A Two-time US Olympic Biathlete's Take on Skiing in Northern Main
Guest Blogger: Russell Currier, Two-time US Olympic Biathlete And Resident Of Stockholm, Maine
Aroostook County is the place for any caliber of cross country skiing you're seeking. If you're looking for fresh natural snow in November in the state of Maine, the county is always a safe bet. If you're aspiring to be a world class athlete there are not one, but two world class venues at your disposal. If you're seeking the more humble narrow pine bow encompassing classic track there is a rich community of dedicated groomers keeping the tracks set. The local groomers work tirelessly to keep the heavy snowfall packed down for anyone looking to enjoy some cross country skiing.
The Nordic Heritage Center and the Fort Kent Outdoor Center have both successfully hosted world cups for the sport of biathlon. The standard required to host the very top level of competition means having to meet precise trail and venue details. This makes both facilities officially A-licensed. With that in mind, the fact that the two venues are less than 60 miles apart makes them the two closest biathlon world cup sites in the world. Both venues are impressive to see with inviting trails to match. The world cup courses are always marked for you to see what the best in the world compete on.
If you're looking for more relaxed and easy going terrain you don't have to go very far. Many of the towns have their own dedicated trail system. The Caribou High School has a warm ski building connecting directly to a very well-groomed ski trail. While not without some hills, the CHS trail is great for flat terrain. With a year round maintained ski building you can't say it's too cold to spend an afternoon there.
If you keep traveling north you'll reach the very top of Maine. The Four Seasons Trails site is another great example of a local community caring for the heritage of cross country skiing. The trails at the Four Seasons Trails building are great for keeping warm on a windy day with that cozy closed in feeling. On top of that, the snowshoe trail network is some of the best in the county. As, always there is a warm and open building for your convenience.
Some of my personally favorite trails are somewhat less known. The local grooming community is always on it after a snow storm. Not every trail has a facility to accompany it or a piston bully to groom it, but there are always those neighbors with a snow sled and drag behind groomer to set a track after work. The trails are scattered throughout Aroostook County. Stockholm, Madawaska Lake, Limestone, New Sweden, and other small towns have a trail or two if you ask the right locals. This adds a real sense of authenticity. It might take you back to the way skiing used to be.
The cross country ski opportunities of Aroostook County are impressive. With the very top end being well known around Europe and North America to the small scale efforts being cared for by dedicated community members, the full spectrum of skiing is here. As a former member of the US Biathlon Team, I can assure you that the skiing is a great way to spend your time in the area.