Times have changed in Maine; it used to be the majority of visitors only came for the three months of summer. But, over the last 20 years, visitors to the Maine Lobster Festival have caught on to what makes Maine so hot (culturally speaking) even in the winter months.

One of the biggest winter events in the Midcoast centers around the annual U.S. National Toboggan Championships held in February at the Camden Snow Bowl.

The week leading up to this nationally-acclaimed event of competitive toboggan racing begins with Camden Winterfest, which includes family-friendly events such as ice-carving, a polar plunge, a free-style ski and snowboarding competition, and a special slate of concerts and theatre events around the winter theme.

Then, kicking off the big weekend event of toboggan racing, nearly 425 toboggan teams race for the fastest times down a 400-foot-long wooden chute that dates back to 1936. Nearly 1,300 racers (in a variety of silly and outrageous costumes based on the creative name of their team) soar down the chute on toboggans with a spectator base of more than 5,000 people. For the past 27 years, people all over the world have flocked to bring a boost of enthusiasm and camaraderie to the town of Camden.

All weekend there is something for everyone, and not just the racers. With food and retail vendors warming up Hosmer Pond (where the racers glide out from the chute), there’s also a costume parade and tons of tailgating. Oh, there’s even outdoor mechanical bull rides for hearty adventurers!

And that’s not the only fun thing to do at the Camden Snow Bowl, a town-owned family ski area located at the base of Ragged Mountain. The Snow Bowl is one of the Midcoast’s four-season gems, with 20 runs, a 4,000-foot triple lift, snowmaking on more than 80 percent of the mountain, night skiing, snowboarding and even trails marked for snowshoes.

For your next vacation, consider all the winter activities your family can enjoy in Midcoast Maine. A vacation in Maine during the winter is a great way to enjoy the great outdoors. Who knows, maybe we will even see you and your team speeding down the toboggan chute!