Favorite Places in Maine: Camden Snow Bowl

Posted Jan. 26, 2011, at 6:52 p.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 12:29 p.m.
Tubers sail down the tubing hill at Camden Snow Bowl.
Courtesy of Camden Snow Bowl
Tubers sail down the tubing hill at Camden Snow Bowl.
A happy tuber sails down the tubing hill at Camden Snow Bowl.
Courtesy of Camden Snow Bowl
A happy tuber sails down the tubing hill at Camden Snow Bowl.
Courtesy of Camden Snow Bowl

I never made it to the third-grade ski trip. When I tried snowboarding last year, it felt a whole lot like climbing a mountain and then falling down a mountain. That said, Camden Snow Bowl, the municipally owned ski mountain, is my all-time favorite winter outdoor spot.

My Snow Bowl trip days usually start by throwing my chili recipe into the slow cooker before heading up Route 1 to the snowy hills.

There, after finding a parking spot on the ice rink of a parking lot, you can find me running to the small hut at the bottom of the tubing hill. For $5 a staff member will hand you a tube (after you sign a release form) and then begins the hike. There is no lift for tubers. We’re a fierce, determined group forced to hike the hill, then a tall set of stairs — tube in tow — before reaching the summit where two smooth lanes wait.

I often bring a friend to race down the hill. Camden Snow Bowl lets you sit in the tube or lie on your stomach. The face-first, belly-down position seems to be the most aerodynamic.

The hill is impressive. As a veteran tuber of other Maine mountains, I found the angle was steep and the runways were long enough to make it worth climbing the mountain. Plus, it’s fun to cheer on the kids who scream the entire way down the mountain.

The tubing hill costs $5 per person per hour and is open 9 a.m.-4 p.m. weekends, holidays and during February school vacation.

Tips: Don’t wear a hat. It will fall off. Do wear layers, as you will get warm climbing the tubing mountain. It isn’t uncommon for people to strip down to their T-shirts after their fifth or sixth hike.

How to get there:

Going south down Route 1, drive past downtown Camden. Right after the downtown area, before the Hannaford shopping center, turn right onto John Street. Signs will direct you from there down to Hosmer Pond Road, where the skiing and tubing hills sit next to the toboggan chute.

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