Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Caribou Intro and Downhill Ski Areas

Where we live

We have moved to the "Alaska of the Lower 48", Northern Maine! First, a bit about the area. Caribou is in the far northeast part of the state, in Aroostook County (known simply as "The County"), the largest county east of the Mississippi and about the size of Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. The population of the county is only about 70,000. Caribou and Presque Isle (about 20 minutes apart) have a combined population of about 17,000. This part of The County is a narrow strip of potato and broccoli fields surrounding by lots of woods. There are rolling hills, with the larger mountains about two hours away.

Caribou Climate...Click to Enlarge

Caribou actually averages quite a bit more snow (116") than where I came from (Anchorage: 70"). Although it can rain in the middle of winter in Caribou, it is unusual, and the Caribou area gets less mid-winter thaws than the rest of New England. Although the cross county skiing and snowmobiling in this part of the state is the best you can find anywhere, in this post I'll give a summary of the region's ski areas in the form of Google Earth eye candy!

Downhill Ski Areas within 90 Minutes
Quoggy Jo Ski Center, just 5 minutes from Presque Isle, but an extremely small hill
Lonesome Pine Trails, about 70 minutes away. A small hill.
Mont Farlagne, just across the border in Quebec and about 70 minutes away

Bigrock Ski Area, about 20 minutes from Presque Isle, where I have a season pass (just $200)

Downhill Ski Areas 2-4 Hours Away
(close enough for a day trip)
Crabbe Mountain, across the border in New Brunswick and about 2 hours away
Mont Comi, about 4 hours away and near the Gulf of St Lawrence
Tiny Mont Biencort, about 3 hours away in Quebec

Downhill Ski Areas 6-7 Hours Away in Quebec
(too far for a day trip, but a nice place for a getaway)
Le Relais
Mont Saint Anne
Le Massif
Mont Grand Fonds
Chic Chocs. Not a downhill ski area, but the best backcountry skiing anywhere in the East.

Another view of the Chic Chocs
There are several large ski areas in Western Maine 4-7 hours away, but I didn't include them in this post since pretty much everyone already knows about them.