When you think of skiing in the great state of Maine, it is likely that the first mountains that come to mind are Sunday River and Sugarloaf. However unbeknownest to most, the oldest ski area in Maine lies near the town of Bridgton.
81 year old Shawnee Peak is rich in history and provides an intimate, family-friendly skiing experience. The mountain is located approximately 45 miles from Portland and 20 miles from North Conway, NH. This local hill offers an entirely wholesome skiing experience without the hassle and attitude of the large, corporate-run, resort.
Upon stepping out of the parking lot and onto the snow, the community-oriented atmosphere is immediately apparent. It’s not uncommon to see the owners chatting with patrons in lift line about the forecast or their kid’s hockey team.
Shawnee Peak features a 1900′ summit and has a 1300′ foot vertical drop. The mountain offers 40 trails, six lifts, and 249 skiable acres. Night skiing is available six days a week including the popular Monday Night Madness. You can ski from 3:30 PM – 9 PM on 110-acres of well-lit terrain for just $20. This is a fantastic way to cure a nagging case of the Mondays without breaking the bank.
For a modest-sized mountain, Shawnee Peak offers some impressively steep terrain. From the main lodge, take the Summit Triple and ski Headwall and East Slope straight down towards the picturesque Moose Pond. To skiers right of the triple, you will find some stellar tree lines such as Dungeons and the East Glades. Take a gander to the northwest as you ride the lift and you will be greeted with views of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington, a particularly stunning view at sunset.
On looker’s left of the hill you will find the quieter East Lodge. Use the Sunnyside Triple to access some great steeper terrain such as Poachers Paradise and Tycoon. On a powder day, the upper liftline, ‘Cody’s Caper’ is a local’s favorite.
Shawnee Peak is a wonderful place to learn to ski. To looker’s right of the main lodge, you will find mellower, beginner-friendly, terrain accessed by the Pine Quad.
Shawnee Peak’s story dates back to 1935. The ski area was originally known as Pleasant Mountain named after the peak on which it is located. According to New England Ski History, local clubs began planning a ski trail on Pleasant Mountain in 1935. The original plan was a single 1.5-mile trail on the hill. Two years later, the town of Bridgton received a grant to further develop Pleasant Mountain. In 1938, a rope tow was installed to serve the lower mountain. Other improvements included in this project were cross-country skiing and a ski jump.
Improvements continued for years and Maine’s first T-bar was installed for the 1953-1954 season. In 1972-1973, Pleasant Mountain’s East Area open and featured more advanced terrain along with a new lodge. In 1988 the ski area was sold to the Shawnee Mountain Corporation who operated a hill in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania. Pleasant Mountain was renamed Shawnee Peak at the time of the acquisition.
In the early 1990s, the Shawnee Mountain Corp. divested some of its holdings including Shawnee Peak. In 1994, Chet Homer, of the Toms of Maine company, purchased Shawnee Peak. Geoffrey Homer, Chet’s son, now operates the mountain with his father.
- Vertical Drop: 1300′
- Skiable Acres: 249
- Trail Count: 40
- Lifts: 6
- Snowmaking Capacity: 98%
- Terrain Parks: 2
- Rentals: Yes
- Night Skiing: Yes
- Adult Lift Ticket Price: $72 Full Day, $62 Half Day, $35 Nights, $20 Monday Night Madness, $32 Sunday Afternoons
About The Ski Hill Shoutout:
Few of us have had the luxury of learning to ski at mega-resorts like Jackson Hole, Heavenly, or Stowe. Many skiers fall in love with this wonderful winter sport at a local, family-run, ski hill. What these mountains lack in pure acreage and bowl skiing, they make up for with a fun, intimate, vibe with an emphasis of getting families out on the hill. 2018 is a difficult time to run a small ski area and many local mountains are being forced to shut down. Here at Unofficial Networks, we recognize the enormous importance of these ski areas to families. Our Ski Hill Shoutout feature is a way to drive some well-deserved attention to these core, grassroots, hills and hopefully send some traffic their way. Long live the local hill.
Find out more here: Shawnee Peak