By David Schissler with Ethan Austin, Sugarloaf, ME (November 2012)
As I recently learned at the Boston Ski and Snowboard Expo; a longtime dream for many Sugarloafers became a reality when officials announced a massive terrain expansion onto Burnt Mountain, the resort’s neighboring peak.
The terrain expansion is the centerpiece of a larger expansion plan, creating up to 270 acres of new terrain for the upcoming season, and 655 new acres when the entire project is complete. This will double Sugarloaf’s current skiable acreage and make it the largest ski area east of the Rocky Mountains.
The new terrain will all be gladed, “sidecountry” terrain, offering skiers and riders a one-of-a-kind backcountry style experience, with the security of patrolled, inbounds terrain. The expansion will be completed in three phases, the first of which will be the 270 acre “Brackett Basin” area, which will begin to open as soon as snowfall permits. The second phase will encompass 135 acres, including the summit of Burnt Mountain, and will open a second above-tree line area to accompany Sugarloaf’s legendary SnowfieldsTM. The third and final phase will be 250 acres, and will open the north face of Burnt Mountain. When the expansion is complete, skiers will enjoy a vast, 655 acre glade and an experience unlike anything else in the East.
Access to the new terrain on Burnt Mountain will be via a cross-cut from the top of the existing King Pine Quad. At this time there are no plans to install lifts on Burnt Mountain, thus preserving the backcountry-style, wilderness experience. The new terrain will feature different styles of terrain, from tight, steep eastern tree skiing, to wide open western style glades, to cliff bands and more. With an entire mountain to explore, skiers will experience quiet solitude in the vast wilderness area, providing the sensation of a true backcountry experience, similar to what one would expect at a large western resort.
“This is really a revolutionary type of ski area expansion, and uniquely Sugarloaf,” said general manager John Diller. “No grooming, no snowmaking, no real estate – just pure skiing, which is what we think the core Sugarloaf skiers and riders are ultimately looking for.”
For more information on Sugarloaf’s terrain expansion and the Sugarloaf 2020 vision, please visit www.sugarloaf2020.com or contact Ethan Austin at [email protected].