Pilots who love to ski often daydream about combining their passions. What could be more alluring than flying to a fantastic ski resort within minutes of an airport? If you live in the northeast U.S., stop dreaming and start planning because it is a reality and well within your range.
September 24, 2002
Pilots who love to ski often daydream about combining their passions. What could be
more alluring than flying to a fantastic ski resort within minutes of an airport? Stop
dreaming and start planning because it is a reality and well within your range. However,
before reading on, you must promise not to tell everyone at your home base about this
little known winter wonderland—we wouldn't want to lose our parking spot in paradise.
Colonel Dyke Field
Turning final to
Colonel Dyke Field (0B1).
The airport is Colonel Dyke (0B1), and it is only a few minutes from the Sunday River
Ski Resort in Maine. Named after army colonel Sid Dyke who opened a flying school here in
the 50s, 0B1 is nestled against the New Hampshire border, two miles northwest of Bethel,
Maine at N 44° 25.50', W 070° 48.47'. The flight up from Long Island takes you past Mt.
Washington, which is breathtaking but known for its harsh weather. Be sure your mountain
flying skills are really sharp before attempting a close-up view.
The runway 14-32 is 3150 x 60, made of asphalt and is well maintained. When landing,
note that there are trees at either end of the runway and occasional high winds in the
valley. The southeast approach is less mountainous, making it preferable if the wind
For those who visited Colonel Dyke Field when it was unattended, you are in for a
pleasant surprise. This municipal airport has a new ramp thanks to state and town funding.
In the next few years there will be even more improvements. The airport does not have an
instrument approach, but it is hoped there will be a GPS approach by next year. A taxiway
and new t-hangars will be added, and by the year 2000, the field will have lighting. With
all this modernization let's hope they keep the outhouse. When the temperature drops to
10°, it is a clear reminder that you are in rural Maine!
The best addition to Colonel Dyke Airport is Bethel Air Service which mans the field daily. Three years ago Dan Bilodeau and Steve Whitney opened the FBO. This once unattended field now offers a host of services including fuel. Currently 100LL is $2.10, Jet A is $1.90 (five cents less for cash), and Mogas is available. VISA, MasterCard, AVFUEL and Multiserve credit cards are accepted. Should the weather require, it's nice to know that Bethel Air Service also offers preheating, de-icing and charter flights. Steve is a licensed mechanic, so there is light maintenance available on the field. Dave Rugoletti runs the flight
Update: September 2002
Bethel Air Service may no longer be in operation. The field appears to be called Bethel Regional Airport, operated by the Town of Bethel. Check
this website for further information, and be sure to call ahead to the field before flying in.
Transportation from the airport to the mountain is only $5.00 ($3.00 for each
additional person). Call Unicom on 122.9 about fifteen miles out to request a cab. Our
favorite is Bethel Express.
If you are only in for the day, be sure to arrange your return trip to the field in
time to preflight and be on your way before sunset. There is no runway lighting.
The FBO has two courtesy cars available for short trips into town or for lunch. If you
want to explore the Bethel area further, call Bethel Air Service for a rental car. Reserve
early because only a few cars are available. Last year minivans were rented at $35.00 per
Sunday River Ski Area
Sunday River Skiing is phenomenal.
(Photo: Sunday River Ski Area.)
Sunday River has more to proffer than anyone could hope for. The skiing, lodging and
dining are all phenomenal—not to mention an airport close by!
Sunday River hosts many special events each season. A few of the highlights from the
'96-'97 season will include: The River Ride Board Feast (Major league snowboard
competition), Ski Telemark World Cup Classic, Budweiser's Aerial Assault and the Bust 'N
Burn-Legends of Freestyle mogul party. Check the schedule for these and other exciting
Sunday River offers 121 trails on 645 acres.
(Photo: Sharon McNeill/Sunday River.)
Whether you're a beginner or diehard expert, you'll find plenty of challenging terrain.
