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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Sunday, December 9, 2012

Winter in Maine

The latest news from Maine ski resorts and feature stories on winter activities.


New at Maine ski areas By Dave Irons Feature Writer

E

ach sum mer sk i a reas invest t wo ways. Nor ma l maintenance requires many man hours servicing lifts, brushing trails, repairing water bars and sprucing up lodges. This runs into thousands of dollars at smaller areas and into the millions at major resorts. We can add almost annual upgrades on snowmaking, either by increasing capacity or new more efficient snow guns to get more snow for the amount of energy expended. Skiers might not see these routine expenditures, but be assured they are there every year. In addition there are more visible upgrades, a summary of which follows.

The big news out of Big Rock and Black Mountain and all of the Maine Winter Sports Center venues is the new ticket price. Both alpine areas will offer skiing for just $15 a day. A season pass good at both areas and the cross country centers as well is $150. Physical changes include an expanded base lodge and pub at Big Rock and a new snowmaking pump. Black Mountain has a huge snowmaking expansion including more guns and electric service to the summit to operate guns. The lounge has

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been expanded to create a sports pub, and trails have been redesigned to increase vertical to 1,240 feet. The Camden Snowbowl is in the middle of a long range improvement plan with $3 million raised toward a goal of $4.5 million which will trigger an additional bond funding of $2 million. The total of $6.5 million will eventually rebuild most of the infrastructure including new lifts, new beginner/ novice area, expanded snowmaking, expanded lighting, new base lodge and improved parking. This year’s piece of the plan includes 10 new snow guns, a new groomer, and expansion of upper part of the Mussel Ridge Trail to improve snowmaking efficiency, lighting, race starting area, and more steep terrain. Mt Abram will bring back snow tubing on Friday and Saturday nights. New snowmaking pump installation continues which will boost the capacity of the HKD low energy guns installed last year. The popular family ski area is in the process of a complete planning of the resort before building a new base lodge to replace the temporary lodge put in use after the fire two years ago.

Sugarloaf cont inues to implement its 20-20 Ten Yea r Development plan. The biggest snowmaking expansion in two decades includes 300 new HKD impulse snow guns along with additional snowmaking pipes to improve efficiency and capacity. Nearly 100 acres of new glades will open on West Mountain and glade skiing is expanding on Burnt Mountain. The Black Diamond restaurant has been renovated and renamed “45 North” and the renovated ski shop has reopened as the Downhill Supply Company. Sunday River has invested $1 million in snowmaking, mostly on 300 HKD snow guns to increase efficiency. Two new Pisten Bully 400’s will beef up the grooming fleet. Real estate development continues with the second phase of Tempest Ridge, the Glades at Ridge Run and the Village Off the Green. A new kids adventure trail will give the kids a mile of off piste skiing from North Peak to South Ridge.

The big news out of Saddleback comes from the ski school. Since Mark Robie took over as director of the ski school the emphasis has been on keeping the student to instructor ratio as low as possible and this year new programs carry that forward. New this season will be programs for junior instructor training, back country and off piste, freestyle, and terrain park for both skiers and snowboarders, full-day meisters for children six and under and adults meisters. To facilitate learning the number one trail of the four miles of beginner terrain, Royal Tiger has been widened and leveled side to side. Shawnee Peak: It was 75 years ago when skiers first rode rope tows at Pleasant Mountain and the month of January will see the celebration of those 75 years. New on the mountain will be a freestyle airbag, expanded learning terrain with 50 percent more room for beginners to learn, and an extended carpet lift to give them longer runs. Snowmaking infrastructure has been expanded, Wi-Fi installed throughout the base area, a new website and a new handicap lift to all levels of the base lodge. Maine’s oldest ski area isn’t standing still.

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal

A snowboarder flies over a jump at Saddleback Mountain as he enjoyed a picture perfect day in April 2012.

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New in skis and boots

groomed runs. Race skis still have traditional camber because racing takes place on groomed runs, usually very firm and edge hold is critical for racers.

By Dave Irons Feature Writer

While skis have been getting shorter over the last decade, switching to rockers will require going about 5 cms longer due to how the rockers turn up about 10-15 inches back from the tip. Rather than go into all the brands, my advice is to get out and demo the new models. Go up about five cms longer than your current skis.

