Loring AFB Ski Area
Limestone, ME

Dates of operation unknown

Thanks to Missmerlot for pointing us to this lost area!

"There was an area on Loring AFB in Limestone, Maine. After seeing you on Chronicle I checked your list for several of the places I used to ski in the late 60s and 70s. Since Loring was missing, I thought I would inform you of its existence. It was a great little area. The instructor came over during the week from Mars Hill and many of the military wives took lessons and skied all winter. Perhaps it saved the sanity of many who were not accustomed to the long winter and the isolation of Aroostook county. I think there were two lifts. One was a poma lift, I think. There were two or three trails. I don't think it was open to the public

Other Information:

Greg Davis: I remember that ski area very well. I lived on Loring AFB for almost 9 years 1979-1987. As a dependent of a military family, we lived in the enlisted family quarters very near this area. I used to walk down the road to go skiing there. They had 3 main trails for downhill skiing. One went straight down. It was wide open with little chance of collision and technically simple enough for a 12 year old to manage. Occasionally little 'eddies' formed that provided mogul-type skiing. The second trail could be considered the 'Bunny slope'. This was the trail I went on the first time I ever strapped on a pair of ski boots. From the top, this trail went off the right side of the launch area. It had an easy grade to manage that made an almost semi-circle left handed turn all the way to the bottom. The third trail was the 'expert' trail to to us kids but could still be considered difficult for beginning adults. This trail 'split' the other two trails. It went through the patch of trees separating the two. It was a very tight trail with lots of 'eddies' that were known for sending people to the hospital. There was also a tubing hill on the right side of the hill (from the top). From the picture I see on your website, you can almost tell that there is a stream that passes in front of the lodge. This was always iced over but they managed to build a snow wall in front of it to protect the people from accidentally going in. Also from the picture, there was a large flat area on the far side of the lodge that was made into an ice skating rink. There was a tow rope system that started from about where the picture on your site was taken. Ahhh, the memories.

We took a trip back there during the summer of 92 before the base finally closed. From what I was told, the ski area there was still operational then. I hear it is no longer operational though (unless you just hike up the hill and ski down). Just so you know, the hill "seemed" large to a teenager but was probably small compared to what we think of today as a ski slope.

A view of the area, from Greg, likely early 1980s. 

J. Caswell: "I have recently visited this area during a TDY in JUN02.  The building has been completely torn apart and is just lying there.  I'm not sure what Loring Development Authority has in store for that area.  The last time I was TDY at Loring AFB (removing the Radome, tower and air traffic equipment, post closure) the lifts were gone but the building remained intact.  I remember driving my Chevy Suburban up the ski trail, which ended up coming out into one of the old antenna fields, then by the transmit/receive site and out to Access Hwy 89."

Rich Trentman remembers there being a rope tow at this area between 1969-1973 and had 3 runs. Thanks to Rich for sending us this picture of the base lodge: 


R. Martin: "Oh my God! That's the one place I felt I could get away from the Colonels constant booze problem. I first went there with Mr.Thatcher-head of the boy scouts and his son Chad Thatcher. We always made huge jumps midway down the hill bordering the archery course. That was between 83 and 85. I can remember that because Van Halen's 1984 album was releases while we were stationed at Loring and "Hot for teacher" was one of my favorites songs on that album."

Loring Reunion Committee:

"Did you know that Loring AFB hill to ski on is home made? It was a place to they used to put the remains of the old Hospital. The remains is the hill. They decided it would make a good place for down hill so they place a building then a lift and now you have the rest of the story. Will it was until they closed it in 1994, removed the lift and took down the building in 2001. Sad to see it gone."

Jeff:  I am active duty Air Force stationed at DFAS Defense Finance Accounting Service, Limestone, Maine. Yes there are a few military folks up here. Try 17 to exact for now.

The Ski area is all but gone now. That A frame building you have pictured was torn down about two years ago, and the only remaining structure is a couple of the posts that were part of the lift line. I too have driven my truck up those trails but can't do that anymore.