There are eight interconnected mountain peaks at Sunday River that offer 121 trails on 645
acres. The vertical rise is 2340 feet. The runs seem to go on forever, and the views of
the White Mountain National Forest truly give credence to the term God's Country. The
newest peak of the mountain chain is known as Oz, and I promise, you'll know you are not
in Kansas as you plunge down! If you are an adroit skier, try White Heat, the widest,
steepest, longest run on the east coast.
Sunday River covers over ninety percent of their trails with snowmaking and is rated by
Ski Magazine (and my friends) as having the best quality snow in the East. In fact, Sunday
River is the only eastern ski resort that made Ski Magazine's top ten list. Their
extensive snowmaking insures that the resort opens by early October and keeps the season
going into May. Mark your calendar for free skiing on May 1, Ski Maynia Day!
Remember that January and February in Maine are quite cold and require proper
protective clothing. You can call Sunday River for snow reports, or get information from
their web page. See the information section at the end of this article.
Regardless of your ability, the Perfect Turn Skier Development Program can enhance your
skiing. Lessons are available for all ages and abilities. They even have a guaranteed
"learn-to-ski-in-a-day" program for beginners and special programs for the
handicapped. The Perfect Kids Program takes children as young as four years old. For
younger children, there is a fabulous nursery and day care center.
The more you ski at Sunday River (or any affiliated mountain, including Sugarloaf,
Sugarbush, Killington, Mt. Snow, Haystack & Attitash Bear Peak) the more you ski free.
Earn points towards free time on the slopes with the Edge Frequent Skier Program. Ask for
your Edge card and details on your first trip—it's free!
Slope side food prices at resorts can be a little steep (no pun intended), but the
convenience and views from the lodges certainly offset the cost. The lodge food at Sunday
River is very good and there are numerous ski-in places to eat. My favorite lunch spot on
the slopes is North Peak Lodge.
After a long day of skiing, a visit to the Sunday River Brewing Co. is necessary for
anyone who appreciates finely brewed ales (provided you're not heading home afterward).
They also have a full menu.
Bumps! Pub in the White Cap base lodge is a lively place for apres ski and night time
entertainment. A large variety of pub style food is served at lunch and dinner.
The proximity and easy access of the airport make Sunday River a great candidate for
day or overnight trips. Lodging, while abundant, still requires reservations.
Besides slope side lodging, there are many country inns, motels, and bed &
breakfasts in and around town. Bethel has an area reservation service that you can call
for booking. The following listing represents a few of the many choices available.
The Sudbury Inn has seventeen guest rooms with private baths, two dining rooms and a
tavern with live entertainment Thursday through Sunday. If you stay here you can begin
your evening with a romantic fireside dinner and finish off by dancing the night away.
Winter room rates are from $90.00 to $150.00 double occupancy.
The Chapman Inn is located downtown in the heart of the National Historic District. The
Inn has nine guest rooms, most with private baths and some with kitchens. Private saunas
are available, too. The cozy living room has a fireplace and there is a game room. A 24
bed dormitory is available for larger groups. Bring along your skates if you stay here;
there's ice skating out the front door. Winter rates are from $55.00 to $95.00 for double
occupancy and include a full breakfast. Dormitory rates are $25.00 per person. Summer
rates are less.
The Bethel Inn & Country Club is a traditional New England inn with two hundred
acres of resort activities. Fireplaces, casual and fine candlelit dining in a relaxed
atmosphere keep guests coming back year after year. The inn provides a shuttle service to
Sunday River, which is only ten minutes away. The Bethel Inn offers extensive cross
country skiing right out the back door. They have rentals and lessons, too.
The Norseman Inn is a two hundred year old inn, and it is just 1/4 mile from the
airport. There is a motel here with 22 rooms, all with private baths. The inn has nine
rooms, five of which have private baths. Enjoy a complimentary continental breakfast by
the inn's fireplace. Rooms are from $45.00 to $118.00 per night.
