Once Upon a Time, Mt. Abram in Maine Was Home to a Thrilling Monorail Ride
Before skiing was big business in Maine, several of most notable mountains in the state had to find different and unique ways to keep locals coming back year after year. Whether it was new lodging, new amenities, or new equipment to get up and down the mountain, competition was fierce.
That included a duel of sorts between Sunday River and Mt. Abram in the late 1970s. Each mountain was trying to grab the attention of skiers and families, and in the process, began to toy with different ideas. According to New England Ski History, that is what led Mt. Abram to debut a monorail ride in 1978 called the "American Zephyr".
Shared by Todd A. Merry in the Facebook group Old Pictures of Forgotten Maine, some of his family's home videos show what visitors to Mt. Abram experienced on the monorail ride in the late '70s. When it debuted, it was the first-of-its-kind in the northeast, and received so well that Mt. Abram opened a second, smaller monorail ride in 1979. The popularity led Attitash in New Hampshire to add a similar attraction to their mountain as well.
For Mt. Abram, the "American Zephyr" excitement was short lived, unfortunately. Once the new shine wore off, there was a cascade of ride experience issues for many. Sometimes the ride would go too slow because of nervous riders, other riders were too aggressive, leading to dangerous behavior on the monorail. After several seasons of complaints, Mt. Abram decided to abandon the monorail business in the early 1980s.