Difficulty: Easy to moderate. Anywhere from 6 to 9 miles of trails are groomed on the golf course for classic nordic skiing and skate skiing on a regular basis. These trails travel over gentle hills and along the edges of the course greens. Expect to be exposed to the sun and wind much of the time.
How to get there: The physical address is 278 Webster Avenue in Bangor. From Interstate 95 Exit 183, turn east on Route 2 and take the first road — Norway Road — on your right. Drive 0.4 mile, then turn right onto Webster Avenue. Drive about 0.2 mile and the main parking lot for the golf course will be on your left. It is plowed during the winter. Continue another 0.1 mile on Webster Avenue to find a second, much smaller parking area, also on your left.
Information: After Bangor Municipal Golf Course closes each November, it isn’t long before the property sees a new type of athlete. As soon as snow covers the course’s well-manicured lawns, it becomes a playground for winter recreators — cross-country skiers, snowshoers and ice skaters alike. With small, rolling hills and open terrain, it’s the perfect place for people of all ages and skill levels to enjoy the snow.
In the winter of 2012-13, the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department and the Penobscot Valley Ski Club teamed to design and groom trails for classic and skate skiing on the property. These trails, which can total up to 9 miles, explore small hills and travel along the edges of the forest as they circle the greens. The trails are now regularly groomed by the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department, with support from PVSC, and are free for the public to use.
Within this network, a small loop trail is lit in the evening for skiers to enjoy after the sun goes down. This trail starts near the course’s smaller parking area.
The golf course also features a pond not far from the main parking lot that is occasionally cleared of snow for ice skating.
Snowshoers can roam the entire 27-hole course, granted they stay off the groomed ski trails. Snowshoe tracks, footprints and dog prints can seriously degrade the quality of ski trails.
The golf course is often used by the Penobscot Valley Ski Club for beginner clinics and evening skis. Founded in 1941, the club is one of Maine’s oldest ski organizations. Since its inception, the club has offered cross-country and downhill ski trips to its members, as well as competitions and clinics. The club currently has more than 250 members, with many of those members volunteering their time and experience to club activities, such as trail grooming, instruction and event planning.
Club membership is open to all, with annual dues of $28 per person and $40 per family. Some club events and activities are for members only, though many are open to the public. To learn more about the club, visit the Penobscot Valley Ski Club website at www.pvskiclub.org.
The Bangor Municipal Golf Course is a unit of the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department. To learn more about the golf course, visit www.bangorgc.com or call the department at 992-4490.
Personal note: After the rain and warm spells of last winter, I don’t plan to complain about the cold, snow and ice we’ve seen so far this winter. This type of weather makes winter sports possible, and without winter sports, what’ve we got to look forward to this time of year?
So on Sunday, when the temperature was predicted to top off at 10 degrees Fahrenheit, I simply stuffed some heat packets in my mittens and headed outside to play in the powder.
It was my first time skiing at Bangor Municipal Golf Course. I’d heard about it from several Bangor area skiers, and I figured it was time to check it out for myself. Without hesitation, my husband, Derek, joined me. We were both eager to ski after spending so little time on our skis last winter.
Starting at the main parking area, we looked out over the rolling hills of the course and beyond, to the small mountains and hills in the east. The sun shone bright, illuminating the fresh snow, which drifted over the groomed trails, covering them completely in some areas. Nevertheless, we found it easy to navigate the course, following the trails were we could find them, and simply making our own path where we could not. The skiing conditions were great on and off trail.
Our outing lasted nearly two hours, and during that time, we came across a few dog walkers, snowshoers and skiers, as well as people clearing off the pond with a shovel, presumably for ice skating. While I typically just wave or say hello to other trail users, I did take the time to stop and chat with two skiers in particular so I could ask to take their photo. These skiers were Bangor resident Caroline Noblet and her 7-year-old daughter, Annika. They lived near the golf course and enjoyed the trails on a regular basis. Annika rented her ski equipment in early December through Bangor Parks and Recreation, which works with the Maine-based nonprofit Outdoor Sport Institute (formerly called the Maine Winter Sports Center) to offer this rental service for children in grades K through 8 in Bangor and other towns throughout the state.
We skied with the mother-daughter duo for a few minutes, then we went our separate ways, them back to their house and us uphill to the main parking area.