It's been a tough winter for snow sports in this corner of Maine. Most of our snowfalls have ended with rain, leaving us with little snowpack to maintain or play on. Somehow, though, the groomer-magicians at Rangeley Lakes Trail Center have managed to maintain some perfect snow in these challenging conditions.
It doesn't hurt that Rangeley sits inland, at a higher elevation in the western foothills and mountains of Maine. They are always more likely to accumulate more snow and less likely to see rain during a snowfall. This year, it has given them a serious advantage over other nordic centers, even those in nearby communities.
The trail system comprises 55k of adventure, some dedicated to Nordic skiing and some singletrack reserved for fatbikes and snowshoes. All of it is groomed: the nordic has wide lanes with wild vistas while the singletrack is maintained with a snow dog groomer that keeps the trails tight for a more intimate feel in the woods. Dogs are welcome on certain trails, and it restores my faith in humanity to see how well their owners respect those boundaries.
The nordic system is in consistently lovely condition. The trails are well marked and well groomed, with classic track and a skate lane available on most trails. Although RLTC is nestled at the base of Saddleback Mountain, you don't need to tackle too many hills to enjoy yourself. You can create, combine and recombine loops from 1-10 miles and ski until you drop.
The yurt will serve as basecamp for your day's adventure. It's where you will buy your passes, rent gear, enjoy a meal and probably make new friends. I can't say enough nice things about the folks staffing the yurt: they are justifiably proud of their facility and enjoy sharing it with new folks.
Rangeley Lakes Trail Center is hosts a variety of fantastic sporting events for skiers, fat-tire bikers and snowshoers. Be sure to check out their calendar for a schedule of all the upcoming fun!