See you at the mountain!

Making tracks in some dreamy snow at the Camden Snow Bowl

Fri, 01/30/2015 - 4:00pm

    CAMDEN — Duncan Matlack is smiling big today, and as he looks up the hill at the Camden Snow Bowl, his arms rise in exuberance. “This is what is all about,” he laughs. “Look at you. You are are smiling, too.” 

    Everyone at on Ragged Mountain is happy today, despite the drizzle that was mixing in with snow. Because even the drizzle is considered good. It will help pack the snow down and get a solid base on all the trails.

    But mostly, the grins and good humor — and to a great extent, a huge sense of relief — is attributed directly to the right side of the hill, where, at long last, the triple chairlift is ferrying skiers up the hill. And conditions really were, at 10 a.m., Jan. 30, just about perfect on the open trails, like skiing through whipped cream.

    The Snow Bowl opened the chairlift to the public Thursday evening, surprising skiers with the news.

     We were able to open it last night, after the load testing and final adjustments went a little quicker than we planned,” the Snow Bowl reported. “We slowed it down from its designed operating speed until skiers and operators have more experience loading quickly. Other than that, it’s smooth, quiet, and we think, handsome.”

    School was let out at 11 a.m. Friday morning in advance of more snow arriving later in the day, and children were already starting to filter toward the Snow Bowl. But the earlier hours belonged to longtime skiers arriving for the first run at their favorite mountain. One man caught the email circulated last night from the Snow Bowl, saying the chairlift was finally running.

    He grabbed his skis and drove up this morning from Boothbay Harbor, and was among the first on the lift, which officially opened at 10 a.m. Others filtered behind him, getting the corduroy on Clipper.

    While there was no natural base of snow on the mountain before the Jan. 27 blizzard, and while spirits were running low and skepticism of the entire redevelopment was growing, by Jan. 30, Ragged Mountain well under a blanket of white, with more snow falling.

    And, the mountain was filling. By 3 p.m., the lodge was full, and although it was raining in Camden, two miles west at Ragged Mountain Recreation Area, it was still snowing, according to the Snow Bowl General Manager Landon Fake.

    Lodge is full,” he said. “All snow now. No lift lines!”

    The mountain is open until 8 p.m., and tomorrow, Jan. 31, the official ribbon-cutting of the new chairlift takes place at 8:45 a.m.

    Staff hopes to open Mussel Ridge tomorrow, and then get snow-making going on Northeaster, Coaster and Foxy trails. The Snow Bowl will continue to make snow even though the natural snow has finally started to fall because the blizzard winds blew most of the snow off the top of the mountain and the sides of Northeaster.

    Get the latest on conditions and trail updates at 

    And, see you at the mountain!


    Related stories:

    Camden Planning Board to begin Snow Bowl lodge review (Jan. 9)

    Camden Select Board brings in old friend to help with Snow Bowl progress (Jan. 7)

    • Camden Snow Bowl to start making snow Jan. 5 (Jan. 2)

    • Camden Select Board pushes Ragged Mountain redevelopment project forward over protests of many Hosmer Pond neighbors (Dec. 18)

    • Snow Bowl progress report to Camden Select Board continues to be positive (Dec. 3)

    • One by one, 20 chairlift towers went up at the Camden Snow Bowl (Dec. 1)

     Helicopter to help raise, place 23 chairlift towers at Camden Snow Bowl (Dec. 1)

    • Report: Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Project $500,000 over budget (Oct. 8)

     Camden Planning Board approves Snow Bowl lighting plan as proposed (Oct. 6)

     Camden Snow Bowl on target for Dec. 20 opening, weather willing (Sept. 19)

    • Camden to contract with South Portland firm to manage Snow Bowl lodge, base area (July 24, 2014)

     Camden Snow Bowl project remains under DEP scrutiny, making progress, more work ahead (July 11)

     Vermont trail builder takes helm with Camden Snow Bowl project, new phase gets under way (July 10)

     Camden Snow Bowl prepped for more rain, assembling working group to assist with next steps (July 2)

    • Snow Bowl mountain mud runoff causes headache for neighbors, town (July 1)

     Camden Snow Bowl anticipates ending season in the black; work begins on Ragged Mountain (March 19)

     Homage to Camden’s Big T (March 15, 2014)

     By wide margin, Camden voters approve Snow Bowl improvement bond (Nov. 5, 2013)

     Camden voters consider $2 million Snow Bowl bond, three zoning amendments (Nov. 3, 2013)

     Camden committee selects new parks and recreation director (Sept. 6, 2013)

     Camden considers $2 million Snow Bowl bond, ordinance amendments Nov. 5 (Sept. 4, 2014)

     Camden ready to put $2 million bond before voters (Aug. 21, 2013)

     Camden pursues federal money to help with Snow Bowl upgrade (July 10, 2013)

     Camden learns about refurbished chairlifts, woven grips and haul ropes (April 10, 2013)

     Last run for Jeff (Jan. 21, 2013)

     Stellar start to season at Camden Snow Bowl (Jan. 9, 2013)

     Camden’s Ragged Mountain loses a good friend (Nov. 7, 2012)

     Ready for packed powder? Camden Snow Bowl to make it quicker, sooner with updated snow guns (Sept. 12, 2012)

    Editorial Director Lynda Clancy can be reached at; 207-706-6657