Ski Sundown in Connecticut is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Ski Sundown, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
Located on the slopes of Ratlum Mountain, about 40 minutes northwest of metro Hartford near the Massachusetts border, Ski Sundown offers snowboarders and skiers 65 acres of terrain. As its name implies, the mountain is open late -- until 10 p.m. most evenings -- and lamps on 14 of the trails light the way for adventurous skiers. Ski Sundown is not far from New Haven, which is accessible by train, bus and airport, but is even closer to Hartford's own Bradley International Airport.
Ratlum Mountain is 1,075 feet high and features a 625-foot vertical drop. The regular season, from early December to late March, usually lasts around 100 days, and the mountain averages about 76 inches of snow annually. Although the mountain received a hefty 20 inches in 2010, it usually doesn't receive more than 6 inches of natural snow at a time. To compensate, the resort makes its own snow at the beginning of each week. So to hit the slopes on some soft powder, guests should strive to ski early in the week.
Trails And Lifts
Ski Sundown has 15 trails, nine of which are pegged as easy, three as moderately difficult and three as very difficult. Two triple chairlifts take skiers and boarders to the top of the mountain, while another triple chairlift, a double chairlift and a conveyor lift serve the easier trails and the Little Joe novice terrain. Its longest run is the mile-long Tom's Treat trail. Adventurous skiers and boarders can take advantage of the resort's two terrain parks as well as its signature offering, night skiing.
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Ski Sundown offers race team training for the National Standard Race (NASTAR). The two-hour clinic, which costs $80 and includes unlimited timed runs, teaches interested skiers and boarders how to run the NASTAR course and improve their times. There's also a snow sports school that offers individual and group lessons for skiers and boarders 4 and older of all ability levels.
Eight-hour lift tickets range from $16 for children 6 and younger to $55 for adults 15 to 64 on weekdays and weekends. Four-hour and two-hour lift tickets are also available for discounted prices. Regular skiers should purchase season passes, which start at $99 for seniors 70 and older. Ski Sundown provides rentals for all the hardware a skier or snowboarder will need, aside from helmets, which are available for purchase only. All-inclusive prices for skis, poles and boots or a snowboard and boots are $40 for top brands like Elan, Rossignol and Burton. Skis and boards may also be rented without the boots for $31, or boots may be rented alone for $26. For newbies, ski and snowboard group and individual lessons are available, ranging from $67 to $95.
While it's certainly not Aspen, for a smaller resort, Ski Sundown offers a couple of neat spots to eat and unwind after hitting the slopes. There's a Belgian waffle bar that's open weekday evenings and afternoons, as well as an on-site barbecue joint that prides itself on pulled pork. The Bottom of the Barrel Lounge offers an impressive selection of local brews to take the edge off after a day of exhilarating fun on Ratlum Mountain.
WATCH: Ski Sundown
Catch some big air like the skiers and snowboarders in this video at Ski Sundown.