Big, Big Four-Season Resort In Maine Has Activity-Filled Social Scene For Seniors.

Terrain for everyone at Sunday River and lots of room for blue cruising. Credit: Sunday River
Terrain for everyone at Sunday River and lots of room for blue cruising, greening or double-black diamonds.
Credit: Sunday River

For seniors on a fixed income and liberated schedule, a top place to ski in the East is Sunday River, ME. That is for three main reasons. First, it is huge. When you look up from the South Ridge base lodge, you see wide slopes slung over rolling peaks, in every direction, a three-mile span from White Cap to Jordan Bowl Peaks.

Started in 1959 with one T-bar, Sunday River had a huge growth spurt when Les Otten bought the small family area and put his vision for expansion into high gear.

Today, that translates into 135 trails and glades and 15 lifts (five high speed), slung over eight interconnected peaks. That’s a lot of opportunity for seniors to select the “just right” terrain. Each peak has an easy way down. You can knock yourself out on the double black White Heat or stroll down the Three Mile Trail with Agony and Ecstasy in between.

Second, owner Boyne Resorts has done a great job modernizing lifts and focusing on snowmaking and grooming, keeping trails in good shape, even in low-snow years.
Finally, everyone who works here is very friendly, so you have nice people looking after you.

Bethel, a short drive from the mountain, is a classic New England village. Main Street has several shops and cozy restaurants. The rambling turn-of-the-century Bethel Inn Resort has a 35-km XC groomed trail network right on the edge of town. Nearby Carter’s XC Center has 55 km.

These guys meet every morning, ski, and hang out. The Prime Time Ski Club is Credit: Scott Andrews
These guys meet every morning, ski, and hang out.
The Prime Time Ski Club is informal and provides a lot of opportunities for socializing.
Credit: Scott Andrews

One great asset here for seniors is the 100+ member Prime Time Ski Club (motto “You’ll never ski alone!”) for those over 50. Meet up any weekday morning at North Peak Lodge 10-10:30, top of the Chondola (get there early before the cinnamon buns are gone!) and have a fun group of people to ski with. Break off into groups (no larger than eight) usually based on terrain, ability, and social interactions, and then ski!

Many members also gather in the Mahoosic room at South Ridge in the morning and lunch there around noon. Après ski activities include wine tastings, game night, potlucks or special restaurant dinners, trips to local mountains, and an annual western trip, plus off-season activities. New Members: $25. Renewal (pre-season): $15.

Many members ski midweek and take advantage of discounts offered at area restaurants. Check out Terri Messer’s weekly column on the club in the Bethel Citizen for what’s happening.

Bottom Line

Senior Pricing: Daily lift ticket, 65 and older, $59; $53 online advance purchase.

Senior (65-79) season passes (includes Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Loon): New England Gold Pass: $869 (Super Senior, 80-plus: $30); Silver Pass (13 blackout dates) $705; Bronze Pass (midweek non-holiday, all ages) $529 .

GO50 Week: Mid-January with lift ticket and lodging deals for five nights, a clinic, après-ski social events, and a Sock Hop.  Kudos to Sunday River for celebrating its 50-plus skiers with a full week of fun events including a “Retro Race” on vintage equipment.

Bethel Nordic Center at the Bethel Inn Resort: All Day Trail Pass: Seniors (63 plus): $16; half day, $13. Season Pass (63 plus): $125. Ask about the daily ski-swim-sauna package at the inn’s Health Club.

Trail Map Click Here



  1. Hello,
    I am interested in speaking with a Prime Time Member. I live in Falmouth, Me. & would like to ski once or twice a week @ Sunday River .
    Wondering also, if you have a shuttle system to the mountain as well?
    Thanks so much,
    In the past, I have enjoyed the Go 50 Weeks!

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