The days are getting colder and before you know it, winter will be here.
With the end of fall sports and the semester drawing to a close, wouldn’t now be the best time to just sleep the days away? Then again, why sleep when you can take advantage of winter and all the activities that come with it. So, if you thought it was time to hibernate, think again. Time to shrug off that blanket, put on your ski-pants and get outside.
If ice skating isn’t quite your speed or you are looking for nostalgia, Maine offers a few dedicated tubing parks. Seacoast Snow Park opens Dec. 26. “It has some of the best tubing around,” said Nicole Hickey, a freshman computer science major. Automated lifts will drag you and your tube, back to the top of the mountain after each go. Oxford Plains, off Route 26 in Oxford, is also a much sought after choice for quality tubing hills. If you don’t mind sharing the road with skiers, the local lodges of Shawnee Peak and Cross-Country Ski Center in Oxford both have hills for tubing. Both have more affordable rates for tubing separate from ski rentals, so don’t worry about blowing too much pocket change.
Finally, the one thing that every winter visitor to Maine must try at least once is downhill skiing. For those who don’t mind a bit of a drive, Sugarloaf Mountain and Sunday River are Maine’s most famous skiing destinations. If you are willing to sacrifice a long drive and a chunk of change for an unbeatable mountain experience, those are the locations for you. In the immediate Portland-Gorham area, there are a number of excellent skiing mountains. Powderhouse Hill, near Dover and the New Hampshire border, is only about 45 minutes from Portland. “Shawnee Peak is an excellent ski destination” said Kayla Poor, an undeclared sophomore. A fair distance north, near Fryeburg, Shawnee is well worth the drive. If you’re more interested in cross-country, Cross-Country Ski Center, mentioned above, is not far from either campus–about an hour from Portland and Gorham–and would be well worth a look.
A relaxing winter activity, great for groups of friends or for meeting new people, ice skating is a perfect lazy-day sport. Gorham has a full-sized ice rink with free admission for students. However, for those who want to get a little break from campus life, there are other options.Twenty minutes down I-95 from Portland you’ll find the Biddeford Ice Arena hosts open skates Friday and Sunday. If you are heading up north, the Oxford Ice Rink lies just 10 minutes outside Oxford town square. If you’re looking to skate in Portland, the indoor Portland Ice Arena and the outdoor Deering Oaks Park are popular locations. Portland Ice is currently open, see their online schedule for times. If you’d rather skate outdoors, Deering Oaks will be open for skating as soon as the pond freezes over, around December.
By: Connor Hamilton