Cross-country skiing is more than a pastime at Smiling Hill Farm on Route 22 in Westbrook. It helps keep the 500-acre, family-run dairy farm in business.

But right now, the farm’s 25 kilometers of Nordic skiing trails are bare and its equipment rental room is quiet.

“It’s very lonely here,” said Hillary Knight, barnyard and cross-country ski manager. “We still have work to do, taking care of the animals and running the farm store and cafe. But it would be nice to have some snow on the ground, some people here and some income coming in.”

Recent rain and warm temperatures in southern Maine have left some outdoor winter sports enthusiasts pining for snow and ice. Any snow that accumulated in November and December melted away when heavy rain fell on Christmas Eve and daytime temperatures hit the mid-50s on Christmas Day. Temperatures are expected to stay in the mid- to upper 40s for most of the weekend, then turn colder Sunday night and stay that way next week.

Colder temperatures may help freeze area lakes, ponds and backyard rinks, satisfying folks who enjoy skating outdoors. But other than a few showers possible late Saturday night, there’s little precipitation in the immediate forecast.

Still, sales of new and used snowmobiles have been brisk across the state, according to the Maine Snowmobile Association, and dedicated fans of snowmobiling and skiing have been heading north to find the white stuff.

“Everybody’s anxious and excited,” said Bob Meyers, the association’s executive director. “There’s only one thing missing in southern Maine, and that’s snow. People are out snowmobiling, you just have to drive a little farther.”

The association includes 289 clubs — made up of 12,000 families and 2,100 businesses — that maintain 14,500 miles of groomed trails across Maine. Snow can be found on most trails north of Route 2, which run across the state from Bethel to Bangor, but they may be slushy in spots, said Meyers, who lives in Bath.

If trail conditions aren’t good, “the best thing you can do is stay off it,” he said. “A couple cold nights and the lousy conditions will turn great pretty quick.”

Weather is expected to be mild enough Monday that the association plans to hold its annual “Behave Yourself” news conference outside at the North Augusta Trailblazers clubhouse at 312 Burns Road in Augusta.

“We’ve done it indoors for years,” Meyers said. “This year, we’re doing it outdoors.”

The association holds the news conference each year during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to remind snowmobilers of the laws and guidelines that apply when riding Maine trails. The association warns against riding alone or under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and it asks riders to stay to the right on trails and to respect landowners, among other things.

Ski areas would like to see snow in southern Maine, too. That’s because some people are less likely to think about skiing when they don’t see snow where they live.

“Unless you’re a ski-minded person, you may not be aware of our snow-making capabilities and the fact that we have plenty of snow up here,” said Rachael Wilkinson, marketing director at Shawnee Peak in Bridgton.

Friday was a sunny, blue-sky day at Shawnee Peak, with temperatures in the 40s and spring-like skiing conditions, Wilkinson said. While the day after Christmas is usually slow because people are on the road, she expected Saturday to be busy, kicking off the school vacation with 18 of 42 trails offering excellent conditions.

School vacations and weekends are the busiest times for cross-country skiing at Smiling Hill Farm, according to Knight, the manager. The trails there were open for three days after Thanksgiving because of a late-November storm. With a little more of the white stuff, they’ll soon be open again.

“Everything’s ready,” Knight said. “We’re just waiting for snow.”

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