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Acadia Winter Trails Association

The pristine crushed-stone surfaces of Acadia’s carriage roads make them ideal for cross-country skiing in wintertime. Add the park’s spectacular scenery and trail grooming by the volunteers of the Acadia Winter Trails Association, and it’s no wonder that skiing is a highlight of the season for many area residents and winter visitors alike.

Started in the late 1980s as a personal mission of several local ski enthusiasts, the Acadia Winter Trails Association (AWTA) formally partnered with Friends of Acadia and Acadia National Park in 1990. FOA began providing regular financial and fundraising assistance to the loyal groomers, and the park added maintenance and other support. Gradually, homemade grooming rigs (bed springs and cinder blocks) were replaced with specialized equipment.

In 2005, the family of Elizabeth R. (Leila) Bright established an equipment fund and an endowment in Leila’s memory and in honor of her love for skiing in Acadia. These provide annual grants to underwrite the purchase and maintenance of grooming equipment, safety training and equipment, fuel, volunteer and staff training and support, and other annual and capital needs of cross-country trail grooming in the park, supporting grooming activities in perpetuity.

37b_AWTA_groomingWith the additional equipment and program support, an expanded cadre of volunteers has been able to groom more ski routes—including the Aunt Betty’s Pond, Around Mountain, and Witch Hole carriage roads—sooner, taking full advantage of Mount Desert Island’s unpredictable snow season. Two teams of volunteers now operate from bases at the Hulls Cover Visitor Center and the Brown Mountain Gatehouse, setting tracks for classic and skate-style cross country skiing on routes established in the grooming agreement with the park. See the below map for route details. The volunteers typically log hundreds of hours per season keeping Acadia’s carriage roads primed for skiers.

Although the Bright Endowment provides significant long-term stability for the Acadia Winter Trails Association, it does not currently cover the entire cost of the program or allow for extra fuel costs (whether due to higher gas prices or wicked snowy winters!). To help support this program, contact Lisa Horsch Clark at 207-288-3340 or lisahorsch@friendsofacadia.org.

GROOMING STATUS

When available, two sets of volunteer groomers may maintain cross-country ski routes if new snow exceeds six inches and the road bed is frozen. The routes listed below are in priority order for each set of groomers. Visitors are asked to keep in mind that the Acadia Winter Trails Association is a volunteer committee; grooming is done at times that are both convenient and safe for our volunteers.

While groomers generally follow these routes, as illustrated on the map below, some areas within the routes listed may not be groomed. The information on this chart is accurate to the best of our knowledge; conditions may change between the time the routes are groomed and the information is posted. You can help us keep this information current. If you are out skiing and notice that conditions are different from what is listed here, please post to our Facebook page or contact us at 207-288-3340 or info@friendsofacadia.org. In addition, Acadia National Park posts grooming status updates to their Twitter feed @AcadiaNPS.

March 28, 2014: It’s spring skiing, friends… Volunteers groomed the Aunt Betty and Seven Bridges loop yesterday morning (Thursday), as well as the link from Aunt Betty to the Parkman Mountain parking lot (intersections 11 to 13 on the map below). We’ve also heard a report that the Upper Hadlock Loop is still enjoyable to ski, in spite of no grooming.

37d_SkiMap