Nov 06, 2008
Sugarloaf boasts 138 trails, 15 lifts, and a bustling village at the base.
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.
If Sugarloaf is the redheaded stepchild of Down East skiing, then Sunday River, with its stellar reputation for grooming and snowmaking, is its well-mannered, please-and-thank-you cousin. At least, that's how it looks from a distance. Get a bit closer, though, and you'll soon blow the cover. The River's true nature is most readily exposed on the precipitous steeps of White Cap Mountain (one of the resort's eight summits), where bumped-up steeps like Shockwave and Obsession await. By the time you've pushed off the summit of Oz to sluice the Lost Princess and Emerald City glades, the illusion is beyond repair.
Running directly beneath Sunday River's busiest chair, the Baker quad, Agony's unpredictable and wildly varying pitches combine with fat, often-firm bumps to give your audience plenty to cheer (or jeer) for.
Nothing to crow about, but Sunday River does an excellent job of building on the sweet stuff with a ridiculously large snowmaking system.
Head down the access road to the Matterhorn (207-824-6836), order up a wood-fired pie and a mug of ale (do this often enough, and you'll get your own mug), and watch ski flicks on the big screen.
"The reason I've stayed here 10 years? It's simple: snow conditions. It can rain one day, freeze that night, and the next day, it's still gonna be good skiing. That just doesn't happen at other Northeastern resorts."
The Chondola, a six-passenger chairlift-gondola hybrid (chondola.com); improved lighting, hence 12-hour skiing.
Free s'mores at the Shipyard Brew Haus. Pick up your stick and fixings, then hit the firepit.
The Glades off Lift 6. The lift is known for its greens and blues, but between them are often ignored glades. Go left or right. You can't miss.
Vertical Drop 2,340 feet
Snowfall 155 inches