The Briar Lea Bed and Breakfast is five miles from the mountain. Gary and Carol
Brearley own the B&B which is set in a 150 year old Georgian farm house. There is a
large, comfortable living room to relax in and enjoy the open hearth fireplace. All rooms
have private baths. The hosts serve a buffet breakfast each morning. The folks at Briar
Lea will be happy to pick up guests at Colonel Dyke Field. Winter rates range from $67.00
to $89.00 per room.
Abbott House (B&B) is set in a two hundred year old New England cape on a hillside
just outside of town. Its small size offers a unique charm. There are four guest rooms
that share two baths. The inn keepers, Joe and Penny, serve a hearty breakfast each
morning. Room service is available on request for those who prefer to sleep in! Throughout
the year the room rate is $65.00 per couple.
For anyone in your group who does not savor the thought of strapping boards on their
feet and heading downhill, the area has numerous other winter activities including snow
shoeing, cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
Snow shoeing is a popular way to enjoy the beauty and solitude of the White Mountain
National Forest. It is an invigorating activity for people of all ages. Most areas of the
National Forest are open to snow shoeing. Contact the district ranger for more information
on trail access, local maps and grooming.
Cross country skiing is a very popular way to enjoy the great outdoors. The Bethel area
has over one hundred kilometers of cross-country ski trails and unlimited back country
skiing. There are four cross country ski centers in Bethel.
Carter's Cross Country Ski Center in Bethel is known to have one of the best equipped
ski shops in the area. Rentals and lessons are also available.
Lastly, the Telemark Inn offers the ultimate in wilderness skiing, and they issue only
fifteen trail passes a day. Ever heard of ski joring? Popular in Europe, the Telemark Inn
is the first place in the U.S. to offer this sport. The skier is pulled by huskies.
Whether you try this new sport or stick with the more traditional cross country skiing,
you will enjoy the 360 acres of wilderness that the Telemark Inn shares with guests.
The mountains of Maine offer unbounded opportunities for exploration. The most
exhilarating way to penetrate the forest is by snowmobile. The Bethel area has endless
miles of trails to revel. The trails connect to the International Trail System which goes
into the northern United States and Canada. Sun Valley Sports on the Sunday River Road
rents snowmobiles and offers tours of all types.
Colonel Dyke Airport also offers access to many non-winter activities including hiking,
fishing, canoeing, horseback riding, road & mountain biking, golfing, white water
rafting and what the locals call rock hounding—the collecting of minerals and gems. The
area is one of the worlds richest source of minerals and gems, including amethyst,
aquamarine, tourmaline, topaz, beryl crystals and mica.
Regardless of what activity or season draws you to Bethel, I'm sure you'll come back
time and again.
Area Code: 207
Zip Code: 04217
Bethel Air Service: 824-4321
Bethel Chamber of Commerce: 824-2282
Bethel Express: (Cab): 824-4646
Sunday River Ski Area Snow Conditions: 824-5200
The Bethel Inn & Country Club: 824-2175
Bumps! Pub: 424-3000
The Matterhorn: 824-6836
North Peak Lodge: 824-3000
The Sudbury Inn: 824-2174 or (800) 395-7837
Sunday River Brewing Co.: 824-4253
Bethel Area Reservations: (800) 430-0770 ext. 600
Sunday River Resort Reservations: (800) 543-2754
Abbott House (B&B): 824-7600
The Bethel Inn & Country Club: 824-2175
The Briar Lea Bed and Breakfast: 824-4717
The Chapman Inn: 824-2657
The Norseman Inn: 824-2002
The Snow Cap Inn: 824-7669
The Sudbury Inn: 824-2174 or (800) 395-7837
Summit Hotel & Conference Center: 824-3500
Hiking And Snowshoeing
National Park District Ranger: 824-2134
The Bethel Inn and Country Club: 824-2175
Carter's Cross Country Ski Center: 539-4848
The Sunday River Inn: 824-2410
Telemark Inn: 836-2703
Sun Valley Sports: 824-7553
Downeast Whitewater Center: (800) 677-7238
North Country Rivers: (800) 348-8871.