The Base Closure team has seen fit to give over most of the land that was Loring to the state which turned it into a wildlife sanctuary. It is all now part of the Aroostook State Wildlife Refuge!

Looking back on deciding to come here after leaving Europe, I have mixed emotions. While the very small close community helped my very young kids adjust to life in a new country (we lived in Germany for 10 years) and the schools were great in terms of getting my kids to speak English instead of German. Outside of that this has been a very tough assignment for both me and even tougher on my family. Aroostook was and still is very isolated.

The house that man speaks of walking from to go skiing was more then likely also torn down as the last of those base houses was demolished here on our street just last summer. The few remaining units that used to be Loring Drive are just ones left by the playground and the old transient quarters that were just past the old base billeting hotel now called the Heaven Inn privately leased.

Outside of the DFAS operation and the JOB corps project that found homes here on the old base there has not been much done in the way of turning this old base back over to the locals to use since most of them don't want any part of it. There is also a refurbishment plant here that rebuilds military vehicles.

Other then these and the Refuge nothing else has been done with this base since it closed. It is literally rotting away into to piles of debris.

Keith Nyberg: I lived at Loring form 76-80. I too lived in the housing area close to the ski chalet. That was where I first learned how to ski. I also remember being part of the crew that had the haunted house at the chalet every year, that was a lot of fun. My friends and I would also camp out there or by the lake during the summer. Thanks so much for the pictures and bringing the memories back.

JP Glisson: I happened to be browsing some websites on Loring and I stumbled in on your website. I saw those pics and I used to be there almost everyday. I was in the boy scouts and every Tuesday night we would all go skiing at the chalet. I remember all the good times we used to have there, on the little mountain. I heard it was the old scraps of the old hospital. But I remember working in the ski part sizing up skis and setting the bindings, I remember that cord that would some time catch people at the top and throw them behind the launching part of the top. I remember skiing there so much that me and all my friends were able to ski backwards down it. We used to build jumps and jump them until the ski patrol would come up and destroy them. I remember the TREE or WOODS trail that went through a little part of the woods and at the bottom all there was, was an orange nylon fence type thing that would attempt to stop any runaway skiers. A few of my friends tested that fence and lost a few times. Then there was the whole tubing down the hill that was so dangerous not that I looked back at it, I remember getting on the tube and speeding down the hill hitting a jump and then having to be careful that we didn't run into those big telephone poles??, that had the black padding on them... I think that's what they were. But all the memories up there, I miss all those good times we used to have there. we used to play ice hockey on that little lake to the right of the chalet.

Deb Smith: Oh my gosh! This is a walk down memory lane! I was between the ages of 9 and 13 when I skied at Loring AFB..... the memories are fabulous and the pictures have brought them back to life and in full view! I can remember the lodge like it was yesterday. I had leather inner and outer lace up ski boots and fischer skis.... wood of course! and long! My family moved from Loring after my dad, Lt.Col. Robert C. Smith was killed in a crash of a B-52 on September 4, 1969. Am looking for information about the crash and anyone else who was affected....kids, spouses.... my email is debbie.smith@lausd.net
I still ski today, my favorite place to go is Mammoth Mountain, in Mammoth California! Thanks for the memories!!!!

Brian Hamel of the Loring Development Authority: This former ski slope is now owned by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, which is operating the Aroostook National Wildlife Refuge at what is now referred to as the Loring Commerce Centre.  The ski slope is no longer operational after the Air Force sold off all the equipment before the base closed on September 30, 1994.  The lodge has also been demolished by USF&W.

"bb nn": I lived on Mehan Drive from 69-73. We would often walk to the Ski Area winter and summer. It was a beautiful area, despite how we all felt cut off from the "real world." I remember the pole wrapped with some type of bumper pad and how the shack was always crowded if the lift was operational. What I remember most is the kids who flew down that hill with not a clue as to what they were doing.

Does anyone else remember this ski area? If so, email us!

Last updated: October 16, 2004

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