Visit One Of The Largest Ski Areas In America At This East Coast Destination

While Maine is well known for its lobster stew, historic lighthouses, and striking coastline, there's another tourist draw that's perfect for a winter getaway. Sugarloaf Mountain, an hour and a half northwest of Augusta, is the second-largest ski resort east of the Mississippi and the only one that offers ski lifts above the tree line.

Standing tall at 4,237 feet, the mountain boasts 162 trails, 13 lifts, and 1,240 miles of skiable acres. Sugarloaf sees an average of 189 inches of snowfall per season, at times surpassing 200, giving visitors an extra long ski season from mid-November to early May. The slopes are split by difficulty level for a family-friendly trip, with 23% beginner terrain, 34% intermediate, 27% advanced, and 16% for experts adept at double black diamonds.

In addition to the main trails, there's also five freestyle terrain parks, so you can jump over obstacles, glide on rails, and finesse your technique at your own pace. In addition, there are 31 miles of cross-country skiing trails, open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day. The bravest among you can try cat skiing on Burnt Mountain, which is guided backcountry skiing that takes you up the mountain in an enclosed "snowcat" truck instead of a lift. After a full day on the snow, take your pick at one of 18 eateries at the lodge. Throughout the season, visitors can enjoy a variety of live music shows at the Widowmaker — from EDM to reggae — on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Equipment, lessons, and snow activities

The Sugarloaf Rental Shop has skis, poles, snowboards, boots, and helmets for $59 to $77 for adults and $25 to $41 for kiddos. If this is your first time on New England powder, you can purchase one of the Learn to Ski Packages from $185 to $195, which includes rental equipment, a two-hour lesson, and a lift ticket. If you're traveling with little ones, they can partake in the fun with lessons from $159 to $240, depending on their age group and whether you book a half day or a full day of instruction. Private lessons are another option, helping you hone your skills and bypass long lines for $299 to $859, with prices subject to change.

Though Sugarloaf is best known as a skiing resort, you'll find plenty of other winter activities to keep things interesting. There are 8 SnoGo Skibikes available to rent for $99 a day, which combine skis with the frame and handles of a bike. For some peddling action, try Fat Biking for $10 a day, which involves a wide-tire bike built for the snow. If you're in need of scenery at a slower pace, embark on a Snowshoe Safari Tour for $46, complete with cookies and hot chocolate. And no trip to Maine's Western Mountains would be complete without a little ice skating at the nearby Outdoor Center, which has an outdoor, NHL-size rink from December to March.

Tickets and accommodation options

There's a range of packages, based on how much you want to ski and whether you plan to explore other resorts. Ticket packs start at $279 for adults and $199 for kids for the Sugarloaf 3 Pack, giving visitors any three days to ski at Sugarloaf during the season. The Maine Pack includes four days on Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and Pleasant Mountain for $259 to $379, with the cheaper option for weekday visits. For those who believe winter is a way of life, a season pass is best for $699 to $1,619, with discounts available for students and seniors.

By booking accommodation right on the mountain, you can save up to 10% on lift tickets. The Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel has one-bedroom ($151), two-bedroom ($219), and penthouse suites ($881) slopeside accommodations, not to mention a 30-person hot tub to warm you right up. Nearby condos offer one-bedroom ($169) to five-bedroom dwellings ($645) with furnishings, kitchen amenities, fireplaces, and shuttle service to and from the lifts. For a more budget-friendly option, head down the hill to the cozy Hostel of Maine for bunks starting at $45 a night. Whether you're here for a day or you'll be stopping by all season long, Sugarloaf is a prime place to hit the slopes this winter.