Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Ski Resort is in a very exclusive skiing hotspot. In size, only Killington VT rivals its 1,400 skiable acres. At 4,237 feet, Sugarloaf Mountain is the second highest peak in Maine. Its 2,800-foot vertical drop is the highest continuous drop east of the Rocky Mountains. Sugarloaf Ski Area boasts the only lift-serviced above-treeline skiing in the East. It may be remote (Boston MA and Portland ME are both over 3 hours away) and cold, but Sugarloaf Ski Resort is a must-visit place for skiers and snowboarders in the northeast United States.

Sugarloaf Ski Resort is the most popular ski resort in Maine, with terrain for every level. Nine of its fifteen lifts leave from the base area, so this get crowded on a busy weekend or holiday. Advanced skiers are best advised to head to the top of the mountain and ski down to the midway lifts, only going to the base for refreshments or a respite from the cold.

Experts who have become accustomed to skiing at western resorts like Vail, Aspen, and Snowbird are often let-down by the black-diamond ratings at East Coast resorts. This is not the case at Sugarloaf Mountain: the double-blacks are serious; Ripsaw, Gondola Line, and the Snowfields should challenge even the best skiers and boarders.

After a warm-up run or two, experts should head straight to the Snowfields for a taste of wide-open above-treeline skiing not usually seen in the East. Serviced by a single quad-chair that sometimes closes in windy conditions, the runs from the top are steep and sweet and there are enough different trails to keep experts satisfied all day at Sugarloaf Mountain.

Mogul lovers should head to the extreme Skidder or the slightly more manageable Bubble Cutter and Winter's Way. The glades at Sugarloaf Ski Resort are also open to anyone with a lift ticket. Locals always seem to know how to find good paths through the woods, follow their tracks for some great secluded skiing. Snowboarders who prefer sculpted trick features to glades should find plenty to satisfy them in Sugarloaf's five terrain parks. The most extreme is The Yard; no skiers allowed in this 400-yard long expert terrain park.

Intermediates should be wary about heading down the Front Face of the Sugarloaf Mountain summit. They should still make the trip to the top and enjoy the views before coming down the blue-rated Tote Road or green Timberline. Tote Road winds 3.5 miles all the way to the base. Hayburner and King's Landing are also good cruising runs as are Cruiser and Buckboard off Lift A. For a more secluded blue run, head to the West Mountain Trail, serviced by its own lift.

Beginners can ride all the way to the top too and be assured of a gentle ride down Timberline run. Green runs off the Busksaw Lift are also recommended. First-time skiers and snowboarders will find Sugarloaf Ski Area the best ski resort in Maine to begin their sport. Birch's bunny slope is serviced by two lifts, but gets busy toward the end of the day as people return to their condos. By this time, novices should have advanced to the longer green runs, Whiffletree and Boardwalk above the base area.

Because it is isolated from centers of civilization, Sugarloaf Mountain has the best base area of any ski resort in Maine and one of the best in New England. There are plenty of condominiums, lodges, and independent restaurants near the resort, but the whole area has a laid-back attitude that reminds you why are here: for the skiing.

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