It’s

hard to believe that shaped skis have been around for nearly two decades. Wider tips and tails giving skis deeper sidecuts changed not only the way we buy skis, but also the way we ski. Prior to shaped skis, only racers and very good skiers carved turns. Today, skiers at all but the lowest levels can be seen carving turns. The shaped skis are also skied in shorter lengths making skiing easier to learn. The revolution turned to an evolution and hundreds of models allow skiers to select a ski designed to exactly fit their needs. There are skis for soft snow, hard pack, groomed runs, off piste and racing. Men race World Cup GS on 185 cm skis, down from 204-209 before the shapes came along and they race Slalom on 165s. This seemed to be all we needed, but now the “Rockers” are here. For the last two or three years, every ski company has been developing rockered models. Simply put, this is a reverse camber. If you lay a traditional cambered ski flat on the floor, the ski under the center will not touch the floor. This was important in giving skis full length edge hold. Now new materials and construction techniques make it possible to have a ski without such camber to still have good edge hold. At the same time, this rockering makes skis easier to turn. Rockers come in three variations, full rocker (no camber at all), tip and tail rocker, (turned up and slightly softer tip and tail with traditional camber under foot) and tip rocker (traditional camber waist and tail with softer turned up tip). F ull rocker is for skiing off piste, ungrooomed and soft snow. Tip and tail is for varying conditions going back and forth from off piste to groomed runs and tip rocker for primarily skiing

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There is one other important point. As technolog y has improved it has trickled down to lower priced models. You can spend $1500 for the top models with bindings, but you can also buy skis and bindings for $400-600. I have made it a point to try a number of these in recent years, and most ski very well. Unless you’re a very aggressive high speed skier these lower priced models could fill your needs. Give them a try. The most important item in ski gear is your boots, and they are also improving rapidly, with better fitting the key factor. One advantage of the shorter and softer skis we’re on is that we can get adequate performance out of softer and less expensive boots. We don’t need the stiff race boots we used to push 200210 cm skis around.

I still ski race-skis most of the time, but where race boots range from 120 to 150 in flex, I’m now in a 110 flex and it’s plenty as long as the fit is snug. Probably the most innovative boot in fit is the Fischer Vacuum, where the shell is heated and formed to your foot and ankle. After all, it’s not the soft inner boot that causes pressure it’s the hard shell. Obviously, this kind of fit is only demanded by very good skiers and those with very tough fitting problems. Prices range from $625 to $950 which is in line with comparable foam models. Flex ratings range from 150 for racers down to 110 for recreational skiers.

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One boot that has come on strong in the last decade is Dalbello. This company got a big jump by providing an easy to fit rental boot and that reputation for good fit has followed it into the retail market. Dalbello has a full line of performance from race to recreational in a variety of flexes.

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There are two Phoenix models with air fit for those looking for comfort and they come in a 102 last for wider feet. There are also some 104 last models for extra wide feet. The point is that even within the same brand there are numerous fit options giving skiers plenty of chances to get a good fit.

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Tecnica has the usual full line from recreational to racing with plenty of fit options. The Inferno race models come in 95 or 98 lasts and flex ratings from 110 to 150. Racers know what they want so let’s go with recreational and high performance boots. The Cochise has a power strap with a buckle in place of the fourth buckle and the extra pressure allows the skier to get more pull on the crucial ankle buckle.

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Skiing and shooting for sport

Skis and boots from page 3

Most sk iers ca n f ind a f it in t heir regular models but for a precise fit the I.D. Thermo liners are heat moldable. Dalbello is also a lot of boot for the money.

Go with an open mind to a ski shop you have developed a relationship with. Let the boot fitter check your feet and recommend the right boot.

Going through the various models from t he dif ferent ma nufacturers shows that all have plenty of options in fit and performance. Lange, for example used to be known as a boot for racers only.

Remember that with today’s shorter, easier turning skis, you can get by with a lot less boot.

The years I spent patrolling in them I learned that on super cold days, I needed to have two strong friends in the top shack to get them off to warm my feet. They were that stiff. Great performance but that’s no longer true. Today’s L a nge’s c ome i n s of ter models for lower level skiers and last widths can accommodate wider feet.

Unless you’re a very aggressive advanced skier you don’t need that stiff race boot. A softer f lex will be easier to get on a nd of f, more com for table to we a r a l l day and less expensive.

Nordica has always been a top performer a nd their line up has models for all levels. We can say the same for Alpina, Salomon, and Head. There a re too ma ny features to list, which leaves us w it h one important bit of advice when searching for new boots.

