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Local ski hill moves on with season after frigid temps forced closures

FORT KENT, Maine — Although the early and plentiful snow was welcomed by skiers and snowmobilers, the frigid temperatures that gripped the region and much of the country from late December through early January, played havoc with some local outdoor recreation businesses.

Fort Kent’s Lonesome Pine Trails was forced to close several times due to dangerously low windchill factors.

“We lost five operating days,” said LPT manager Mike Voisine. “We can’t make that up. It’s lost.”

The ski hill, which also had to cancel a school ski meet due to the cold weather, shut down for much of the local school Christmas vacation. That was a serious loss, Voisine said.

“That is a primary week for us,” he said Wednesday.

Voisine said he could not say exactly how big of a financial impact those lost days will have on the facility yet, since some of those losses could be made up if large crowds visit the ski area the rest of the winter.

“We really won’t’ know until the end of the season,” he said.

The facility generates revenue from season and day pass sales, rentals and concession sales.

“We are still selling season passes and people want to come out and ski,” said Voisine.

Wednesday the hill was open its regular midweek hours of 3 to 9 p.m., with lighted trails and lots of snowboarders and skiers on the trails and T-bar.

With the minus-34 degree wind chills of a week ago forgotten, for now, snow enthusiasts were out enjoying the powder.

Snow conditions were expected to change though, with warmer weather and rain moving into the area by the end of the week and into the weekend.

With lots of snow already on the ground and an excellent staff to keep the trails groomed, skiers should still be able to enjoy Lonesome Pine, at least until the next arctic blast forces people back inside.

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