Ride a dogsled, ski Acadia, skate in Portland, and more ideas for making this your best winter ever.
By Brian Kevin
Photo: Sean Carnell
In the Snow
1 Starter Kit
Winter adventure newbies can choose from two multisport crash courses with L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools. Hit the trail on skis or snowshoes during a weekend at Moosehead Lake, or throw dogsledding into the mix on a three-day trip to Flagstaff Lake. Both excursions are led by Maine guides and end with fireside cocoa back at the cabins. Feb. 8–10 and March 7–9. $525–$650. 888-552-3261. llbean.com
2 Battle Royale
On snowy days in Portland, the stone footbridge at Deering Oaks occasionally becomes the O.K. Corral of winter warfare, the locus of impromptu snowball fights that have been known to draw up to one hundred people. Facebook is often the catalyst, so search for pop-up public invites on days when the powder flies — or just show up with your balaclava at high noon. Deering Oaks, Portland.
3 Helpful Hypothermia
It isn’t winter in Maine until you’ve run half naked into the ocean. Sure, you can do this on your own, but why not raise money for Casco’s Camp Sunshine by doing it at the Freezin’ for a Reason Polar Dip at Portland’s East End Beach? Last year’s plunge drew more than one hundred maniacs and raised enough to send twelve kids to camp with their families. Feb 15. 12 p.m. Eastern Promenade, Portland. 207-655-3800. freezinforareason.com
4 Sleigh-er Tour
Bundle up for the World’s Greatest Sleigh Ride, a Maine tradition in its twenty-first year, with more than a dozen teams of draft horses making tracks through the woods and a postcard-perfect farmer’s field. The Curtis family’s homemade doughnuts are worth the price of admission alone. Lovebirds, take note: Though it’s a bit late for Valentine’s Day, this is a winter dating slamdunk. Feb. 16. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. $4 adults, $3 kids. Rte. 125 and Bowdoinham Rd., Lisbon Falls. 207-353-2200. pinetreesociety.org
5 Outdoor Soak
If you’ve ever wanted to swim laps in a Jacuzzi — or just spa it up with a couple dozen of your best pals — Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel has you covered, with a huge new outdoor hot tub that soaks up to thirty people. You’ll need a room reservation, though, as the $240,000 pool is only open to guests. Sugarloaf Resort, 5092 Access Rd., Carrabassett Valley. 207-237-4201. sugarloaf.com