Sunday, December 4, 2016

Early 2016-17 Maine Ski Observations

First runs down Sugarloaf
The @MaineSkiFamily crew have been out on skis 3 times this year. Once at Sunday River and twice at Sugarloaf. Yes, this year we decided to purchase the New England Silver pass / College passes
from Boyne. We will be blacked out on some vacation days but that will give us the opportunity to visit some other mountains which we always love to do.

Here are some quick early season observations of Skiing in Maine.

Chairlift Issues delayed Sunday River Opening - With the Locke chairlift down for repairs, they were not able to get a mid-mountain opening earlier this year. Therefore they had to wait until temperatures were cold enough to make snow down to the bottom of Aurora and Barker. That pushed them a good two weeks later than normal. Once open, the Aurora and Barker chairs were not connected via a snow made ski trail, which required a shuttle bus to get between. Regardless, they can still crank out snow like no other. So while this year early season was not ideal but things will get back to normal next year when the chairlift repairs are complete.

Angry Beavers of Black Mountain have been Busy - I have been keeping an eye on the Angry Beavers as they expand the gladed terrain at Black Mountain of Maine. The mountain also has a few new ways down the hill this year. I am looking forward to heading over there on a good snow day and sample all the new goods. This mountain continues to be one of the best values in Maine.

Sugarloaf off to a Strong Start - In my two visits Sugarloaf seems to be firing on all cylinders. Good snowmaking; Chairlifts running smoothly; organized base lodge operations. So far so good! We will be spending a lot of time there this year so we are looking forward to a strong year.

Another year without a fully running Saddleback - We are faced with another year of no lift serviced skiing at Saddleback. A community organization called the Saddleback Mountain Foundation is making a strong effort to purchase the mountain and they have already raised over $1MM dollars towards a $4MM goal. Hopefully they can continue to make significant progress and we can look forward to next year. I am looking forward to seeing the "hike for Saddleback turns" reports on social media after a big snow dump.

Early Season Skiing at Sugarloaf
Early Season Skiing Always Challenging - We experienced this December 3rd at Sugarloaf... a.k.a. the White Run of Death (WROD).  Lots of people of varying ability levels skiing down the one and only trail to the lift. This time of year you just have to be patient, get a few runs under your belt and know that more terrain will open soon!

It is great to get back on the snow and we are looking forward to a more normal snow year and a great year for all the ski mountains in Maine. Get out there and enjoy it!

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