MARS HILL, Maine — When the second major snowstorm to hit Aroostook County last week was bringing more than ten inches of snow outside the home of Yvette St. Peter, the Caribou woman said she did not complain.
“I was just anxious for it to get over with so I could get out to the garage and start looking for my ski gear,” she said. “I was hoping that with those two storms so close together, that Bigrock might open early.”
St. Peter, who said she has been skiing with her family at Bigrock Mountain in Mars Hill for the past six years, will have her wish granted.
Between the two storms, mother nature dropped some 22 inches of snow on northern Maine during the first week of December, prompting Travis Kearney, general manager of Bigrock, to announce that the ski facility will open on Dec. 10. That is a week earlier than previously planned, and nine days earlier than last season.
“All of the trails are covered in natural snow this year, which is the first time that this has happened in years,” he said. “Usually, we can only open about 30 percent of the hill to the public, because we have to phase things in as they make snow. Those two huge storms we got really made a huge difference in the trail conditions, and our trail groomers have been out getting the trails ready for the skiers and snowboarders.”
Kearney said this was welcome news to both outdoor enthusiasts and Bigrock management.
“Last year was just a crazy bad winter for us and I think most ski areas in the state in general,” he said. “So this is getting us off on the right foot, I hope.”
Last winter was the warmest winter on record in the Caribou area, with an average temperature of 21.6 degrees for the months of December, January and February, according to the National Weather Service. The snowfall and snow depth also were significantly below-average because of the above-normal amount of rain and mixed precipitation during the same three-month stretch.
Because of that unusual weather, Kearney said, there was only about one week that Bigrock was able to have every trail open and skiable.