Sugarloaf: A Huffington Post Travel Ski Resort Guide
The Huffington Post
| By Margaret S. Inge
Sugarloaf Mountain Resort in Maine is a popular destination for skiers and snowboarders. As part of a series on ski resorts, Huffington Post Travel offers our guide to Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, featuring all the key information snow lovers need to know before they hit the slopes.
Sugarloaf Mountain Resort, the largest ski destination east of the Rockies, is heaven in the East for serious skiers, snowboarders and their friends and family. Located in central Maine’s Carrabassett Valley, Sugarloaf’s remoteness makes for a true getaway from December to May on 54 miles of trails and glades. Numerous Ski & Stay packages at the resort feature a range of accommodations, from luxurious hotel suites and condos to simpler lodging for families and college students. Visitors will discover why SKI magazine raves about Sugarloaf, ranking it No. 3 for "Overall Satisfaction.”
Sugarloaf offers 1,056 of skiable acres and the only lift-serviced, above-tree-line skiing in the East. From its 4,237-foot peak, the powder-filled “Snowfields” afford 360-degree panoramic views of Vermont, New Hampshire and Canada, challenging both expert ski enthusiasts and novices alike. Seth Wescott, the Olympic gold medalist who calls Sugarloaf home, designed the snowboardcross and skiercross courses that are among the resort’s three recently reconfigured terrain parks. Sugarloaf offers experts the steepest terrain and longest fall line in New England and novices will find numerous options that make it easy to graduate from slow grades to more challenging runs. While nature provides an annual average of 200 inches of natural snow, 618 acres are also enhanced by snowmaking operations. Sugarloaf Mountain continuously updates weather conditions on its website with the use of a live webcam on the slopes.
Trails And Lifts
Sugarloaf recently opened the new Skyline lift, a quad that replaces a lift that was the site of an accident in 2010. The Irregular, the local newspaper, reported, “The presence of this new, high-capacity quad is expected to rebalance the flow of uphill traffic on the mountain, thus reducing pressure on other lifts and decreasing lift lines across the mountain during peak times." It is a critical addition, enabling the total 14 lifts to move 21,810 passengers per hour to 154 trails suited to their expertise. These trails include 24 double black diamonds, 29 black diamonds, 49 blue squares and 34 green circles, of which almost 20 percent are situated among the glades. Three terrain parks offer thrills to the novice, intermediate and expert alike. The superpipe is 400 feet long and maintained by a state-of-the-art 18-foot Zaugg Pipe Monster. The Tote Road trail is a 3.5 mile ride from top to bottom that meets the needs of intermediate skiers, while affording even more spectacular views. One look at the Sugarloaf trail map tells visitors that this is a place where every snow enthusiast will be satisfied.
In The News
While Sugarloaf made news in 2010 due to a chairlift derailment, the most recent news is the opening of a high-tech replacement lift and the resort’s expansion plans. The expansion effort, which made Sugarloaf the largest resort on the East Coast and promises even more in coming years as the expansion continues onto neighboring Burnt Mountain, is featured in the December 2011 issue of Powder magazine. Olympic gold medalist and blogger Seth Wescott has created a racing series that brings the top 24 snowboarders to the mountain to compete. The series fits squarely with the resort's expansion plans. Whenever there is a ranking of slopes, particularly those east of the Rockies, Sugarloaf is consistently named among the best.
The price of a sugarloaf lift ticket is $79 for adults, $66 for teens and $55 for juniors. Guests younger than 5 and older than 80 ski free. Season tickets are also available. Tickets purchased online are offered at a discounted price. Ski School prices start at $85 for an adult class, which includes the clinic, lift ticket and ski equipment. Sugarloaf offers a similar package for telemarking. Group clinics start at $35 or $10 when purchased with a regular lift ticket. The resort also offers many Ski and Stay packages throughout the season; these pair accommodations with lessons, ski rentals and lift tickets. College students will find numerous packages that encourage visits to Sugarloaf Mountain, including $39 lift tickets for College Snowfest Week.
In keeping with its down-easter location, Sugarloaf tends to the laid back, which means that it is easy to do a little, a lot or lounge fireside in the lodge undisturbed. An excellent Sports & Fitness Center accommodates the needs of serious athletes, but it is the Anti-Gravity Center that sets Sugarloaf apart. The center houses Maine's largest indoor skate bowl and an extremely aggressive street park design, plus a trampoline. Families will enjoy snow tubing, ice skating at the Outdoor Center and other organized family-friendly events, including fireworks and teen dances. The Widowmaker Lounge in the base lodge hosts a concert series every weekend during the winter season. Dining, from casual to fine, can be found at one of the 14 resort restaurants, bars and cafes, including on-mountain fare in Bullwinkle’s at the top of the Bucksaw chair.
WATCH: Sugarloaf Ski Resort
Sugarloaf Mountain invites "those looking for a remarkable winter escape" to experience the largest ski destination east of the Rockies.