Mars Hill, ME, Aug. 30--The Maine Winter Sports Center (MWSC), which has been developing two sites in Maine's rural Aroostook County to serve as biathlon training centers, will purchase Big Rock Ski Area with the help of a $1.5 million grant. The Portland-based Libra Foundation-a $350 million philanthropic organization set up to improve the quality of life of Maine residents-has already given MWSC two previous grants totalling $4.5 million for the development of what the center hopes will become both training sites for world-class biathletes as well as community cross-country ski areas.
According to Brian Hamel, MWSC's president, Big Rock will be run to remain affordable for Maine skiers. Though the details of the purchase were not available, Hamel has said planned improvements at Big Rock include a new lift, and lodge and parking upgrades. The ski area property includes 290 acres of land, with skiing taking place on about 70 of them. Published reports also state that the purchase includes first rights to another 500 acres of land on the undeveloped side of the mountain.