Can’t let a week go past this month without receiving news of a major development in the Maine ski industry.
Following in the footsteps of sister Boyne Resort property Sunday River, which announced a 10-year development project earlier this month, Sugarloaf Mountain Resort released its own expansion plan on Tuesday, highlighted by the expansion of West Mountain.
The West Mountain expansion, the centerpiece of the “Sugarloaf 2030” project calls for the development of 450 acres of terrain with new alpine trails, snowmaking, a new high-speed chairlift, tubing park, downhill mountain bike trails, and residential real estate.
“This will be the most significant project at Sugarloaf since the SuperQuad was built in the mid 1990s,” Sugarloaf general manager Karl Strand said in a statement. “We’re thankful for leadership of Boyne Resorts, which, over the past 13 years, has helped us get Sugarloaf to a position of growth that allows for development projects like this.”
Expansion is expected to begin this summer, which will also see the construction of a new 4,600-square-foot spa in the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, as well as the installation of new Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology, and significant snowmaking investments ,including a new dam on Caribou Pond.
Sunday River’s similarly-named project is focused on new infrastructure, enhanced experiences for year-round adventure, and reaching a net-zero carbon impact. Developments included in the full, 10-year plan include a significant number of upgraded chairlifts, extensive snowmaking upgrades, a hydro-therapy spa, a new SnowSports school building, and new summer activities such as a mountain coaster.
Add to those developments the fact that Saddleback Mountain, finally under new ownership, will be running the lifts once again next winter, and the Maine ski scene is pretty darned hot right now.
School vacation week got a nice, midweek refresher beginning on Tuesday, with a wealth of ski areas across the region seeing a healthy dose of powder.
Sunday River (pictured right) reported anywhere from eight inches to a foot. In New Hampshire, Cranmore, Loon, Cannon, King Pine, and Black Mountain all saw anywhere from 8-10 inches.
In Vermont, Stratton, Mount Snow, and Magic were the big winners seeing six-to-eight inches.
That all helped Wednesday become the best day of the season for the Wilbur clan. Eager to introduce my three kids to what the Black Mountain experience was like after a powder dump, the Jackson ski area didn’t disappoint.
The trails weren’t overcrowded, and there were fresh goods for the entirety of the day.
Lift lines? Please.
By the middle of the day, even my youngest was navigating her way through the trees. And not once did one of them complain about the snow not being “groomed enough.”
That might be my proudest moment from the day.
I’ve long had a love for Black Mountain. Happy to have officially passed that down.
Speaking of Black Mountain, it’s one of the available options on the Indy Pass, which is looking toward the spring season with a $100 discount off its original price.
For $139, buyers will get two days each at 47 ski areas across the nation. In New England, that includes Black, Magic, Catamount, Pats Peak, Mount Abram, Berkshire East, Suicide Six, and Bolton Valley.
The last day to purchase a pass for the 2019-20 season will be Feb. 29.
Visit www.indyskipass.com for more information and to purchase.
Steals and deals
Carb up and work out on the slopes at Bretton Woods’ “Powder and Pasta.” Available weekend and holiday evenings, get a pasta dinner to go along with your lift ticket. Ski twilight (2-8 p.m.) for $53, or 4-8 p.m. for only $29. If you’re not skiing, $15.99 gets you the dinner alone.
New England Ski Journal TV visits Waterville Valley
New England Ski Journal’s TV show goes behind-the-scenes to bring you the latest at the Waterville Valley resort in New Hampshire. Catch an all-new episode on NESN Friday night at 6 when we travel to North Conway, New Hampshire and Cranmore Mountain Resort. (Episode will re-air Feb. 25 at 4 p.m. Airs on NESN Plus Feb. 21 at midnight, Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m., and Feb. 28 at midnight.)