By David Schissler – This season Sugarloaf, Maine becomes one of only two mountains in the Northeast to offer cat skiing, the other being Sugarbush, VT. Two 12-passenger cats will haul riders up Burnt Mountain, which previously was only accessible by hoofing it. Riders access the cats from Log Yard, an easy ride from the bottom of the King Pine lift. Once there, riders will access 1,400 feet of vertical and over 100 acres of steep and rugged terrain. The trip is a 1.5-mile jaunt to the top of the Androscoggin Glade, Little Androscoggin, and a newly-cut glade yet to be named.

This season the cats will only operate on weekends and holidays. Cats depart every 20 minutes between 9:00 am to 3:30 pm. The terrain is recommended for experts only. Given the limited seating it’s a good idea to book your reservation online in advance at Sugarloaf Cat Reservations. In addition to a valid lift ticket or season pass you’ll have to shell over another $25 to $30 depending on the time of day you reserve.

Burnt Mountain opened in 2010. “Since its opening, our side-country terrain has become a fan favorite among Sugarloafers,” said Crusher Wilkinson, Sugarloaf VP of mountain operations. “The new Burnt Mountain Cat Skiing will not only enhance the skiing and riding experience, but also make the terrain more accessible to our guests.”

This cat program is part of Sugarloaf’s new “side-country” skiing development that has been a signature piece of the resort’s “Sugarloaf 2020” development plan. Since the vision was first unveiled in 2010, the resort has seen numerous upgrades and improvements, including more than 600 acres of new terrain, a new quad chairlift, massive upgrades to its snowmaking system and lift infrastructure, as well as various village enhancements and upgraded facilities throughout the resort.

For more information on Burnt Mountain Cat Skiing, please visit Photos courtesy of Sugarloaf Mountain Resort.