For Many Many Reasons.

Sugarloaf is a big mountain with lots of choices for all levels.

Located in Maine’s western mountains, Sugarloaf is farther away than other New England resorts, with underpopulated weekdays, giving you more room to roam.

It is rugged and unpretentious which draws one of the most loyal following of skiers in New England.

The setting is a lone behemoth, third highest peak in Maine at 4,249 feet.

It is challenging with seriously steep runs, above-treeline snowfields, glades. Experienced skiers make it less likely they will run into you.

It’s a little wild and wooly. Getting here, you are just as apt to pass logging trucks as SUVs.

Temperature inversion is a springtime phenomenon. Credit: Tamsin Venn

As one of the biggest ski areas in New England with a 2,820 foot vertical and 57 miles of trails with minimal traversing, the mountain is vastly entertaining, suiting any mood or ambition, as you wander from one lift to another.

We used to take the kids up there. Sugarloaf also has many easier ways down, but it had been years since we had been been there.

It all came back. You can lap the blacks on the Superquad like Upper Narrow Gauge and Hayburner, or stick to blue King’s Landing. Enjoy the views to the west at the top of Timberline chair then meander down the green Upper Timberline. Stop in at Bullwinkle’s for a hot chocolate. Tote Road is a 3.5-mile green run from summit to base, longest trail on the mountain.

Pole your way over to Spillway with its sweet consistent pitch. Take the Skyline quad. Hike up to Sugarloaf’s famed snowfields, front or back side, double blacks all. In spring corn snow with a good snowpack, they are the best.

Follow Spillway XC cut and pick your challenge. The truly adventurous plunge down Upper Winter’s Way, gnarly, bumped, and ungroomed just like the good old days. Gondi Line, Upper Bubblecuffer, White Nitro, or lower angle Ramdown lead back to the base when too windy up top.

Mountain east, served by the King Pine chair, you access the snowcat-serviced hand-cut Brackett Basin Burnt Mountain glades.

Relax on mostly blue runs off Whiffletree. Take the grandkids under the wood arch to Moose Alley to see Amos the Moose and pals Blueberry the Bear and Pierre the Lumberjack.

Schlep alert: Take the short Skidway chair to the Sugarloaf Superquad.

Sugarloaf can get wind-scoured. Think top of Mt. Katahdin, almost the same height. But when you hit it right, there is no finer place to ski in New England. In mid-March, I dove down the middle of an empty Gondi Line, non-stop, gripping corn snow. The sky was blue. It was an experience I hope to repeat when we all can make a safe return to the mountains.

Check Out

Former French team racer Lionel Hering mans Happy Tunes ski shop. Credit: Tamsin Venn
  •  Expert boot fitting by former French racer Lionel Hering at Happy Tunes!, Valley Crossing.
  • Friendly, daily grooming intel in the snow conditions report.
  • Sugarloaf Inn’s Shipyard Brew Haus’ twofer dinners Tuesdays.
  • Venison, fiddleheads, and fine local dining at One Stanley Avenue, Kingfield.
  • Free same-day Nordic trail access with Alpine ticket at Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, 90 km. 
  • Free Sugarloaf Explorer Shuttle. Wave it down. They’ll stop.
  • Don’t miss the Hotel Herbert, Kingfield, for rooms with antiques and charm

The Tickets

Seniors 65-79, $85,  80-plus free.

For Sugarloaf webcams, click here.

For Sugarloaf trail map, click here. 

For Sugarloaf uphill access policy, click here. 

4 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*