By Craig W. Armstrong Feature Writer

M

any modern sports were derived from life’s necessities and biathlon is a perfect example. For millions of years, man has traversed the frozen land in search of food, and when the food was found, he relied on his skill as a marksman to make the kill. To this day, there are places in the world where people still hunt and kill their own food. Biathlon is a sport that combines cross-country skiing with precision target shooting, taking the skills needed to survive and creating a sport enjoyed around the world. A summer version of biathlon exists, but when most people think about the sport, they think of the winter version. The sport requires proficiency in many things. Competitors must have strength, speed and endurance to excel in the skiing portion of the event. Biathletes must also be able to shut down their adrenaline and focus on target shooting. For this, they need concentration and a steady hand. Biathlon originated in Norway and the early competitions took place among the Norwegian military. The event was a demonstration sport in the Winter Games for many years until it became a medal sport in 1960. This is where most westerners were first exposed to the sport. The sport has five disciplines: individual, sprint, pursuit, mass start and relay. It is a race against the clock.

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In the individual competition, male athletes compete at a 20km distance and female athletes at 15km. There are four shooting stages. Two of them are shot from a standing position and t wo are shot from a prone position (lying on the stomach). Each missed shot results in one minute added to the athlete’s final time. The sprint works a little differently. The distance is shorter and there are only two shooting rounds. Instead of time added, a missed shot results in a penalty lap before continuing. In the pursuit discipline, the biathlete’s sprint time comes into play. This event features a staggered start. The athlete’s starting position is determined by their time in the sprint. Like in the sprint, a missed shot results in a penalty lap. In the mass start event, all competitors begin at once. However, competitors begin at the shooting range rather than a starting line. There are four shooting stages, two standing and two prone, and again, missed shots result in penalty laps. Finally, the relay event is comprised of teams. Four biathletes compete, with each taking a shooting and skiing stage. Missed shots result in penalty laps and nobody wants to be that person. Biathlon is a sport of speed and skill, one that holds glory for some. It’s a sport that flexes the skills human beings needed to survive.

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Expert tips to provide Maine-native birds with basic needs this winter

W

inter is prime time for attracting birds. Beckoning birds to your backyard in winter can be easier than in any other season if you provide what they need to weather and survive the coldest months.

Suet. For maximum calories, suet is an optimum winter food choice. Cole’s offers no-melt suet cakes as well as suet specialty feed blends adding nuts, seed and other enticing elements into the suet.

Scarcity of natural available food, cold temperatures, and severe storms push bird mortality high all winter long. You can help birds meet their nutritional needs during wintertime, and will surely be rewarded with a diverse, frequent flock of feathered friends.

Peanuts. From jays and titmice to nuthatches and chickadees, many backyard birds love this high-calorie, fat-rich nut. Because peanuts don’t freeze, they’re perfect for winter feeding.

There are lots of birdfeed to choose from, much of it is produced as a sideline business and can contain low-quality fill that birds just won’t eat. Some birdfeed has even been identified as containing toxins known to be harmful to wildlife. Responsible research on your birdfeed choices will provide birds with the food they require and protect them from toxic chemicals. Cole’s wild birdfeed offers a wide variety of seed, suet, and specialty products specifically formulated to attract birds. Their entire line of products is all natural; seed is top of the crop pulls with absolutely no fillers, preservatives, mineral oils, or pesticides, so you can be sure you’re giving your backyard birds the best in high-quality, safe, food choices they’ll love. Birding expert Elaine Cole offers some timely tips to ensure birds in your backyard this winter season.

Food Feeding birds is by far the simplest way to attract them. Adding the best winter bird food choices to your feeders when the temperatures drop, will give birds the extra energy they need to survive even the worst weather. Foods high in oil and fat are the most popular winter picks. Black oil sunflower seeds. Seeds have slightly thinner shells and a higher oil content than other types of sunflower seeds, making them a more efficient and nutritious food. Offer them in platform, tube or hopper feeders to attract a wide range of hungry birds. You can eliminate discarded shells (that lie under snow and damage new grass in spring) by serving Cole’s Sunflower Meats, with shells already removed.

Start now preparing your yard for winter so birds will learn it’s a safe place long before they’re in desperate need. By providing for birds' basic needs as cold weather approaches, it can be easy to attract birds to your yard in winter. You’ll enjoy their company even when the weather is at its worst. (Green Earth Media Group)

