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Cross-country skiing under the lights at Titcomb Mountain, Farmington

Cross-country skiing under the lights at Titcomb Mountain, Farmington

Cross-country skiing. AT NIGHT!

I’m not sure why it feels like such a rare treat (there’s nothing stopping us from slipping on a headlamp and heading out to ski after the sun clocks out for the day. Well, some places close at dusk, and we should respect that. And we shouldn’t trespass on private property. We’re not criminals, for Nordic’s sake! But aside from those things, there’s nothing stopping us)!

But skiing under the lights at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington DOES feel like a treat.

Titcomb Mountain in Farmington! Get your trail pass inside at the counter (adjacent to the snack counter). There are a bunch of tables and a warm fire to relax by inside, too.

Titcomb is a family-friendly place to ski – downhill or cross-country. The mountain might be small compared to its bigger cousins in Bethel and Carrabassett Valley, but with day passes from $5-$22 (free Friday night skiing in February!) and kid-friendly atmosphere, it’s a cool little community ski area.

The no-frills lodge has two rooms of tables (BYOLunch or buy a burger/grilled cheese/chowder/pizza from the snack counter) and a fireplace to warm up in front of.

And the 16 kilometers of cross-country trails are pretty sweet, too.

The Nordic trail system is right next to the ski hill. Shannon Bryan

A day pass for cross-country skiing is $10 and the trails are regularly groomed for classic and skate skiing. There’s also a rental shed, should you need to rent equipment.

Wendy on the cross-country trails at Titcomb Mountain in Farmington. Shannon Bryan photo

My friend Wendy and I made the two-hour drive from Portland in search of snow (we found it in Farmington!), arriving in the late afternoon to give us time to ski in daylight before the sun went down. The trails here are well marked for difficulty (grabbing a trail map at the lodge is always a good idea) and I loved skiing surrounded by trees (too many afternoons spent skiing on golf courses, perhaps).

One of the many trails signs at Titcomb Mountain. Shannon Bryan photo

There are some splendid hills here, too, that’ll give you a solid workout to go up and a fun weeeeeeeeeee! to go down.

Wendy zips downhill. Shannon Bryan photo
Me trying to skate ski on classic skis. At least I remained upright! Wendy Almeida photo
Shannon Bryan photo

And eventually, the sun goes down. (It’s the night skiing we came for, after all!)

Sunset at Titcomb Mountain, Farmington. Shannon Bryan photo

Full disclosure: These night skiing photos were actually taken a week after the daytime photos because I failed to realize that Titcomb Mountain closes at 4 p.m. on Sundays. Wendy and I left to get a beer in town (more on that below) and returned after dark to do some more skiing, only to discover complete darkness on the trails. No lights whatsoever. So I went back the following Saturday and that’s when I learned about THE BUTTON.

See that trailhead kiosk? There’s a green button on it. Press it and the lights come on! Shannon Bryan photos

The lights on the cross-country trails don’t turn on automatically, see. You need to hit the button located on the trailhead kiosk. I totally missed the button during my first visit, and an employee had to point it out to me during my second visit after I inquired, “When do the lights come on?” (The answer: When you hit the button. Magic!)

Did I feel foolish not knowing about the button a week earlier? Yup. Was it worth driving back to Farmington to ski at night and have the whole place to myself? Absolutely.

The trails at night. Shannon Bryan photo

Not all of the trails are lit, but there’s enough to keep you happily occupied for a while. And wow, is it pretty.

Ski-view. Shannon Bryan photo
Shannon Bryan photo
Shannon Bryan photo

For a ski break or apres-ski beer, check out Tuck’s Ale House on Main Street in Farmington. It’s just a seven-minute drive from Titcomb and their beer selection is impressive (the food selection, not so much. If you want a good meal, head to nearby The Homestead Kitchen, Bar and Bakery on Broadway).

Tuck’s Ale House on Main Street in Farmington. The people are nice and BEER. Shannon Bryan photos

Titcomb Mountain

180 Ski Slope Rd, Farmington
207-778-9031
www.titcombmountain.com
Find current trail conditions on the Titcomb Mountain Nordic Trails Facebook page: www.facebook.com/titcombmountainnordic

Day pass for Nordic skiing: $10
Hours: 3-6 p.m. M-TH, Fridays in February 4-8 p.m., 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.

This post was originally published Feb. 7, 2017

Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don't like "exercise" any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.