By David Schissler
(August 2014) One of my favorite areas just made me and many of its’ devotees very happy. Mount Sunapee recently announced they’ll be replacing the fixed grip Sunbowl Quad with a new High-speed Express Quad for the 2014-2015 season!
Some of the best terrain on the mountain is in Sunbowl. It was often where we went to give ourselves a breather now and then because the lift was so long and slow. On weekends, going to Sunbowl often meant a long wait in line. The new lift will change that. The ride now shrinks to 4 minutes instead of 8 or 9. Before you start thinking “that’s just more people on the hill” hold on.
As marketing and sales manager Bruce McCloy told me on a visit last year, one of the things that makes the Sunapee experience so good is that their uphill capacity far exceeds their parking capacity! This new lift just means more runs. “In recent years this has been the #1 request from our guests,” says Jay Gamble, general manager of Mount Sunapee Resort. “What is really exciting is that this high-speed lift in the Sunbowl will trigger a series of lift and trail improvements over the next several years at Mount Sunapee which have already been approved in our Master Development Plan,” added Gamble.
Mount Sunapee recently won a court ruling that should clear the way for the long awaited West Bowl expansion. The new terrain could include a 5,100′ express quad chair serving four top-to-bottom ski trails of approximately 80 acres, and a satellite base area with facilities such as a new base lodge and parking lot.
North Peak will receive a lot of attention. A fixed grip quad will replace the current triple on the front side and a triple chair will be installed from the bottom of Sunbowl to the summit on the back side. New ski terrain from the top down into the base of the Sunbowl and snowmaking on additional trails are all in the works.
Mountain Operations Manager, Alan Ritchie says, “The lift reconfiguration will have a positive effect on the skiing/riding patterns and experience at Mount Sunapee. We will have faster distribution of guests around the mountain and access to some exciting new terrain in the Sunbowl. The speed of the Sunbowl Express Quad and an additional lift up out of the Sunbowl will increase the number of runs our guests can enjoy during the day as well as spread them out more evenly throughout the mountain.”
With two high-speed quads to the summit, a third planned for a new bowl on its western flank, a new fixed grip quad, a new fixed grip triple, and new terrain on North Peak, Sunapee is going to become the monster of central New England.