Niger. Also known as thistle seed is a favorite food for winter finches such as pine siskins, redpolls, and goldfinches. Another oily seed that offers lots of calories, niger helps birds store fat they need to keep warm. Fruit. Many songbirds that favor fruit migrate in winter, but many other birds that stay in snowy areas year-round will also enjoy the treat. Offer chopped apples, orange wedges, or banana slices, on platform feeders, spikes or nailed to trees. Chopped or dried fruit can also be added to suet mixtures. Cole’s Nutberry Suet combines fruits, nuts and seed, making it a perfect choice. Seed mixes. For convenient and economical winter feeding; nothing beats a good-quality birdseed mix. While birds can probably tell a good mix just by looking at it, humans cannot. Choose a mix that features large proportions of sunf lower seeds and millet, but avoid mixes with large proportions of unappetizing fillers such as wheat, milo and corn. Birds will pick out the yummy stuff and leave the filler – and a big mess – behind. Learn about seed mixes at www.coleswildbird.com Water. Fresh, liquid, moving water using birdbath spritzers or fountains will readily attract many backyard birds in winter. Add a heater to your water supply and you'll be surprised at the number of birds that use it. Shelter. A cozy place to roost will keep your backyard birds secure and comfortable even in the worst weather. Bird roost boxes and other shelters are essential to protect small birds from frigid, dropping temperatures. Offer birds a source of winter nesting material to use as insulation. Serve safely. Position bird feeders in a safe place to protect them and pay attention to prints in the snow to learn what predators may be threatening your feeders.

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Coolest sport in the world: Snowboarding in Maine Local activities: Three great ways to beat cabin fever By Christina LeBlanc Feature Writer / Photographer

want to save a few bucks can pick up used boots, bindings, and boards.

S

“It’s typically the same cost as two to four days of rental,” Petrocelli said. “Those who are confident they’re going to like it usually just jump in to some used gear.”

nowboarding is “the coolest sport in the world,” according to Jeremy Petrocelli, ow ner of Back woods Snowboards & Skateboards in Auburn. “It’s a great way to get outside and experience winter in Maine,” he said. With locations like Lost Valley, Sugarloaf, Sunday River, and Saddleback nearby, it’s a great time to try the sport. A board, boots, bindings, and a helmet are the necessary gear for a snowboarder. There are also accessories like goggles and waterproof outerwear available, so each boarder can customize their look and gear. Ask your gear sellers what their favorite brands are, if you’re just starting out.

The benef it of ow ning your ow n board, boots, and bindings is that it’s ready for you specifically every time you use it, rather than having to be adjusted by various people after each rental. It’s a good idea to check with colleges and other organizations for deals as well. Students with a Central Maine Community College ID can get into Lost Valley in Auburn for free all winter long.

“I know what I’ll be doing every Thursday before my night class,” said Chris Bubier, of Jay, a student at CMCC. Bubier has been snowboarding for about eight years. “It looks cooler than skiing and it gives me something to do in the winter that I enjoy.” E r i c L a p o i n t e , o f Wa l e s , h a s b e e n snowboarding for five years and, as a first-year CMCC student, also plans to take advantage of the free season pass. “A lot of my friends snowboard, so it’s a good way to hang out with them,” Lapointe said. “It’s a lot of fun once you get to know what you’re doing.” You don’t have to have any special skills to lea rn to snowboa rd. According to Petro-

College students Chris Bubier, left, and Eric Lapointe, right, enjoy snowboarding on local slopes. celli, most if not a ll of the sk i mountains in Maine offer lessons and gear rentals for those who want to ease into the sport. “Lessons aren’t required or needed, but it’s a great way to get into the sport,” Petrocelli said. “You can do weekly group lessons or more of a private lesson.” Those who are good at other board sports, like skateboarding, may have an even easier time picking up snowboarding skills.

“We are very rider-driven, so we literally ride all the brands that we sell,” said Petrocelli of h i s Back wood s te a m . E x per ienc e d snowboarders will be able to offer good advice on which brands and styles are optimal.

Bubier and Lapointe have some tips for beginners. “Learn to stop f irst,” Bubier advised. It will cut down on falls and the potential for injuries.

Despite the costs associated with gear and passes to the slopes, snowboarding doesn’t have to be an expensive hobby. Backwoods accepts trade-ins on gear, so beginners who

Lapointe encourages beginners to keep their heads up. “You’re not going to be a professional your first couple of times out. Don’t get discouraged.” Petrocelli encourages Mainers to also not get discouraged if they don’t see a ton of snow in their backyards during the winter. Snow conditions stay great at local mountains, with help from snow-making, and slopes are ready from November all the way through April sometimes.

Snowboarding is “the coolest sport in the world,” according to Jeremy Petrocelli, owner of Backwoods Snowboards & Skateboards in Auburn.

“T he te ch nolog y a nd snow m a k i ng i s incredible,” Petrocelli said. “It’s a longer season than most people think.”

By Deborah Conway Feature Writer / Photographer

that they stock.” Look for those lists in publications like The Maine Sportsman magazine.

