The Camden Snow Bowl is a cool little community ski area that has a lot to offer. First off, it has a great view of the ocean from the upper trails. They say it is the only ocean view from a ski area in the eastern US. It's not just a little hill either. There is almost 900' of vertical. When the whole place is open there are 11 trails to ski (by their count) - which turns out to be 6 different skiable lines from top to bottom. They've got cruisers, nice glades, and some interesting narrow winding trails as well as some open groomers. Not much that's real challenging, but enough variety to keep my interest for a few hours. The main lift is a double chair, but to get to the very top you ride a funky old T-bar. Grooming was very good, with lots of nice corduroy early in the day. The lodge is a funky old A-frame from the 60's but I saw they are working on a plan to design and build a new one soon. The food was pretty basic but the price was modest. All the people I spoke to were pretty friendly, but didn't go out of their way to make sure I was having a good time. I noticed only one mountain ambassador checking lift tickets for a while. No pretense here. Not a lot of fancy ski clothes and it was hard to tell if the staff even had a uniform - except the ski school. There were lots of little kids on their pony lift and clearly lots of families skiing together. They also have a two lane tubing hill I didn't try. But by the sounds of the people over there it must have been pretty exciting. (Or maybe people on tubing hills always make a lot of noise.) Another unique thing about this little gem is their toboggan chute. Again I didn't try it, although I wish I had. But I checked it out at the end of the day and it was closed. It is a big long steep wooden ramp that has ice in the bottom and goes down a hillside onto the lake at the bottom. It looks like it would be a real trip. As the chute master was headed home he told me that toboggans go more than 40 mph down the ramp. I also saw that they hold the US National Toboggan Championships each winter. I'll have to come back to check that out sometime. All in all I would recommend this place if you are looking for a different experience from the big eastern ski mountains. It is especially well set up for families. You won't find lots of steep gnarly terrain, but It is definitely worth a visit, especially when the weather is clear and you can see the islands in Penobscot Bay from the top like the day I was there.
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