Sunday River built its reputation on “outstanding snow management” and continues to nail it, earning a No. 1 ranking for Grooming and No. 2 for Snow despite last year’s meltdown. “I go expecting marginal conditions and find it just perfect,” swears one reader. Now add a No. 2–ranked lift system that helps spread the crowds over Sunday River’s eight connected peaks and 743 acres. “It’s like visiting five resorts in one day,” raves one reader. Families favor the easygoing trails of South Ridge. Intermediates ebb and flow on the long cruisers off Jordan. Experts pound the bumps on notoriously steep White Heat or hug the trees of Aurora and Oz. It all adds up to a solid No. 6 ranking for Terrain Variety, and with all that real estate, there are plenty of secret stashes and underutilized trails. The hard part can be getting to them. Readers warn that moving across that expansive terrain can be time-consuming and difficult. Says one: “First-time visitors seem to spend more time looking at trail maps than actually skiing.” When it comes to nightlife, the resort caters more to families than partiers, with weekend and holiday night skiing, lighted ice-skating, and entertainment programs. The lack of a lively village and the boxiness of the lodge architecture leave some readers with a sense that the resort lacks somewhat for soul and ambience (No. 16 for Character). And it’s not easy to get to (No. 22 for Access). But readers don’t care: “You can’t go wrong at Sunday River. The snow always delivers.” —Hilary Nangle
WHAT'S NEW >> The Kid’s Adventure Trail, accessed from Dream Maker, is a nearly milelong off-piste experience punctuated with kid-friendly sights, such as Eddy the Yeti’s log home and the resort’s Twin Zips.
ON-HILL LUNCH >> Savor rave-worthy Korean and other Asian specialties, including noodle bowls, sushi, and plum wine, at Cho Sun, in the South Ridge Lodge.
APRÈS SPOT >> The Matterhorn, on the access road, is one of New England’s best ski bars, with a bar made from vintage skis, ski memorabilia on the walls, and Glen Plake’s signature on the ceiling.