The

Graves has all of the equipment that he needs for a successful day of ice fishing, including essentials like an ice shack and auger. However, if he didn’t, such equipment could be rented or purchased from shops that sell outdoor sports equipment. Many such shops also carry trap packages, line, hooks, and weights, as well as bait.

beauty of Maine’s woods and mountains has been a source of inspiration for poets such as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was born and raised here in the early 1800s, and for immigrants such as the French Canadians who brought their rich culture of music, community, and hard work to Maine later that same century. It has also inspired and provided for the adventurous outdoorsmen whose sweat and blood built Maine’s system of trails through dense forests and drove the giant logs down rivers to build our cities and towns, and entrepreneurs such as Leon Leonwood Bean, founder of the L.L.Bean shop. With that same spirit of community, adventure, and entrepreneurship, Tim Morin, owner of Shaker Hill Outdoors, is working hard to make the beauty of Maine’s winters accessible to everyone who seeks inspiration and/or just good old family fun. According to w w w.farmersalmanac.com/ weather, “Real winter weather will return to areas from the Great Lakes into the Northeast, [and] most eastern states – as far south as the Gulf Coast – will see snowier than normal conditions and cooler temperatures.” Translation: Get out the winter toys and be ready for lots of snow and thicker ice that sticks around longer! "Snowshoeing is a really good activity for families,” said Morin. "It’s healthy, and there is a lot that you can see when you are walking slowly through the woods." With reasonably priced snowshoe rentals for kids, women, and men, and access to 16 acres of groomed trails on Shaker Hill in Poland,

Be sure to check out Maine’s laws pertaining to the use of live bait before you set your traps in any body of water. You can start by visiting www.maine.gov which has information about bait and fishing licenses.

Under your own steam, above left, or via the power of a snowmobile, as Tim Morin demonstrates above right, there are plenty of activities to keep you moving this winter. as well as other trails at the nearby Poland Spring Inn and Preservation Park, snowshoeing is a great way to enjoy the peaceful beauty of Maine. Although renters can pick up snowshoes at Shaker Hill Outdoors and take them anywhere they like, Morin said he would love to see a snowshoe club around here. The Appalachian Mountain Club offers winter group hikes that are appropriate for everyone from beginner to seasoned snowshoers, including an “Intro to Winter Hiking” trip at Bradbury Mountain on December 22, and many other day and multi-day snowshoe experiences. For more information about membership and other opportunities offered by the AMC, visit their website.

George Graves, of Hebron, said "I have been ice fishing since I was old enough to walk. It’s a great way to beat cabin fever!” Although his wife, Lisa, and daughter, Leah, join him on good days, "They won’t go when it’s super cold.” He can’t blame them. Though Graves loves the Maine outdoors, he’s not a big fan of the extreme cold either. Maine has lots of great lakes for ice fishing, and Graves likes Thompson Lake for its lake trout and salmon. He often fishes for rainbow trout on Middle and Upper Range Ponds in Poland. “The state stocks the lakes and ponds every year during the spring and fall,” said Graves, “and they post a stocking list of places

Like Graves, Morin has been ice fishing for nearly his entire life and with organized onice fish fries and chili cook-offs, and the camaraderie that blossoms in the many “shanty villages” that pop up on the frozen ponds, he described the experience as “much more than just fishing.” With groomed trails, courtesy of Poland Sno Travelers, a local snowmobile club, leading right up the parking lot at Shaker Hill Outdoors, Morin is particularly excited this year about the six new sleds, with electric starts and reverse, that he offers for rental. “Rentals,” he explained, "can give someone who is new to the sport or traveling great distances access to snowmobiling with a minimal investment.” As with his snowshoe rentals, customers can pick up a sled at Shaker Hill Outdoors and go anywhere.

Cabin fever

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Winter in Maine

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Snowmobile fun By Craig W. Armstrong Feature Writer

there are snowmobile clubs in your area. These organizations can be a great resource. There are several types of snowmobiles available, beginning with entry- level models or trail models. They usually go up to 70 horsepower and feature an electric start and reverse. They are lightweight and easy to handle.

Fun

Next, there are performance snowmobiles. These machines have higher horsepower, around 85, and are heavier. The increased weight is due to shock absorbers and a suspension system. Touring snowmobiles are designed for just that purpose. They usually seat two people. The backseat often has a backrest and the machine is equipped with a large windshield and side mirrors. These types of snowmobiles are If you are considering buying a snowmobile, there are a few designed for traveling a long distance in comfort. things to keep in mind. First, you’ll have to decide which kind If you want to climb, a mountain snowmobile may be for you. of machine to buy. The best place to start is with a friend who These machines are designed for mountain riding. They are is already familiar with the sport. Find out what they would longer and narrower than other snowmobiles. They have recommend, ask them to take you for a ride, or better yet, take specially designed long tracks and high horsepower engines. their snowmobile for a ride. Search the Internet to find out if Utility snowmobiles are wider and designed for towing. The wide snowmobiles work well in deep snow and get the job done. in the snow can take on many forms, and there are many sports that offer a thrill when the temperature dips. If skiing or skating isn’t your thing, how about snowmobiling? Riding a snowmobile or snow machine is relatively simple and doesn’t take a lot of training.

