After a summer spent paddling a cumbersome aluminum kayak through northern Canada, two college students founded Lincoln Canoe & Kayak in an effort to design a lighter, more ergonomic vessel. Although ownership has switched hands since the brand's inception in 1959, the company continues to craft lightweight canoes and kayaks from fiberglass, Kevlar, carbon fiber, or feathers dipped in water repellent. From their retail shop, they also corral new and experienced kayakers into tour and expedition groups that explore Casco Bay, Deer Isle, and Muscongus Bay. Knowledgeable guides lead paddlers to discover Maine’s myriad waterways, where no river, inlet, pond, or kiddie pool is off-limits.
Lost Valley Ski Area founder Otto Wallingford was known for creating innovative solutions to everyday problems. Winter came around each year and left him with nothing to do on the family orchard, so he turned the surrounding area into a ski center in 1961. With that problem solved, Wallingford moved on to tackle a few other issues. He put together the state's first snowmaking system, introduced the locals to night skiing, and developed a powder maker by towing a cylindrical steel grate behind his tractor.
Skiers and snowboarders can reap the benefits of Wallingford’s efforts at Lost Valley Ski Area, which encompasses 15 trails and a terrain park. The ski area also hosts lessons and a shop offering gear tuneups and yeti decoys.
A network of 40 trails, including and six gladed trails, cut through the 249 acres at Shawnee Peak, which offers 98% snowmaking coverage. Slopes range from beginners to experts-only, with names such as Fat and Happy, Poacher's Paradise, and The Vain. The mountain also features three terrain parks—one of which is designed for children—brimming with air-bestowing features such as box jumps and the newly added BigAirBag. The five lifts that service these slopes run late into the evening for night skiing, which keeps 19 trails open and sometimes culminates in moon-lit ski races and whispered discussions about which famed 1924 skier is haunting the bathroom.
A more than 75-year-old ski school prepares visitors of all ages to tackle the mountain's slopes, while day-care providers watch over future skiers. In classes suited to adventurers as young as four years old, professionally trained instructors guide small groups of skiers and riders through basic to advanced techniques of skiing and snowboarding. Throughout each season, the resort hosts a variety of activities and events.
At Sunday River, winter-sport enthusiasts perambulate powdered peaks in the northeast's second-biggest ski resort. A three-hour drive from Boston, Sunday River lures in Bostonians and far-crying New Englanders every winter with its remote beauty, sprawling Maine vistas, uncrowded slopes, and variety of lodging options. Impress highbrow hawk art-critics by carving land art murals into 671 acres of manicured trails, steep slopes, and scenic glades. The 3-mile resort boasts 132 trails, 16 lifts (including New England's only Chondola), and eight mountains. Locke Mountain is tattooed with tried-and-true trails whose earliest runs were cut in the 1950s. White Cap dares danger-wranglers with challenging runs, steeps, and glades and has more pitch variation than a Neil Young B-side. Sunday River's password-protected peaks attract aspiring adventurers and serenity-seekers alike.
Nestled into an idyllic New England landscape, the Camden Snow Bowl's tubing hills, cross-country trails, and challenging mountain slopes entertain winter warriors of all ages and skill levels. Tracing its history back to lively community winter fests in the ‘30s, the Snow Bowl's rugged hillsides, glassy ponds, and primeval pine forests have entertained thousands of rosy-cheeked visitors over the years. If visitors make it 1,300 feet up Ragged Mountain, they’ll also be rewarded with a view of the Atlantic Ocean.
Today, the Ragged Mountain Recreation Foundation ensures that sustainable development practices help future generations enjoy the Snow Bowl's slopes, tracks, parklands, and resort areas for years to come. Adults and kids alike learn their way around the powder during skiing and snowboarding lessons, preparing them to explore the park's four chair lifts, 400-foot toboggan chute, and 850 feet of vertical ski slopes. After winter's chill dies away and the snow machines go on summer break, hikers, boaters, and other adventurers arrive at Ragged Mountain to mountain bike across rustic trails, fish in Hosmer Pond, and find cool unmatched ski gloves just lying around for free.