A Rangeley Winter
Celebrate a Maine winter in Rangeley
by Leigh Macmillen Hayes
In the frosty months, outdoor enthusiasts will find a multitude of events in Rangeley, a premiere winter destination. The Rangeley Lakes Snowmobile Club sponsors the annual SNODEO, a celebration of all things snowmobile, on January 24-26. The weekend includes family snowmobile rides, a snowmobile stunt show, radar run, casino night and other activities. Also that weekend, the Rangeley Lakes Chamber of Commerce hosts a Chili/Chowder Cook Off. The club grooms over 150 miles of trails for your enjoyment.
At Camp Do What You Wanna on Main Street, rent snowmobiles, plus the gear to go with them, including gloves, jackets, pants and boots. And for your trail rides, bring along sandwiches on homemade bread, soup or pastries from the General Store. Even if you don’t hit the trails, dine on breakfast or lunch at the General Store and enjoy the view overlooking Haley Pond.
Also located on Haley Pond is Ecopelagicon, a nature store. Purchase books about the Maine outdoors, maps and camping supplies, as well as crafts, cards and jewelry. Right outside their door is the town cleared ice rink on Haley Pond. Need skates? Free skates are available at Ecopelagicon. In the warming hut at the gazebo park beside the shop, purchase hot cocoa and coffee or roast marshmallows and hotdogs.
The 7th Annual New England Pond Hockey Festival will take place on February 1-3. This weekend of outdoor games on Haley Pond celebrates a time-honored New England tradition. It’s a kickback to those days when a bunch of kids got together to shovel off the rink and play hockey. Expect lively competition and a fun time.
Ski and ride at Saddleback Mountain, Maine’s third largest ski resort. It’s a big mountain with a low-key, family-friendly environment. Special events occur throughout the season. Don’t miss the Saddleback Mountain Challenge on February 9, a 7-mile, 1,800 vertical randonee or ski mountaineering style race. And on February 21, the Saddleback Ski Patrol will host its annual torchlight parade. Strap on your skinny skis, grab some poles and head out on the 55 kilometers of groomed trails at the Rangeley Lakes Trail Center. Or snowshoe and bird watch along Saddleback Lake. The Center will host the 16th annual legendary Rangeley Lakes Loppet on Saturday, March 2. The races include a 25k and 50k Freestyle, 25K Classic, and 25K Touring Division. Ski and snowshoe rentals are available in the rustic yurt lodge at the center. In the yurt you’ll also find hot and cold beverages, snacks and hot soup for sale.
For some indoor family entertainment, check out Moose Alley, Rock, Roll, Bowl on Main Street. Arrive via snowmobile and enjoy the state-of-the-art bowling alley, billiards and arcade games, or relax on the comfy couches while watching television from one of the many screens located throughout. Bands from Portland and Boston perform here on weekends.
At the end of the day, get some rest at either the Rangeley Saddleback Inn or the Town and Lake Motel and Cottages. The Saddleback Inn is the closest off mountain lodging to Saddleback Mountain Ski Area. After a day playing outdoors and in, guests relax in the family game room, indoor pool and Jacuzzi. The Town and Lake Motel and Cottages are open year round and located on Rangeley Lake.
Whatever type of outdoor enthusiast you are, this four-season vacation destination is sure to pull you back again and again. Ready to help you call this place home is City Cove Realty located at the bottom of City Hill (Main Street/Route 4). From building lots to condos, and lakefront homes to mountain camps, they’ve got something that will tickle your fancy.
Come to Rangeley and embrace this winter wonderland. Be sure to bring your camera!