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You will need gear to go with your snowmobile. As with any winter outdoor sport, you will need to keep warm. Your clothing should be waterproof. Your best bet is to get a waterproof jacket, pants or bibs, boots, hat and gloves. Dress in layers, making sure your outer layer is waterproof.

some extra gloves and, most importantly, a shovel. Even snowmobiles get stuck in the snow. If you do get stuck, a shovel might be the only way of getting your machine free.

Once you have your gear and your ride, don’t forget safety. Never take off on a trek alone and always tell someone where you are going. Always know where you are going by having a trail map. Take a basic tool kit, first aid kit, your cell phone,

Snowmobiling is a great way to enjoy the cold weather and it doesn’t take a lot of training to get started. Most snowmobiles are easy to operate and have many safety features. Consider hitting the trails on a snowmobile of your very own.

Cabin fever from page 7

Morin is looking forward to a great year on the trails. “I have already put 25 snowmobiles through the shop this year in preparation for the big snowfalls that are forecasted by the Farmers Almanac."

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8

Winter in Maine

With The Lodge at Poland Spring Resort open year round, and plans on the

drawing board for the development of a Route 26 snowmobile corridor to access towns further down the road, Morin said he hopes that people will park their cars in the lot at Shaker Hill Outdoors (free of charge regardless of whether they purchase or rent anything from Morin) to take advantage of the amenities that exist along Route 26, including family dining at Cyndi’s Dockside on Middle Range Pond, the excitement of the new Casino in Oxford and an over-

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night stay at The Lodge. Offering snowmobile safety classes and up-to-date trail information, in addition to gear and rentals for winter fun, Shaker Hill Outdoors can help you make this a winter to remember. Likew ise, the Applachian Mountain Club can provide structure, planning and expert advice, as well as the opportunity to meet others who share a love of the Maine outdoors.

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Get smart about snow removal T here are many good things about a fresh coating of snow on the ground, especially for those who are avid outdoor enthusiasts. Fresh powder makes for ideal skiing conditions as well as opportunities for snowshoeing and snowboarding. Fresh snow also means having to clean up driveways and sidewalks. Snow shoveling is something many people do not enjoy, and it can potentially be dangerous if not done properly. The possibility of an accident or injury while shoveling snow is very real. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons states that the most common injuries associated with snow removal include sprains and strains, particularly in the back and shoulders. Individuals who use snowblowers are not immune to injury, either. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found that more than 6,000 people were injured using snowblowers in 2009. Injuries from snowblowers can include lacerations and finger amputations. Serious health problems may result from snow shoveling and snowblowing, including heart failure from overexertion. Many people are simply not physically fit enough to move heavy quantities of snow. Those who are may not treat snow removal as they would a strenuous exercise, which would need a warmup period so as not to strain muscles. Furthermore, improper body mechanics can put undue stress on the lower back and cause herniated discs or degeneration in the spine.

• Choose the right snow shovel or snowblower. Tools with a curved handle or an adjustable length handle will help you feel more comfortable and minimize slouching and arching of the back. Select a shovel or snowblower that is lightweight to reduce the amount of weight you have to move in addition to the weight of the snow. • Dress appropriately for the weather by layering clothing. Layering enables you to remain warm, but then shed layers should you become overheated. Sweating and having damp clothing could put you at risk for hypothermia. Be sure to cover extremities to guard against frostbite. • Warm up muscles by treating snow removal for what it is – a physical activity. Cold, tight muscles are more prone to injury, say experts. It is adviseable to spend 10 to 15 minutes with moderate exercise to get the body ready for the workout ahead. Take a brisk walk and stretch your arms, legs and back. It is best to limber up to avoid injury. • Begin shoveling slowly, lifting only small amounts of snow. Remember that it is not a race, and there are no prizes offered for getting the job done in record time. • Keep your back straight while bending your knees to lift snow. Position your feet wide apart for the best distribution of weight.

To make reduce the risk of injury when shoveling snow, consider the following tips.

