Plenty of trails will soon be ready across Somerset County for the winter season.

Lake George Regional Park staff in Skowhegan are getting ready to groom trails on the park’s east side for cross-country skiing.

According to Darryll White, chief park administrator, the Modin Trail will be groomed also for fat-tire biking this winter, and the lake offers skating and ice fishing.

In Skowhegan, the Coburn Woods preserve, with parking on Russell Road, offers opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and even winter biking on dedicated single-track trails. Lakewood golf course in Madison offers cross country ski trails for the general public and takes donations on the honor system.

Skowhegan SnowFest starts on Saturday, Feb. 29. White said one new event this year is a downhill kayak race on a snow track at Lake George.

“It’s sort of an adult version of the traditional box sled derby,” he said.

From 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Lake George Regional Park’s East Side Boat Launch, the annual ice fishing derby is a key part of SnowFest. Registration and check-ins start at 5:30 a.m. at the Ranger Shack at the boat launch or can be completed online. Weigh-in is open from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., and winners will receive a variety of prizes.

Dog-sledding is part of the Skowhegan SnowFest, which starts on Saturday, Feb. 29. Photo courtesy of Maine Mountain Media

Also on Saturday, Main Street Skowhegan will host the Northeast Equestrian Skijoring Regionals at Skowhegan Fairgrounds. Translated as “ski driving,” this time trial race teams a horse and rider pulling a snowboarder or alpine skier down a 1,000-foot track of gates and three jumps. Skijor Skowhegan is the only equestrian skijoring race in the Northeast, and competitors can take home an assortment of prizes, including cash.

Those who want even more action can enter the triathlon, racing on cross-country skis, fat-tire bikes and snowshoes from downtown Skowhegan to Lake George on Sunday. As the schedule of activities develops, visit somersetsnowfest.org.

The Upper Kennebec Valley Region, including Bingham, Jackman and The Forks, has groomed snowmobile trails that are part of a 14,000-mile Interconnecting Trail System, commonly known as the ITS. Although winter snowfall totals can vary, this region can get more than 10 feet in a season. The ITS is provided as a joint effort of the Maine Snowmobile Association and the Snowmobile Division of the Maine Bureau of Parks and Lands’ Department of Conservation, under the direction of the Maine Snowmobile Association’s Trails Committee. The trails themselves are created and maintained by volunteers in local snowmobile clubs, local municipalities, supporting businesses and landowners who generously allow access to sledders. For a downloadable ITS map of the state, visit mesnow.com. The website also lists contacts for 155 local clubs and towns, which may offer their own regional maps and details of individual trail systems. Sledders are advised to check current area snow conditions and trail access.

For those who’d like to try snowmobiling, it’s easy to find someone to arrange all the details, such as 201 Powersports outfitters in Jackman and Bingham. The outfit will provide everything needed for a winter getaway. They have rentals and equipment in both locations, and Mike Honsinger, owner of Sledhead Ventures, arranges customized snowmobiling tour packages, which include sleds, gear, clothing and a stay at the Lake Parlin Lodge on ITS 89 and ITS 87. Scott Newton, owner of 201 Powersports, and his other experienced registered Maine Guides will take customers on relaxing scenic trips that often offer exciting photo opportunities of Maine’s deer, moose and other elusive wildlife.

North Country Rivers’ base resort complex in Bingham can have snowfall of up to 10 feet. The resort also is located conveniently on Maine’s ITS 87 portion of the trail system, and Patrick’s Restaurant, located inside the lodge, serves home-cooked meals seven days a week. Anyone renting one of the company’s log cabins on the Kennebec River will be able to return from any trip and park the sled right in front of the door, said owner Jim Murton.

Their proximity to this portion of the ITS allows riders to travel north to the Forks and Jackman and even into Canada, according to Murton. To the west is the Rangeley Lakes region, and to the northeast is the Moosehead Lake region and Baxter State Park. There are seemingly endless options for single and multi-day loop trips beginning and ending at the base complex.


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