Posted by: Kirk Wood
As much as we like to remember the lost ski areas around Bangor, we also like to ski too, and our attention gets diverted from the once-was to the working-now when it comes to ski resorts during the winter. To get your quick fix of carving through the white stuff it would seem pretty foolish to head off to one of the lost ski resorts around the Bangor area, but perhaps you are actually missing out on more than you think. While this site is a historical resource that will keep alive the memory of old ski resorts that have succumbed to closure over the years, the thought of these ski areas being used once again is not so far from reality. In fact, these areas were once popular ski areas (or at least used to some degree), and nothing has really changed part from the fact that tow ropes no longer operate, the runs are not groomed, there is no rental service, and so on. The essential fact remains that in the winter there will be (weather permitting) snow on the hills and mountains.
When a Ski Resort Isn’t Anymore, What’s Left?
So, why not revisit these forgotten ski areas, and take your ski or snowboard with you? With the new winter season fast approaching, we decided that now is a perfect time to take back these forgotten ski areas, and use them like they were once used before. Mind you, it is not that simple, now these areas are not resorts, but prime backcountry ski and snowboard terrain. This means you having to haul yourself and your gear up the hill and through the trees to get your snow fix, but on the plus side at least you don’t need a lift pass!
Preparing for the Backcountry
Now, most skiers and snowboarders will have tried a bit of off-piste, whether it is just making fresh tracks across 50 meters of powder connecting from one ski run to another, or taking on the near vertical when you hurtle yourself down a couloir. When you are skiing or boarding in a resort there are is necessary medical help to too far away, but in the backcountry this simply is not the case. With that in mind, you must be safety conscious, and make sure that you are prepared for accidents. It really is worth taking a small first aid kit with you, as according to Iglu Ski, ‘you may need treatment for aching muscles, bruises and blisters.’ On top of that, make sure you have a mobile phone so that you can contact the emergency services if you need to. Equipping all the skiers and boarders in your group with radio transceivers goes without saying too, as if you get split up you can quickly talk to one another. Another essential item you should take along with you is a small snow shovel, and we will talk more about the need for that next.
A Little Training Goes a Long Way
Now, we are not talking about the Alaskan wilderness hundreds of miles from the nearest town; we are talking about Bangor, and to be honest the modest snowfall and lack of steep alpine mountains means that avalanches are not really something to be worries about. On the other hand though, the snow can certainly get deep, and on unknown terrain there is the possibility of deep snow holes where you could find yourself submerged in snow. Being able to stay calm and dig yourself out of these is important, and having a small snow shovel will help you get out much quicker. A probe is useful to help you locate anyone in your group who has been submerged in snow, but to really know you stuff and to be able to stay calm in this type of situation you should enroll on an avalanche training course. Knowing your stuff out there makes a big difference.
Onwards and Upwards
A few other things to remember if you plan to revisit Bangor’s lost ski areas; pack your own lunch because you won’t find a restaurant, be prepared for a hike (it might be worth packing snow shoes), plan your route with a map and do your homework. Make sure the conditions are right, and tell someone back home where you are going and when you will be back. Now, with all that out the way, we look forward to hearing your stories about how the once lost ski areas of Bangor have been found (and used) once again!