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Overview

Snow is one thing Maine’s White Mountains can usually be sure of, and Bethel sits in the heart of them, ready to welcome snow-sport enthusiasts. A free shuttle bus connects the postcard-pretty village center to Sunday River, whose eight interconnected mountains are covered by 132 trails, which skiers reach on 16 lifts. One of them is the only Chondola in New England, a sort of chairlift with cabins covering the chairs. Unusual, too, is the chance to dine at the top in the evening, at Peak Lodge. Each mountain offers its own experience: easy cruising on North Peak and Jordan Bowl, dramatic verticals and bumps on White Cap, glades to challenge ...

Snow is one thing Maine’s White Mountains can usually be sure of, and Bethel sits in the heart of them, ready to welcome snow-sport enthusiasts. A free shuttle bus connects the postcard-pretty village center to Sunday River, whose eight interconnected mountains are covered by 132 trails, which skiers reach on 16 lifts. One of them is the only Chondola in New England, a sort of chairlift with cabins covering the chairs. Unusual, too, is the chance to dine at the top in the evening, at Peak Lodge. Each mountain offers its own experience: easy cruising on North Peak and Jordan Bowl, dramatic verticals and bumps on White Cap, glades to challenge skiers and boarders on Oz. But all the action isn’t on the mountain. The Sunday River Outdoor Center’s groomed cross-country and snowshoe trails wind through the woods past winter picnic sites and an 1872 covered bridge. Dogsled rides are also available at the center during weekends and holiday weeks, by reservation. For those who would prefer to mush their own team or even take an overnight winter camping trip by dogsled, Mahoosuc Guide Services goes beyond their popular winter rides to teach dog-handling and take visitors into the winter woods for an unforgettable experience. Those who prefer a motorized tour can rent snowmobiles in the Bethel area. The 44 trails of Mt. Abram Resort, 5 miles south of Bethel, is a favorite for all levels of skiers and riders, but especially for seasoned experts who love its 550 acres of trails, glades and tree lines where more than half are ranked intermediate or up. Families enjoy the low-key atmosphere of Black Mountain, where a tubing park and cross-country trails add to the winter fun of downhill skiing.

Barbara Rogers
About the Expert

Barbara Radcliffe Rogers has written or coauthored more than 30 guidebooks, including The Portugal Traveler, Drive Around Portugal, City Spots Munich, City Spots Helsinki, City Spots Stockholm, Eating New England, and the Maine section of Thomas Cook's Independent Traveller USA.

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Barbara Rogers for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Trails are usually snow-covered from December through mid-April. For festivals, go in December for Country Christmas or in late January for Bethel Winterfest.