NewEnglandSkiHistory.com
CT
|
MA
|
ME
|
NH
|
RI
|
VT
SkiNewEngland.net
 
Camden Snow Bowl
Camden Snow Bowl
Camden, Maine
Status: Open
First Season:1930s
Vertical Drop:950 feet
Standing Lifts:1 triple, 1 double, surface lifts
Past Lifts:Surface lifts
Left: Camden Snow Bowl
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
5/25/2017: Town of Camden to Request Federal Funds...
4/25/2017: Growing Problems at Camden Snow Bowl
4/27/2015: New Camden Snow Bowl Lodge Postponed
1/30/2015: Camden Snow Bowl Opens
SkiNewEngland.net Profile
Located in the coastal town of Camden, the Camden Snow Bowl has been a popular local ski area for decades.

Early Years

Winter activities on the slope of Ragged Mountain date back to at least 1936, when the town's first winter carnival was hosted. An estimated 10,000 people turned out to the weekend event, which spurred the development of a proper winter sports facility.

Located on the eastern slope of Ragged Mountain, work on the facility likely started in mid 1936. Lumber reportedly had to be ferried across Hosmer Pond, as the base area was blocked by woods and swamps. According to Camden Outing Club member Eugene Rich, the group "made every effort to keep our Snow Bowl development out of the papers for we felt we wanted a completely finished area before inviting the general public." Using all volunteer labor, the development debuted during the winter of 1937-38, with Governor Lewis Barrows lined up for the dedication of the facility in February.

Among the activities during the early years of the Snow Bowl included alpine skiing (featuring a rope tow), ice skating, and tobogganing. Skiing was also popular on the trail at nearby Mt. Megunticook.

Following World War II, the popularity of the Snow Bowl grew. According to the Lewiston Daily Sun, one January 1947 weekend saw over 10,000 visitors, with car license plates observed from as far away as Florida, Texas, and Washington. Improvements were made to the lodge circa the 1947-48 season, funded in part by fundraising dinners hosted by the outing club.

Not only was Camden Snow Bowl bringing in tourists from all over the country, but it was also considered integral for local residents. In 1948, the Town of Camden appropriated $1,000 to grant local students free use of the rope tow.

A new rope tow was purchased for the 1949-50 season, as the twelve year old lift had "gone to pieces all at once." In addition, a new wing was added to the main lodge with volunteer labor (including free architectural services). One year later, a novice slope was cleared on the other side of the rope tow.

Camden Snow Bowl Expands

The Big T-Bar circa the 1960s or 1970s
The Big T-Bar circa the 1960s or 1970s

After surviving multiple lean winters in the 1950s, plans were made to keep up with the skiing boon of the 1960s. New trails were reportedly cut circa 1963, followed by a lift line in 1965. Leveraging federal funding, the plans included a new lift, a new lodge, new trails, new power lines, and snowmaking equipment.

The new lift, a Hall T-Bar, was installed for the 1966-67 season, debuting on January 14, 1967. With 761 vertical feet of lift service, Camden Snow Bowl was now a mid-sized ski area. Ten months later, the base lodge burned down, side tracking the multi-year expansion plan. The snowmaking installation was postponed so that a new A frame lodge could be constructed in 1968.

In the spring of 1971, the Camden Snow Bowl sold a rope tow to a group of Belfast, Maine residents, who then developed the El Depot ski area with it.

Suffering from a series of bad winters in the early 1970s, the Camden Outing Club looked to move forward with snowmaking at the Snow Bowl. Lost Valley's owner Otto Wallingford was hired as a consultant. Funds were obtained from local, state, and federal government sources for the installation of a $120,000 Hedco system in the fall of 1973.

The snowmaking system was installed just in time, as only 14 inches of snowfall was recorded that winter. The new snowmaking system resulted in 40 days and 10 nights of skiing in a season that would have otherwise yielded 4 days from natural snowfall.

Dedham's Loss Is Camden's Gain

Installation of the double chairlift in 1975
Installation of the double chairlift in 1975

In the spring of 1974, former Ambassador, IBM World Trade Corporation President, Smugglers Notch owner, and Camden resident Arthur "Dick" Watson bought the foreclosed Bald Mountain from the Farmers Home Administration and donated the lifts to the Camden Snow Bowl.

The lifts were refurbished in early 1975 by a crew including Comprehensive Employment Training Act members. Installation of the chairlift and T-Bar took place via helicopter that fall.

Bad weather and increased electrical prices hit Camden Snow Bowl particularly hard during the winter of 1975-76, pushing it into financial jeopardy. While 1976-77 was a better season, the Camden Outing Club's financial situation resulted in it replacing General Manager Kenneth Hardy with Wendy Frutchy.

