Black Mountain of Maine - 2017
Sun., Mar. 26, 2017
I know we've had BM of ME threads to which I would have added this report, but I couldn't find one. Ergo: New thread.
This is the first new ski area I've been to in New England in more than 35 years and the last 1000 foot + vertical drop ski area in New England on which I have not made tracks. (lifetime: 114 New England Areas, 177 total).
Black Mtn.'s shape reminded me of the Mad River Glen's horseshoe canyon. Black Mtn. is a community run not-for-profit and at $37 for a weekend day ticket, probably is the best value in the industry.
They have a group who are referred to as the "Angry Beavers" who cut glades. There are superb glades ranging from Blue Square to Double Diamond. There are few ski areas that provide this kind of progression of difficulty of glades. Special kudos to the beavers: In all the glades I skied, I did not see the ankle buster 3" to 6" stumps and although there were a few rocks exposed, they were the flat ones: not the "core-shot" sharp ones. In short, their glades are the best manicured I've seen in the industry.
Looking up to the right are three or four trails and glades that represent an expansion area where a chairlift will eventually be added. For now, it is "side-country". I hiked up several times to try out several of the options. There was still some lovely untracked powder up there. It adds about 250 feet of vertical which brings it to a very respectable 1300' of vertical.
The down side to Black Mountain of Maine:
1. There is no truly steep trail, although "Lazy River" with its narrowness and moguls, skis like a real "Black Diamond."
2. The main lift is a FG-triple that is glacially slow. From 9AM opening to the 3:45 closing, I only got 19 runs. (Probably could have got 22 without the hikes to the side-country.)
3. The lift attendants did not bump the chairs. Eventually, I got in the habit of reaching back to self-bump, but my calfs are black-and-blue today.
In summary, BM of ME is a superb ski area - a great regional resource, but certainly not a destination resort. The excellent weather allowed me to explore the area and really enjoy the view and the totality of this fine area.