In March 2018 my husband and I joined three other skiers for a fun, 3-day guided trip at Maine Huts & Trails. The weather was great, the snow was limited but well-groomed, and the huts were comfy and welcoming. Best of all, Lani Love was our guide and provided gentle but confident guidance as we navigated the challenges of skiing down hills as backpacks pulled us backwards, dealing with a stomach bug picked up the night before the trip began, and a delaminating ski. We overcame the challenges thanks to tips on technique, a detour for one of us to a recovery hotel nearby, and gorilla glue. Along the way, we enjoyed local foods prepared with enthusiasm by the hut crews as well as local beers that tasted especially good at the end of the day of outdoor activity. We also learned about the fascinating systems that allow visitors to enjoy warmth, hot showers, and flush toilets at the off-the-grid huts. Staying at both the oldest hut in the system (Poplar) and the newest (Stratton Brook) offered insights on how design features evolved over time. Lani provided details of local history as well as Maine Guide knowledge of local flora and fauna. And hut guests from many different backgrounds offered lively conversation around the fireplace after dinner. In fact, we enjoyed the whole experience so much that my husband and I returned in August with two hiking buddies to hike “end-to-end,” visiting all four huts and including an extra day at Flagstaff Lake to take advantage of the kayaks and canoes there. Maine Huts & Trails is a great addition to outdoor life in the Maine woods!
I went on a two night cross country ski trip with two friends, on March 1, of this year. We lucked out by getting Lani as our guide. Not only was she extremely knowledgeable about the trails and surrounding countryside, but she was so pleasant and kind, even going so far as to attempt to fix my broken ski. We could have skied the trails without a guide, but Lani added so much positivity to our experience, that it was well worth the small additional cost.
I always wanted to do a ski tour of the Maine Huts and Tails but was unable to get my skiing friends to commit to joining me. As a single retired woman, I was not comfortable traveling solo in the winter, so when I learned of the guided trips I immediately signed up. I was not disappointed. Our guide was very familiar with the trail system and was able to tell us what to expect ahead. She knew the surrounding natural world, pointing out signs of wildlife and describing the landscape as we traveled, which surely I would have missed if not with a guide. She took us off the trail in a few spots to look at waterfalls and other beautiful scenery. She also helped us with the logistics of getting our bags transported and getting us settled into our bunkrooms. At each hut she introduced us to the staff, which made for a more personal experience. The huts themselves are beautiful and comfortable, with many luxuries such as hot showers, comfortable seating areas, and beer and wine for purchase. The food was excellent, and the staff friendly and helpful. We had a range of abilities in our group, and our guide encouraged us to go at our own pace, offering some tips to the less experienced skiers. This made the skiing enjoyable for everyone. Being in a group also enhanced the social aspects, especially at meals and in the evenings. It was an amazing experience to meet and spend time with like-minded individuals who love skiing and being outdoors. I highly recommend the guided tours offered by Maine Huts and Trails and would definitely join them again.
Karen Sutton MA
Five Day 4 Hut Guided Ski Tour, February 2018
I searched the internet for ski tours and was attracted to a guided ski tour with Maine Huts. A guided trip would enable us to focus on the skiing and not worry about navigating unfamiliar terrain. We could also travel with day packs because our gear would be shuttled via snowmobile to the next hut. An additional perk is that meals are prepared for you by the hut staff. I pitched the guided Maine Huts agenda to my friend. He was all in and we booked our trip. We met our guide, Lani Love, at the designated parking lot the first morning of our tour. Lani asked each of us about our level of x-country ski touring experience. Lani quickly assessed that our small tour group had differing ability levels. She encouraged everyone to ski at their own pace and meet periodically at designated spots along the trail for breaks and lunch. She took turns skiing with everyone, speeding up or slowing to periodically make contact with every skier throughout the day and she was a great source on information in-route; e.g., identifying animal tracks, history of the area, etc. We arrived at Grand Falls Hut for night one. I’ve stayed in “huts”, I’d call this structure a “chalet”. The building was warm inside, hot showers, with the aroma of dinner simmering in the kitchen. An added bonus is that beer and wine are available for purchase. Tour day one and the next four were bliss. Lani made a great trip even more enjoyable for us all. My only advice for this trip is to not challenge her to a game of Bananagrams.