Oct 26, 2011
Trace a line formed by Maine's State Routes 16, 27, 4, and 142 and you will encircle some of the state's highest mountains. In the southern part of the circle you'll find the long, impressive mass of Saddleback Mountain, from whose summit drop the twisty, wooded trails of Saddleback the ski resort.
Sugarloaf boasts 138 trails, 15 lifts, and a bustling village at the base.
Even on the biggest dump days the place is peaceful: Lift lines barely push four minutes, and locals take leisurely dips into untracked shots all day.
Don’t go to Homewood for high-speed quads (there’s only one), base-village shopping (none), or tons of vertical (1,650 feet from top to bottom). Go to the West Shore resort for empty slopes, cheap lift tickets, and arguably the region’s best views of Lake Tahoe. For the ski area’s most challenging terrain, hit the Ellis chair and take a mellow hike out to Quail Face, which has short but steep drops with a couple of rock bands and wide aprons. Because Homewood is lower in elevation, it doesn’t get the same severe weather as other resorts nearby. So when everything on Squaw’s upper mountain is on wind hold, Homewood will probably be running every chair.
Local secret: Homewood’s bar is one of the greatest base-lodge bars anywhere. Like the mountain, it’s reasonably priced, friendly, and downto- earth. Bartender Joe always sports a vest and tie.