Players compete Saturday in the Icehole World Championships as part of Somerset Snowfest. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

SKOWHEGAN — Attendees came from near and far Saturday to kick off the fourth annual Somerset SnowFest with a box sled derby and the Icehole World Championships at Lake George Regional Park.

The morning started with the kids box sled derby, with kids bringing sleds decorated to look like a dragon, pirate ship, school bus and more. Organizers built a snow pile at the top of the hill for extra speed, and lined the course with hay bales for cushioning.

Justin Spencer, Lake George Regional Park resource manager, said the snow piles in the area were much higher earlier in the week, but the warm weather melted much of it down, so crews came out last night to construct the course for the derby.

He helped organize SnowFest, and encouraged people to explore the rest of the wide variety of events offered, since there is something for everyone.

“It’s a really good way to give back to the community and make it so there is something fun to do in February,” Spencer said.

Joanie Callahan came from Sterling, Massachusetts, to visit family, and came to the sled derby with her son Conor, his wife, Shan, and granddaughters Carli and Camryn. They had fun watching the excitement, and were planning to attend the horse-drawn sleigh rides on Sunday and maybe the downhill kayak race Saturday night.


“We haven’t been here very long, but it’s been fun,” Callahan said.

The Icehole World Championship is underway Saturday on the frozen ice of Lake George in Skowhegan. The event is part of Somerset Snowfest. Kaitlyn Budion/Morning Sentinel

Saturday’s activities also included the Icehole World Championship. Similar to cornhole, icehole is played on a frozen lake with two shallow holes carved out about 30 feet apart. Players score points by landing in or near the holes using the game’s signature disks — about the size of a hockey puck but with tapered edges to make it easier to play with rough ice conditions.

Weather conditions this week meant the ice on Lake George was particularly smooth and slippery Saturday, requiring extra technique from players.

Mike Ridley, one of the organizers of the championship, said this was the first time the game was officially part of SnowFest — although they did set up an unofficial game last year during the ice fishing derby.

“The ice is really fast today, it’s fun — it makes it more of a finesse game,” Ridley said.

The championship featured around 14 teams competing for bragging rights and a $200 cash prize for first place.

SnowFest continues throughout the week, and will wrap up next Sunday with a kite festival, winter triathlon and bird feeder craft activity. Next weekend’s activities also include SnowFest’s flagship event, Skijor Skowhegan.

Skijoring is a timed team race in which a horse and rider pull a snowboarder or Alpine skier around a groomed track. Organizers expect about 50 teams, and spectators are allowed this year.

The full schedule of activities can be found online at

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