At the beginning of each new year, many people resolve to learn a new skill or hobby or try something brand new. Was this one of your resolutions this year? Two months into the new year, did you do anything about it? If you have not, we have a few great suggestions of things to do in Maine in winter right here in Camden. One can experience ice climbing in Camden Hills State Park with Equinox Guiding Services, snowboarding, skiing or tobogganing.
Noah Kleiner of Equinox Guiding Service says of ice climbing, “It’s about celebrating a sense of adventure, challenges that widen our perception, and expand our comfort zones by getting outside.” Enticing, isn’t it?
Ice on the coast of Maine may vary significantly. The Atlantic, with her ebb and flow of moisture
and temperature swings, causes the ice flows to change with it. As a result, the same ice wall varies day to day. This means the climb can be different each day.
Camden offers beginner friendly climbing with short flows of varying degree of steepness. The team at Equinox Guiding Services are certified guides. They provide all the climbing gear and knowledge of the Camden Hill State Park to customize your adventure. There are five locations in the park that
that Equinox Guiding Services frequent, and each has multiple ice routes, with names like Everdrip and Neverdrip, Double Clutch, Dragon’s Tooth and Hot Spot. The beginner’s adventure is not the extreme sport that you see in the movies. The guide sets an anchor in the top of the ice wall. Each client climbs with a rope that is fastened to the anchor. The guide is constantly cinching the rope so that if a climber slips, they will not actually fall. Ice climbing can be meditative as well since one is totally focused on your foot placement and using the ice picks.
For a sneak peak at what it would be like to ice climb with Equinox Guide Services, check out this video.
For a more detailed view, check out Bill Greene’s Maine video.
Equinox Guiding Services customizes each climb to the client. If you are looking to build on existing skills and expand your knowledge on the sport, go out for a day of technical instruction on more difficult climbs.
Skiing or Snowboarding
We have written about the Camden Snow Bowl in previous blog posts, but this blog will provide some more details on learning new skills or resurrecting old ones. When we moved to Maine, I had not been on skis for 10 or 15 years. When I did ski, I was novice at best. Now that I am a little older and an innkeeper, I was concerned about falling and breaking a leg. However, after seeing images like the one below, I really wanted to give it a try.
Here’s what makes Camden Snow Bowl a great place to learn to ski or resurrect your previous skills
- Ocean views from the slopes
- Small and family friendly (translation — no hot dogs speeding past you and knocking you over)
- 1,000 feet vertical drop, not terribly steep
- There are 20 trails that have been expanded in recent years
- No long lift lines
- Very affordable lift tickets, as well as half day passes
- High caliber instructors providing private lessons
In summary, you don’t have to spend as much as you would at a larger resort to see if you like skiing or snowboarding. You get to enjoy the great outdoors and some great scenery.
The Camden Snow Bowl is also home to the country’s only remaining, gravity-operated 400-foot-long wooden toboggan chute. At the time of this writing, it costs $5/day/person to borrow one of the town toboggans and probably have one of the greatest thrills of your life. After being properly seated on the toboggan, the chute master pulls the lever. One tobogganer likened it to the sound of a wooden roller coaster release when you get to the top of the peak. The lever releases the platform and the toboggan tilts forward in the chute. The toboggan flies down the chute at up to 40 miles per hour. Tobogganers exit the chute onto frozen Hosmer Pond and glide out on the pond until they come to a stop. To get an idea of what it feels like to ride a toboggan, check out Jeremy T. Grant’s coverage of the US National Toboggan Championship.
The Jack Williams Toboggan Chute is open to the public on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. ice conditions permitting.
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