UMaine Farmington students after a Mainely Outdoors early December summit of nearby Tumbledown Mountain.

THINKING OUTSIDE: The University of Maine at Farmington

When people think of Maine colleges with a strong connection to the active outdoor lifestyle, the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) is the first school that comes to mind.

Perfectly situated at the gateway to Sugarloaf, Sunday River and Saddleback, UMF is also smack in the middle of some of the best hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, kayaking, camping and rafting in the northeast.

UMaine Farmington snowboarder catching air in a USASA collegiate competition at nearby Sunday River

UMaine Farmington snowboarder catching air in a USASA collegiate competition at nearby Sunday River

Miles of trail running and mt. bike paths just off campus. Groomed Nordic skiing trails. Night skiing at Titcomb Mt. just on the other side of town. The swim-able, paddle-able, fly-fishing-able Sandy River running right beside its athletics fields. Flint Woods and Bonny Woods trails a short walk up the street from campus. And a quick drive takes outdoor enthusiast UMF students to the extensive Maine Huts & Trails system, the Appalachian Trail, Mt. Blue State Park and Tumbledown Mountain.

But the University of Maine at Farmington and the great outdoors isn’t all just fun and games. The University also offers an Outdoor Recreation Business Administration program (ORBA), an innovative academic major with a four-season focus and an emphasis on the business side of recreation.

Developed with leaders in the industry, the ORBA program gives UMF students the skills and knowledge to succeed in a variety of outdoor recreation fields. Students develop a broad range of business knowledge, skills in writing and oral presentation, problem solving, decision-making, leadership and team building. ORBA also has a required internship, which provides students with valuable hands-on experience and a network of professional contacts.

UMF’s Alpine Operations Certificate program is open to UMF students in any major and is designed to provide students with core skills for working in the skiing industry while also preparing them to earn PSIA Level 1 certification.

Alpine Operations uses Farmington’s Titcomb Mountain (just 7 minutes from campus) as its on-hill learning lab. Students run Titcomb’s successful UMF Snowcats children’s learn-to-ski program and also teach young adults, fellow UMF students and others how to ski and snowboard.

Both the ORBA program and Alpine Ops program not only bring students to the mountains — they bring the mountains to the students. Industry experts from Sugarloaf, Sunday River, Copper Mountain (CO), Ski Maine, Winterstick Snowboards, Mountain Force Apparel and many others come to UMF classes as frequent guest speakers.


UMaine Farmington alpine skiers at a USCSA competition at Farmington's Titcomb Mountain.

UMaine Farmington alpine skiers at a USCSA competition at Farmington’s Titcomb Mountain.

To take full advantage of its perfect location, UMF also offers a backpack full of epic outdoor adventures through its Mainely Outdoors program. Mainely Outdoors offers students, staff and the local community a wide range of exciting outdoor opportunities: trips and excursions, equipment and gear sign-out/rentals, clinics and lessons, certification and training opportunities, and much more.

Mainely Outdoors introduces people to new active outdoor activities and takes advantage of the unbelievable natural resources in the Farmington area: hiking Tumbledown Mountain, overnight camping at Acadia National Park, mountain biking the Carrabassett Rail Trail, skiing at Sugarloaf, flatwater kayaking North Pond, overnight camping at Gulf Hagas, whitewater rafting the Kennebec, snowshoeing the Maine Huts & Trails System, sunset canoeing Wilson Lake and a whole lot more.

At the University of Maine at Farmington, college students from across the northeast come to get their outdoors on.

— Text & Photos: The University of Maine at Farmington

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