As of 4:30 p.m. Sunday, March 15, seven Maine residents have been confirmed positive and five others are presumed positive for the coronavirus, according to the state. Click here for the latest coronavirus news, which the BDN has made free for the public. You can support this mission by purchasing a digital subscription.
Ski season is coming to what may be a premature end in Maine this year. Sunday River, Sugarloaf Mountain, and Hermon Mountain ski areas all announced Sunday that they would be suspending operations at the end of the day. Shawnee Peak announced it would be suspending operations at the close of business on Monday.
For Sunday River in Newry and Carrabassett Valley’s Sugarloaf, Maine’s largest ski area, the announcements left open a possibility of reopening this season. Both posted near-identical Facebook posts on Sunday afternoon, announcing the closure.
“[O]ur first responsibility is for the health and well being of our staff, guests, and community, and it is clear that this is the only appropriate and responsible course of action for us to take. This also means that all events scheduled for the remainder of the winter season have been cancelled,” the posts read.
The ski areas said that pre-purchased lift tickets, event tickets and lodging reservations for March 16 through April 30 would be automatically refunded.The move came just days after both ski areas canceled most events for the remainder of the season.
Likewise, Hermon Mountain Ski Area in Hermon also announced on their Facebook page on Sunday afternoon that they were shutting down for the season. The mountain will reopen for the 2020-21 season in December.
Shawnee Peak in Bridgton also announced the mountain would be suspending operations, effective at the end of the day on Monday. “We will continue to reassess the situation and will try to re-open due to our great snow cover,” the ski area wrote in a Facebook post on Sunday afternoon.
Ski season in Maine typically extends into May. During the 2018-19 season, Sugarloaf closed May 5. It closed May 6 the previous year. Due to mild conditions over the winter, the closing day was projected to be in mid-April for this season.
Black Mountain of Maine in Rumford, which hosted the Maine Jr. Ski Invitational on Sunday, remains open. The mountain indicated last week that they were making changes in response to the coronavirus including temporarily restricting access to their in-house water fountain and discontinuing the multi-use of disposable cups.