Camden Outing Club Steps Down

1978-79 was once again a tough season, with bad weather and only one functional snow gun resulting in a sizable operating loss. Subsequent winters took their toll, resulting in the operation falling deeply in debt and nearly closing in 1980. The Camden Outing Club ceased operating the ski area following the 1980-81 season.

The town soon started lease negotiations with Colorado businessman John Finn. Finn's proposal included making the Snow Bowl a year round area complete with an alpine slide and bumper boats. The deal fell through by the end of the summer of 1981.

Around that time, nearby Samoset Resort came to the rescue and agreed to run the Camden Snow Bowl for the 1981-82 season, purchasing two new snow guns to help hedge against subpar snowfall. The Samoset Resort continued operating the Snow Bowl through the 1983-84 season, however continued losses resulted in it handing the reins back to the town later that summer. Former Canadian national ski team member Russell Lagare was then hired by the town of Camden to run the ski area.

The late 1980s also took their toll on the ski area, as sales feel steeply with the start of the 1988-89 season. The 1989-90 season was no better, as the operating deficit was deeper than what the town could afford.

Into the Future?

Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Construction (2014)
Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Construction (2014)

The Ragged Mountain Recreation Area Foundation was created in 1991 with the intention of helping fund improvements at the Snow Bowl. A major fundraising campaign was commenced in 1997. Meanwhile, the area was in the midst of three consecutive seasons operationally in the red.

The snowmaking system received a boost in 2002 when the Snow Bowl received a federal grant for improvements.

In 2006, the Town of Camden hired Horizons Engineering to conduct a study and compile a long range plan for the ski area. Among the recommendations included improved snowmaking and a new chairlift.

In 2010, the former summit triple chairlift at Shawnee Peak was purchased by the Snow Bowl and placed in storage, in anticipation of the Ragged Mountain Redevelopment Project.

The triple chairlift and base lodge (2015)
The triple chairlift and base lodge (2015)

While work on the project began in March 2014, construction fell behind schedule, resulting in a January 29, 2015 opening with triple chairlift service. Nevertheless, the redevelopment resulted in top to bottom chairlift served trails, complete with improved snowmaking and LED lights for night skiing. The double chairlift was reinstalled for the 2015-16 season, improving beginner offerings.

NewEnglandSkiConditions.com Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
March95%    (1 report)95 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Mar. 21, 2015 by rocket21
Packed Powder, Loose Granular
Camden Snow Bowl on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
Town of Camden to Request Federal Funds to Construct New Snow Bowl Lodge - May. 25, 2017
Growing Problems at Camden Snow Bowl - Apr. 25, 2017
New Camden Snow Bowl Lodge Postponed - Apr. 27, 2015
Camden Snow Bowl Opens - Jan. 30, 2015
New Camden Snow Bowl Opening Date Announced - Jan. 21, 2015
Camden Snow Bowl Still Without Chairlift Service - Jan. 19, 2015
Smaller Ski Areas Struggling to Open - Jan. 4, 2015
Camden Snow Bowl Reopening Delayed Until 2015 - Dec. 30, 2014
REPORT: Camden Snow Bowl Construction Behind Schedule - Nov. 16, 2014
Saddleback Purchases Camden Snow Bowl T-Bar - Nov. 6, 2014
Camden Snow Bowl NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Expansion History
Project
Season
Ragged Mountain Redevelopment
Construction
2014-15

Image Gallery
1971-72 Eastern Ski Map1972-73 Eastern Ski MapFebruary 12, 1976 Bangor Daily NewsFebruary 12, 1981 Lewiston Daily SunCamden Snow Bowl Aerial Imagery, 1998 vs. 2011
View All Images in Camden Snow Bowl Image Gallery

Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
Pouring tower footings (October 2014)
Double
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
2015-16
The Summit Triple in storage in 2012
Summit Triple
Riblet
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
2014-15

Past Lifts
Seasons
The Big T-Bar circa the 2010s
Big T-Bar
Hall
T-Bar
1966-67
-
2013-14
The double chair in 2012
Chair
Hall
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1975-76
-
2013-14
The Little T-Bar in 2012
Little T-Bar
Hall
T-Bar
1975-76
-
2013-14

