Sunday River, ME, Dec. 5, 2018

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Sunday River, ME, Dec. 5, 2018

Postby Tony Crocker » Fri Dec 07, 2018 11:41 pm

It’s another road warrior trip. On Monday morning when Killington and Sugarbush reported ~30% open, Sunday River remained at 65% and Sugarloaf dropped from 85% to 75%. I had also read a positive report from Sunday at Sugarloaf, where it had snowed all morning before turning to rain.

So after skiing Tuesday at Killington we drove 3+ hours to Bethel, Maine. We can highly recommend the Holidae House B&B and the 22 Broad Italian restaurant there.

On Wednesday morning I got an e-mail from my Maine contact who had recommended Sunday’s skiing at Sugarloaf, reporting that it froze up so Sugarloaf had crashed to less than 15% open. I looked up Sunday River, which was now at 35%. Boyne gets a :^o for not updating their online reports between Sunday and Monday. So it was now clear we should go back to Vermont after skiing Sunday River Wednesday.

Wednesday was clear with no wind, 20F in the parking lot. I dressed lighter but it was probably less than 15F up top so I had to upgrade my mid-layer after an hour or so.

We rode the gondola and skied to the Aurora chair. Only Northern Lights was open within Aurora’s terrain pod, but it was excellently groomed like the best of what we had skied at Killington Tuesday. Here’s the view north from Northern Lights toward the base of Jordan, where they were making snow.
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Top of Oz (left) and Jordan (right), both closed:
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At the base of Aurora was a group of kids from Mont Saint Sauveur.
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One of the instructors said they were there to “ski some longer runs.” There was a run roped off for racers on the Barker lift.

We next moved to the Spruce chair, where we skied the three open groomers Risky Business, American Express and Downdraft.

Both Aurora and Spruce are conventional chairs, so we had cooled off some and needed a hot chocolate break.
We came back out and moved to the final open terrain pod served by the Barker high speed quad. Here we are on Cascade, where some snowmaking is drifting in lower down.
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Farther down we could see the snowmaking looking up at the run coming down from the closed Locke chair.
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White Cap was also closed with some snowmaking in progress.

We also skied Sunday Punch and Right Stuff. Right Stuff was the only open single black and it definitely had firmer snow than the other runs.
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Overall the groomers here were pitched more like Stratton’s and not as steep as some at Killington Tuesday.

Sunday River’s open chairs did serve some challenging ungroomed runs, but they were all closed. You could see moguls as evidence they had been open before the rain. However Sunday River’s natural snowpack was thinner than at Sugarloaf or in Vermont so the rain did more damage. This is Agony under the Barker chair:
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Perhaps one of you easterners can explain the yellow ice. It looks like someone peed in the snow before the rain/freeze. :lol:

We skied Lazy River to Escapade to the base to get on the road by 2:30PM. Vertical total was 14,700. As at Killington we skied all non-beginner runs that were open.

Driving past Gorham we got a view of the north end of the Presidential Range.
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Why the early departure? Before we left home I noted that this year’s Warren Miller movie was showing in SoCal while we were gone but also Dec. 4-5 in Middlebury. As we wanted to see it in the tribute year of his death, I figured that would be easy moving between Killington and Sugarbush. But ski quality takes priority, and on Monday/Tuesday we had the false impression that the skiing would be much better in Maine. When we found out otherwise Wednesday we made the 4 hour haul to spend the next two nights in Middlebury. The longer commute to Sugarbush was mitigated by not having to pack up and relocate Thursday.

As for Warren Miller, it was nice to see some travel decisions validated. The movie featured the following areas which I have skied: Red Mt., Points North AK, Mt. Baker, Arctic Heli Iceland, Portillo, Chamonix, Mike Wiegele. Engelberg which we have not skied is high on our wish list.
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Ski Records
Season length: 21 months, Nov. 29, 2010 - July 2, 2012
Days in one year: 80 from Nov. 29, 2010 - Nov. 17, 2011
Season vertical: 1,610K in 2016-17
Season powder: 291K in 2011-12
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Tony Crocker
 
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