Escape to Bethel
With one of the state’s two biggest ski areas, it’s not surprising that Bethel is a center for winter sports. But you may be surprised at the variety of outdoor options winter offers there. Besides downhill and Nordic skiing, ice skating and snow tubing, there are places to snowshoe, dogsled, take a sleigh ride, even fish through a hole in the ice. Those who’ve never tried any of these winter activities will find lessons, equipment and lots of outdoor company in this friendly town.
The centerpiece of winter sports is Sunday River, eight mountain peaks connected by 135 trails across 870 acres of developed trails and glades served by 15 lifts. It’s a family-friendly place, where kids love the slope-side entertainment and snow tubing at South Ridge, and teens appreciate the six terrain parks. Boarders of all ages gravitate to Pinnacle Snowboard Shop, with top names in boards, customized goggles and gear right at the mountain.
Cross-country skiers find trails and equipment right in town at Bethel Nordic Ski Center, at the start of 30km of classic and skate tracks, through forests and across fields with views of the Mahoosuc Mountains. Five miles of snowshoe trails and a skating rink make this a one-stop winter recreation center.
Plenty of scenic trails are available, too, for those who prefer to explore the woods and fields on a snowmobile. Northeast Snowmobile Rentals can provide machines to use on their trails and groomed terrain, the largest in the area. Complete instruction, helmets and free trail maps, along with free GPS tracking assure your safety.
Like Dogs? Like Snow? A dogsledding trip may be the winter adventure for you! Contact Mahoosuc Guide Service and find out why Mushing Magazine, the recognized international authority on dogsledding, recommends them as one of North America’s Top 5 dogsledding outfits.
Mornington Crescent Sled Dogs, just south of Bethel, offers hands-on dogsled experiences that are more than just a ride.
Fishing is an all-season sport, so if you want to know how – and where – to land a 10-pound pike in February, stop at Orion Outfitters and Guide Service.
For augers, bait,and tackle, the experts at Bethel Bait Tackle & More offer plenty of tips about nearby lakes and ponds.
Rent Bethel is a premier vacation rental agency servicing the greater Sunday River & Bethel, ME area. They offer a great selection of on and off mountain homes and condos for rent seasonally and short term. With over 10 years of experience in vacation rentals and a handpicked inventory of rent ready properties staying with Rent Bethel guarantees your satisfaction from booking to check out. See your winter getaway options right now at rentbethel.com.
For rooms, dining and an après-ski scene in one place, consider The Sudbury Inn, a family-friendly inn with a French bistro and Suds Pub, featuring 29 beers on tap. The free Mountain Explorer shuttle takes skiers right to Sunday River and home again, so you can leave your car right at the inn.
No winter getaway is complete without some quality après-ski time. Check out Sunday River Brewing Company, a microbrewery where you can lift a glass by the fireside and satisfy your appetite with a hearty pub dinner.
There’s plenty of winter fun in Bethel; stop by the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce at Station Place in the center of town to learn more.
Text: Bobbie Randolph