Big Rock Ski Area on Mars Hill
Big Rock Ski Area
Mars Hill, Maine
Status: Open
First Season:1960-61
Vertical Drop:980 feet
Standing Lifts:1 triple, 1 double, surface lifts
Past Lifts:Surface lifts
Left: Big Rock Ski Area on Mars Hill
Recent News: Profile
Located on the west face of 1,748 foot Mars Hill, Big Rock is the northernmost chairlift served ski area in New England.

Mars Hill Skiway

Lift served skiing on Mars Hill likely dates back to early 1961, when Mars Hill Skiway opened as a 615 vertical foot Pomalift served ski area. The area received publicity from the New York Times during its first full season, 1961-62, when it was noted the hilltop was the first place in the country to receive sunrays from the rising sun for much of the year.

A new beginner slope was constructed for the 1966-67 season.

The Pierce Family Purchases Mars Hill

The North Star Double in 2010
The North Star Double in 2010

Wendell and Marie Pierce's Ski Way of Aroostook, Inc. was registered as a Maine corporation in October of 1967, taking over the ski area that year. Soon thereafter, Mars Hill Skiway likely became known as Big Rock.

The upper mountain of the ski area may have become lift served with the installation of a Poma lift in 1978. Around this time, the Pierce family acquired Burnt Meadow Mountain in western Maine, operating it for a few seasons before it closed.

After decades of surface lift service, Big Rock installed a Mueller double chairlift from Evergreen Valley, ME as its summit lift for the 1993-94 season, making it the northernmost chairlift served ski area in New England.

Maine Winter Sports Center Purchases Big Rock

After over a quarter of a century of ownership, the Pierces looked to sell Big Rock. In the fall of 2000, Maine Winter Sports Center purchased the 290 acre Big Rock Ski Area, thanks in large part to a $1.5 million grant from the Libra Foundation. Immediate improvements included more parking, a better access road, and a new 1.5 mile trail.

Both snowmaking capabilities and night skiing terrain were expanded for the 2002-03 season. An additional $1.2 million from the Libra Foundation was invested in Big Rock for the 2004-2005 season, headlined by the installation of a new beginner Doppelmayr triple chairlift and a Magic Carpet surface lift.

A $40,000 tubing park was opened for the 2006-07 season. The 5 acre slope was served by a handle tow. Meanwhile, the $55 million Mars Hill Wind Project constructed on the summit ridge of Mars Hill, beginning operation in 2007.

Big Rock After Maine Winter Sports Center

The base area (2017)
The base area (2017)

In June of 2013, Maine Winter Sports Center announced its intentions to close Big Rock and Black Mountain and thus exit the alpine ski business. Black Mountain was subsequently transferred to a local non-profit, thereby avoiding closure. Meanwhile, fundraising efforts began during the summer of 2013 with the hopes of generating enough money to keep Big Rock open. That fall, Maine Winter Sports Center transferred the ski area to a local non-profit organization, which was able to keep the mountain open. Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
March85%    (1 report)85 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Mar. 11, 2017 by rocket21
Packed Powder, Packed Powder
Big Rock Ski Area on

Image Gallery
Big Rock Aerial Imagery, 1996 vs. 2011
View All Images in Big Rock Ski Area Image Gallery

Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
The lift line (2010)
North Star Double
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
The top terminal (2010)
South Star Triple
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed

Past Lifts
The base terminal (2017)
Big Rock Express


Likely a former footing (2017)
Summit Poma


2002 Big Rock Development Map2005-06 Big Rock Trail Map2006-07 Big Rock Trail Map2009-10 Big Rock Trail Map2012-13 Big Rock Trail Map2013-14 Big Rock Trail Map
View All Big Rock Ski Area Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2018-19$40.002018-19 Ticket Price Graph$395.002018-19 Season Pass Price Graph9.9 daysDecember 1April 142018-19 Skier Visit Graph
2017-18$38.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$385.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysDecember 16April 222017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$38.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$385.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysDecember 10April 92016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$38.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$385.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysDecember 28April 102015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$38.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$385.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph10.1 daysDecember 13April 122014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$35.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$350.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysDecember 14April 132013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$15.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$150.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysDecember 15April 62012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$30.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$300.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph10.0 daysDecember 23March 242011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$30.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph$275.002010-11 Season Pass Price Graph9.2 daysDecember 11April 32010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$30.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$275.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph9.2 daysMarch 272009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$30.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$275.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph9.2 days2008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$28.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$250.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph8.9 days2007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$25.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$325.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph13.0 daysDecember 16April 12006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$25.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$325.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph13.0 days2005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-05$20.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$325.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph16.3 days2004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-04$20.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$325.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph16.3 days16,0002003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-032002-03 Ticket Price Graph2002-03 Season Pass Price Graph22,0002002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-022001-02 Ticket Price Graph2001-02 Season Pass Price Graph15,0002001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-012000-01 Ticket Price Graph2000-01 Season Pass Price Graph11,0002000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1985-86$10.001985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph1985-86 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"The area is still very much alive and operating."
Eric Hendrickson, Mar. 13, 2014
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External Links
  • Big Rock Ski Area - official site
  • Last updated: November 6, 2017

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