Maps
1970-71 Camden Snow Bowl Trail Map1973-74 Camden Snow Bowl Trail Map1986-87 Camden Snow Bowl Trail Map1999-00 Camden Snow Bowl Trail Map2000-01 Camden Snow Bowl Trail Map2001-02 Camden Snow Bowl Trail Map
View All Camden Snow Bowl Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2020s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2019-20$43.002019-20 Ticket Price Graph$529.002019-20 Season Pass Price Graph12.3 days2019-20 Skier Visit Graph
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2018-19$43.002018-19 Ticket Price Graph$529.002018-19 Season Pass Price Graph12.3 daysDecember 23March 302018-19 Skier Visit Graph
2017-18$43.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$529.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph12.3 daysDecember 22March 312017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$43.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$529.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph12.3 daysDecember 17March 192016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$39.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$529.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph13.6 daysJanuary 1March 622,0002015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$39.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$499.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph12.8 daysJanuary 29April 428,0002014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$35.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$468.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph13.4 daysDecember 20March 1630,0002013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$35.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$468.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph13.4 daysDecember 22March 2430,5922012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$35.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$468.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph13.4 daysDecember 23March 1826,8732011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$33.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph$446.002010-11 Season Pass Price Graph13.5 daysMarch 2733,7492010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$33.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$446.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph13.5 daysMarch 1330,3632009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$33.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$446.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph13.5 daysDecember 2427,6692008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$30.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$425.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph14.2 daysMarch 302007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$30.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$425.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph14.2 daysMarch 252006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$30.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$425.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph14.2 daysDecember 2217,7112005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-052004-05 Ticket Price Graph2004-05 Season Pass Price Graph26,2772004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$28.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$390.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph13.9 days28,8002003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$28.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$360.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph12.9 days32,0002002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$28.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$360.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph12.9 days30,0002001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$28.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph$360.002000-01 Season Pass Price Graph12.9 daysApril 135,0002000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-00$29.001999-00 Ticket Price Graph$360.001999-00 Season Pass Price Graph12.4 days1999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-99$28.001998-99 Ticket Price Graph$360.001998-99 Season Pass Price Graph12.9 days1998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1996-97$24.001996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price Graph1996-97 Skier Visit Graph
1990-911990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price GraphJanuary 61990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1987-881987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 191987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1986-87$16.001986-87 Ticket Price Graph1986-87 Season Pass Price Graph1986-87 Skier Visit Graph
1985-86$15.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph
1984-85$15.001984-85 Ticket Price Graph1984-85 Season Pass Price Graph1984-85 Skier Visit Graph
1983-84$11.001983-84 Ticket Price Graph1983-84 Season Pass Price Graph1983-84 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$11.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price Graph1982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-821981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price GraphMarch 141981-82 Skier Visit Graph
1980-81$9.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1978-79$9.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price Graph1978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-78$8.001977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price Graph1977-78 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$8.001976-77 Ticket Price Graph$140.001976-77 Season Pass Price Graph17.5 days1976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1972-73$5.001972-73 Ticket Price Graph1972-73 Season Pass Price Graph1972-73 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$4.751971-72 Ticket Price Graph$85.001971-72 Season Pass Price Graph17.9 days1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1970-71$4.251970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$4.251969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price Graph1969-70 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"The Snow Bowl was one of the best parts of growing up in Camden. It was such a major part of my childhood and provided endless winter entertainment, whether it be night skiing with friends, ski team, or picnicking with an amazing ocean view at the lean to off lookout, it made winters in Maine a whole lot of fun! "
Jessica Povec Brooks, Nov. 27, 2019
"I visited Camden Snow Bowl on 2/22/2014 and was able to ride the Big T-Bar before it was removed. It was one of the longest t-bars in the USA and was unique because it was longer than the chairlift. It was one of the nicest t-bars I have ridden because it was never too steep, too flat, too slow, or too fast. It was a great lift and hopefully they can sell it and get it reinstalled at another location.- Newenglandskier13"
Sam Shirley, Jul. 8, 2014
Add a memory of Camden Snow Bowl
First Name:
Last Name:
E-Mail Address:
Comments:



External Links
  • Camden Snow Bowl - official site
  • Last updated: November 25, 2019

    Also on NewEnglandSkiHistory.com...
    Shawnee Peak's Pleasant Past
    Shawnee Peak's Pleasant Past
    The only high speed quad area in New England to close
    The only high speed quad area in New England to close
    Once a large ski area, now defunct
    Once a large ski area, now defunct
    Before the resort, there was the Nose Dive
    Before the resort, there was the Nose Dive
    Berkshire Snow Basin, Swift River, and the Ninja Turtles
    Berkshire Snow Basin, Swift River, and the Ninja Turtles
    West Bowl at Jay Peak?
    West Bowl at Jay Peak?
       CCC Trails    Cancelled Ski Areas    Expansions    Lifts    Management    Maps    News    Then and Now    Timelines    Topics    In The Press    Links    Site Map    What's New    Feedback

    Copyright 2002-2019, All Rights Reserved.