My first skiing experience was 10 years ago. I was 18 and took the big hill without a single lesson. Just moments into the first run, I realized I didn’t know how to slow my downhill approach. My rental skis tumbled through the air – into the woods – just seconds before I followed behind. It was a bad experience to say the least. That all changed last weekend. Since I began working at L.L.Bean, I realized everyone enjoys alpine skiing and I should give it a second chance. So, I headed West.
Saddleback’s Riding School was rated #2 for Top Ten Places To Learn To Ski In New England in 2013 and they boast plenty-of-face-time, individually-tailored ski lessons on classic New England terrain. It didn’t hurt that 2-hour lessons were only $75 each (including rentals and lift ticket). And if you buy two lessons, your third is free. If you’re looking to learn to ski – ask for “Lori” – she provided the best experience we could ask for. This isn’t to say that other Maine mountains don’t have a superior program – I was simply looking for affordability.
In 2 days , 4 lesson-hours and 12 full hours of mountain time, I left able to control my speed, confident in my turns, well-versed in proper form and really excited about my new sport. Saddleback Mountain is definitely a haul for those of us near Portland, but the locals say you can count on beautiful drive, smaller crowds, a family atmosphere and some of the lowest ski prices in New England.
What to look for:
$29 Maine Days (available to Maine residents on Feb 2, Mar 2 and Apr 6)