You didn’t think we were done with snow this winter, did you? Maine is forecast to get hit with up to 20 inches of snow on Thursday, with the possibility of more storms to come. Before you despair over the lack of warm weather, use this opportunity to take part in some of Maine’s favorite winter pastimes before they’re gone for the year.
1. Stop complaining about the weather!
When you live in Maine, snowstorms are inevitable. Yet, with each storm there seems to be a part of the population that acts as though the world is about to end. Avoid the mad rush at the grocery store by stocking up on bread, soup and bottled water days in advance. And while any real Mainer should know how to drive in the snow, the smartest ones know to stay home and listen to this catchy jingle instead.
2. Shovel your sidewalk
Whether you live in Bangor or Portland, no one wants to make walking through snowbanks part of their daily commute. If there’s a sidewalk adjacent to your property, do everyone a favor and grab a shovel and clear it off. And if contributing to the greater good isn’t enough motivation, in some cities, it’s the law.
3. Make ice cream
If you’ve got an ice cream craving but the roads are a mess, make your own! This easy recipe includes ingredients you probably already have in your pantry; just make sure that the snow you use isn’t already yellow.
4. Build a snow shelter
This isn’t your average snowfort. A quinzhee is a sophisticated snow shelter capable of keeping its occupants warm (or, at least, comfortable) even when they spend the night in subzero weather. Start with a snowpile 8 feet high and 20 feet wide in the shape of a dome. Then, grab a bunch of sticks and stick them about a foot into the snow pile; that will help you gauge how deep to dig on the inside. Start digging a small tunnel for an entrance, and then clear out the interior of the structure until you start to hit the other end of the sticks. Don’t forget a sleeping bag!
5. Enjoy the fresh pow
It’s been a while since Maine’s last snowstorm, so take advantage of the fresh pow by hitting up your favorite mountain. Because when it doesn’t snow, the mountains have to make snow, and it’s a grueling job.
6. Take a hike
If you’ve only ascended Maine’s mountains during the summer months, you’re missing out. Not only are the trails free of mosquitoes, black flies and tourists, but hiking in cold weather actually burns more calories. Some tried-and-true routes from BDN Outdoors reporter Aislinn Sarnacki include the North Penjajawoc Forest in Bangor, Young Tunk Mountain in Cherryfield, Frye Mountain in Montville and Blueberry Ledges Trail in Baxter State Park. For a full map of reviewed hikes, click here, and don’t forget to read Aislinn’s tips for winter hiking.
7. Dust off your snowshoes
There haven’t been many days this winter where the snow was deep enough to snowshoe, so enjoy it while you can. Strap on some snowshoes to help you stay afloat in the snow, and get your blood pumping by tackling one of these five challenging snowshoe routes.
8. Ride fat bikes
You needn’t wait for the snow to melt to break out your bike. Join the growing community of fat bikers, and pedal your way through snow-covered trails throughout Maine. Those looking to get into fat biking can simply look to their local NEMBA chapter, of which there are six in Maine: Bethel Area, Carrabassett Region, Central Maine, Greater Portland, Midcoast Maine and Penobscot Region.
9. Rev your engine
10. Enjoy a night under the stars
Winter in Maine can be brutal, but it can also be beautiful. Enjoy the final weeks of winter by pitching a tent in the snow and savoring the silence, watching the stars and spending the night curled up in a sleeping bag.