• Carry the shovelfuls of snow to where you want them, rather than tossing snow to the side or over your shoulders, which can only injure your body. Try to keep your arms close to your body to reduce stress on the spine.

• Consult first with a doctor to get a health assessment. If you are restricted from certain strenuous exercises, it stands to reason that you will be restricted from shoveling snow as well. Many people underestimate just how strenuous snow removal can be.

• Never reach into the blades of a snowblower to dislodge snow or another obstruction. Turn off the snowblower first and wait for a few seconds to let the blades recoil before attempting to clear the blades.

Hunching over a snowblower or shovel can put an unnecessary strain on one's back. • If using a snowblower, always wear eye protection. • Turn off the engine any time you are walking away from the snowblower. • Keep tabs on the electrical cord so that you don't trip or accidentally run over it. • Do not allow children to operate the snowblower. If you are not feeling well, it is best to leave snow removal to someone else. Many lawn care services double as snow removal businesses once the seasons change. Check to see what plans your landscaper offers. Snow removal is a fact of life for many people each winter. Treat it as a strenuous exercise that requires proper technique to help minimize injuries. (Metro)

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9


Learning to glide on ice By Craig W. Armstrong Feature Writer

your heel. When tightening the laces, if you can stick several fingers between the tongue and your foot, they probably aren’t tight enough.

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hey make it look so easy. They skate around the rink in colorful costumes, doing triple salchows, triple toe loops and triple axels. Professional skaters make it look easy because of one thing, practice. Sliding across slick ice is not a natural act. But, with time and practice, you, too, can skate until they turn out the lights. Many people learn to skate when they are young. Arguably, this is easier, as children are more flexible, learn much more quickly, and let’s face it, have less distance to fall. But, even if you’re an adult, it’s not too late to learn how to ice skate. The first thing you need is a good pair of skates. Skates must fit properly. If you are buying skates, make sure the salesperson knows their stuff. If you are renting skates, the same principle applies. Your skates should not be too tight or too loose. You should be able to wiggle your toes but not move

Now, it’s time to get on the ice. Know that you are going to fall, probably over and over. The key to falling is falling the correct way. Try to fall from the lowest height. This means squatting and trying to land on your butt. It is best to try to land on one side or the other of your backside. Try not to fall backwards. This will increase the chance you will hit your head and have a serious injury. Skating is all about balance. Start by holding your arms out, just below your chest and bend your knees slightly. Lean forward while doing this. Leaning backward is a sure way to lose your balance and end up smacking your head on the ice. Once you start feeling your balance, it’s time to move. The first thing to remember is not to look down. Looking down will throw off your center of gravity and cause you to go too far forward. Keep your knees bent slightly, lean forward and lunge

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from one foot, while keeping the other leg straight. As you glide, switch sides and lunge with the other foot. The key here is transferring your weight from side to side. Push and glide with one leg and then with the other. To stop, bend your knees slightly and push out with both feet. Keep a small amount of pressure on your feet so they don’t slide out from under you. Learning to skate by reading about it is a far cry from getting onto the ice. Hopefully, now you have an idea of the basics and are ready to give it a try. Give yourself some time and expect to fail at first. With enough time and practice, you’ll soon be burning up the ice.

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Advertising Supplement to the Sun Journal, Lewiston, Maine, Sunday, December 9, 2012


Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation offers a variety of free winter sport opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities, such as Alpine Skiing, Nordic Skiing, Snowboarding, Snowshoeing, and Alpine Race Team. Join Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation at any of these four locations around Maine for fun and safe recreation opportunities this winter. Locations include: • Sunday River Ski Resort, Newry – Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding, Alpine Race Team • Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley – Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding • Saddleback, Rangeley - Alpine Skiing, Snowboarding • Sunday River Outdoor Center, Newry – Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing • Pineland Farms, New Gloucester – Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing

Snow is much more than white, wet and cold. There are many different facts about snow that make it unique and one of the more complex types of precipitation. Although snow appears white because of the countless tiny surfaces of each snowf lake crystal ref lecting most of the wavelengths of light, snowflakes are actually colorless. Snow may take on other colors thanks to particulates in the air or even from different strains of algae. Many places around the world hold certain world records pertaining to snow. The most snow to fall in a 24-hour period occurred in 1921 in Silver Lake, Colorado, where 76 inches of snow fell. However, the most snow to fall in one year took place on Mount Baker in the state of Washington. This area saw more than 1,000 inches of snowfall during the 1998-99 season.

Lessons start in early January and run through the beginning of April. Lessons are by appointment. To participate in Maine Adaptive programming, an indivdual must:

The world's largest snow sculpture was called “Romantic Feelings” and was 656 feet long and 115 feet tall. The sculpture was on display at the International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival in Heilongjiang Province in China.

