, and snow tubing too.
Black Mountain is on 48 skiable acres with a vertical drop of 1,150 feet, a base elevation of 1,000 feet, and a summit elevation of 2,150 feet. There are 20 alpine ski runs on the property, 16 of which can be used for night skiing.
Half of the terrain is designed for intermediate riders, with the rest split between beginner and advanced runs, giving plenty of options for everyone. Black Mountain of Maine boasts snowmaking for 90% of the terrain, providing that extra layer of powder during weeks without much snowfall.
Some of the other features of Black Mountain include night skiing, two on-site eateries, and a snowsports school for newbies to skiing and snowboard in individual and group settings.
39 Glover Rd, Rumford, ME 04276 (Map) | (207) 364-8977
Camden Snow Bowl – Camden: 85 miles | 1.5 hours
A classic New England ski resort and home to the U.S. National Toboggan Championships, Camden Snow Bowl Ski Resort is a magical place where visitors can rush down the slopes with a view of the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s no secret that Camden Snow Bowl Ski Resort is a place for the expert athletes to go, as 61% of their 26 runs are rated as advanced trails. Camden Resort’s remaining terrain is classified as intermediate blue with a small percentage of green beginner runs.
Three lifts serve Camden Snow’s 100 acres of skiable terrain, with a base elevation that starts at a mere 150 feet and shoots up to 1,080 feet at the peak, giving the resort a vertical drop of 850 feet. While the natural snow days here are hit or miss, though there is snowmaking equipment for 50% of the terrain, guests rave about the ocean views during the open season.
Additionally, Camden offers lessons for people of all ages, snowshoeing, Nordic skiing, backcountry paths, a toboggan chute. There are numerous places to dine and stay in Camden and nearby towns of Rockport and Rockland.
20 Barnestown Rd, Camden, ME 04843 (Map) | (207) 236-3438
Sugarloaf – Carrabassett Valley: 133 miles | 2.5 hours
Located in western Maine, Sugarloaf Ski Resort is one of the state’s most popular ski resorts as well as the largest ski resort east of the Mississippi in regards to skiable terrain.
Sugarloaf Ski Resort has one of the state’s highest peaks at 4,237 feet, starting at a base of 1,417 feet and a continuous vertical drop of 2,820 feet. It is one of the most immense terrains in the east with 1,240 skiable acres, about half of which have snowmaking capability.
The longest run of their 162 trails is 3.5 miles long, making it an excellent workout for anyone who enjoys longer paths. 32% of the runs are designed for intermediates, 26% for advanced athletes, 22% for beginners, and 20% for expert level skiers and snowboarders. At Sugarloaf, the 13 lifts can bring up over 19,000 people per hour, making this an action-packed winter resort.
Sugarloaf is a well-established destination resort with a luxury on-site hotel and endless activities to do all year long. During winter, thousands of visitors come to enjoy the variety of snowsports, unforgettable ski trails, shopping, and dining.
Equipment rental and winter sports lessons are available at the resort and daycare program for parents to get some alone time on the slopes.
5092 Access Rd, Carrabassett Valley, ME 04947 (Map) | (207) 237-4201
Saddleback Mountain – Rangeley: 137 miles | 2.75 hours
Saddleback Mountain Ski Resort is known for its excellent quality snow, as this resort gets the most natural snowfall of all the major resorts. After spending nearly five years closed, Saddleback is pleased to reopen its doors in November 2020, welcoming guests and snowsports enthusiasts back to the mountain.
With its reopening comes many new upgrades, including an improved speed on their lifts, lodge expansions, and better snowmaking capability. Ski tickets and passes have been budgeted to become more affordable for people to get outdoors and enjoy the slopes during winter.
Saddleback Ski Resort is the third largest ski area in Maine, with five lifts, 66 runs, and 225 inches of snowfall each winter on average. The resort’s base starts at 2,120 feet and reaches a summit elevation of 4,120 feet, providing an impressive 2,000-foot vertical drop throughout the property.
Saddleback’s terrain is split between beginner, intermediate, and advanced runs with five lifts, including a T-bar, two grip doubles, and two grip quads.
976 Saddleback Mountain Rd, Rangeley, ME 04970 (Map) | (207) 864-5671
Big Squaw – Greenville Junction: 160 miles | 3 hours
Big Squaw Mountain Ski Area has been open since 1963 and is considered one of the best kept secrets for this part of the state. It is a non-profit ski area that welcomes riders of all skill levels and is proud of its classic New England trails that haven’t been altered much in the last six decades.
Big Squaw’s base elevation has 1,750 feet, a summit elevation of 3,200 feet, and a vertical drop of 660 feet. There are 33 runs at the ski resort with pretty equally divided skill terrain and serviced by its one lift.
While this may not be the biggest ski resort in Maine, it’s one that keeps locals and visitors to the area coming back for a peaceful day shredding powder. The lodge at the mountain as an excellent snack stand and grill for dining options, as well as a full-service equipment rental shop.
447 Ski Resort Rd, Greenville Junction, ME 04442 (Map) | (207) 695-2400
Those are the closest ski resorts to Portland, Maine. Have a fantastic time skiing The Pine Tree State!