Skied Sunday River this week for the first time, fun mountain with lots of variety, really enjoyed it. We got really lucky as the conditions and weather were near ideal and the mountain was about 100% open and there was powder to be found in the glades every day. It wasn't even cold except for the last day and that was a bluebird day with nice snow.
The area is very large and is spread across 7 peaks along a ridge line with 4 base areas. Unusually it has a large number of trails listed as double diamond which we did not ski but I suspect some of them would have been diamonds at other areas but we decided to be cautious since we were on vacation and did not know the area well. There was a good variety of blacks and blues ranging from narrow to very wide. A number of trails were groomed except for a thin line of bumps along the edge. Best part of the mountain was the single diamond glades especially "Last Tango" and a run called "Blind Ambition" which is a very wide and open glade reminded me of some of the glades at Sutton and Steamboat.
The mountain does have a number of flat traverses between the peaks and it took a while to figure out the best trails to get around and when to point the skis straight because you were coming to flat section. There are 4 high speed quads and a "Chondola" which is a six pack in which every 5th is a gondola cabin and the others are 6 person chairs, we never did try the gondola cabins, the lift only goes up to mid-mountain seemed like more of a gimmick than a useful feature. One other item is that except for the Chondola none of the lifts had foot rests even the high speed quads.
Of special note the mid-mountain, North Peak lodge, serves made to order stir-fried wok dishes for $15 my wife and i split one and could not finish it, we had friends who split it 3 ways may be the best deal on a mountain anywhere and it was even healthy. Perhaps large portions are a Maine thing because the hotel we stayed also served very large portions that people split.
I like Sunday River. Does take a while to learn how to get between the separate peaks and how to avoid the lines on crowded days.
The gondola cabins on the chondola serves several purposes. Can be good for a family with little kids on frigid days. The cabins are useful during the summer season for people who are afraid of heights to riding on an open chair isn't really of interest.
During early season when there isn't enough snow at the base to load the chairs, the cabins can be used to get people up to the top so that they can go over to the other lift that is on the upper mountain. It's a little weird but one way to assure being open for the Thanksgiving weekend demo day. I experienced that a few years ago. It was so warm that there was no groomed terrain for the demo day. The snowcats would've sunk into the mud underneath the thin snowmaking cover.
Now that Boyne Resorts once again owns Sunday, they have serious plans to replace all aging lifts and renovate lodges.
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