9 Freeport: Sparkle Weekend. This popular holiday celebration kicks off with a parade of lights down Main Street, and the fun continues all weekend with visits from Santa, the famous talking Christmas tree, free hot cocoa stops, and horse-drawn carriage rides, craft fairs, free gift wrapping, a Tuba Christmas Concert, and more! Downtown Freeport. 11 Lewiston: CHRISTMAS WITH CORNILS, A KOTZSCHMAR CHRISTMAS AT THE BASILICA OF SAINTS PETER & PAUL. Join Ray Cornils, Portland's Municipal Organist, the Festival Brass, Androscoggin Chorale, John Corrie, director and the Parish Ringers for an evening of your favorite holiday music. Visit www.brownpapertickets.com/event/288836/. The Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, 122 Ash Street. 15 Bethel: Free horse-drawn wagon rides, 1-3 p.m. Meet at the north end of the town common near the Chapman Inn for rides through historic Bethel village.

JANUARY 1 Old Orchard Beach: Special Olympics Lobster Dip. Hundreds of daredevils jump in the Atlantic on New Year's Day to raise funds for Special Olympics Maine. Watch or join in on the beach in front of the Brunswick Hotel. 39 West Grand Avenue. For more information, visit www.specialolympicsmaine.org/.

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• Snowflakes come in many different shapes, and their sizes are determined by how many ice crystals connect together. • It can be too cold for snow to form. Without enough water droplets in the air, snow will not fall during extremely cold weather. • The largest snowflakes ever recorded fell in the state of Montana. The snowflakes were 15 inches in diameter. • The average snowflake falls at a speed of 3.1 miles per hour. • Snow that has been compacted after multiple melting and refreezing cycles is known as snow pack. • A snow storm describes a heavy snowfall that results in several inches of snowfall. A blizzard classifies a snow storm combined with wind, obscuring visibility. • Snow will either melt or sublimate. Sublimation is when snow turns from a solid form into a gaseous form without an intermediary liquid phase. (Metro)

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• Have a physical disability • Be 4 years or older (participants ages 4 & 5 will be scheduled for half-day lessons) • Be seizure free for three months and controlled with medication • Understand that he/she is participating in Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation • Be able to actively participate in their chosen sport • Provide necessary supervision and assistance for all nonlesson time • Be under 200 pounds if using sit-down equipment Questions? Call the program director at 800-639-7770 or 207-824-2440 ext 102. For more information, visit maineadaptive.org/.

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Winter in Maine 11


Keep busy with fun snow day activities • Put out bird seed or a suet block and feed the neighborhood birds. Compare the different species that come to grab an easy meal. Artistic kids can sketch what they see by looking out the window. • Shovel a shallow path in the snow around the yard to create a snow maze. Build snow blinds, behind which kids can hide.

• Check in on elderly friends and neighbors and offer to shovel their driveways and walkways, if necessary. • Pretend you are on a North Pole expedition and hike through the neighborhood in a quest to reach the summit of a mountain or to find a hidden treasure.

• Gather winter nature items, like pine cones and icicles. Look for frozen “fossils.”

• Use spray bottles or squirt bottles filled with water and food coloring to draw masterpieces in the snow.

• Brew a thermos full of hot chocolate and go sit out with the neighbors who are probably going a bit stir crazy as well.

• Gather a clean patch of snow and pour maple syrup onto it. Allow to harden and then enjoy homemade maple candies.

• Have a marathon video game battle.

• Play with toy trucks and cars in the snow.

• Explore and look for winter plants and other foliage that survive the chill. • Grab skates and head to an ice rink or solid (and safe) pond. • Decorate an outdoor tree with streamers and popcorn garland. • If it’s too chilly for a picnic in the snow, place a blanket on the family room floor and enjoy an indoor picnic. • Rent a movie and cuddle on the couch under blankets. • Put on some tunes and dance around the house. • Play a classic game, such as Twister(R) or Monopoly(R). • Take out modeling clay or dough and create different play figures or ornaments. • Whip up a hearty meal together, giving kids free reign over the ingredients. • Engage in a snowball fight. • Find the tallest hill in the area and test your bravery on the back of a sled.

• Sit in sunny windows and read books silently or to the group.

• Chase the dog around the backyard. Dogs often like to play in the snow, too.

• Catch up on beauty sleep by taking a nice nap under a warm quilt.

• Make sock puppets and put on a show.

• Bake a batch of brownies or cookies. (Metro)

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Winter in Maine 2012