Ski shop owners and local resorts are gearing up for another expected busy winter season.

MAINE, USA — When thinking of Maine tourism, one probably pictures busy beaches or dining on the docks. But Maine is proving itself to be a four-season destination.

According to the Maine Office of Tourism, more than 2.8 million visitors traveled to the state between Dec. 2021-April 2022. Meanwhile, 658,400 Mainers stayed at hotels or rentals across the state, enjoying all Maine has to offer year-round.

Resorts across the state have opened or are gearing up to open for the ski season soon. Some resorts and shops have seen an increase in demand since the pandemic, and industry experts say there are no signs of that slowing down.

“A lot of these outdoor activities saw, you know, pretty big increases in demand and sales and reservations, and, you know, I think you saw that across the board in the industry,” Sugarloaf’s Director of Marketing, Ethan Austin, said.

Sugarloaf opened its ski season a couple of weeks ago and it’s seen a strong number of visitors, according to Austin.

“We’re pretty optimistic as long as the weather cooperates a little bit that it’ll be a good season,” Austin said.

Outdoor activities help people escape cabin fever like so many experience during the wintertime and even during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Everyone just needed an outlet to get outside,” Chris Hopper, manager at Ski Rack Sports in Bangor, said.

Ski Rack Sports saw high demand for its equipment while people were trying to spend time outdoors during the pandemic, but Hopper said store sales haven’t shown any signs of demand decreasing.

“We had a warm November and still people are still very excited about wanting to get outdoors,” Hopper said.

Austin said Sugarloaf’s early season results indicate a continued heavy interest in skiing and snowboarding.