Don’t Loaf on the ‘Loaf
A quick search for Sugarloaf on Powder Magazine’s website turns up a torrent of titles like “Storm Dispatch” and “All Time”, whose sole purpose is to wax poetically about eyebrow deep days just after a storm. The resort is in prime position to get hammered by Nor’easters — massive New England storms that roll in off the Atlantic Ocean and can blank the area in several feet of snow — and showcase big mountain terrain within Maine’s Carrabassett Valley. Across terrain as varied as some Western resorts, an area designated for nordic skiing, skating, and fat biking, and a heavy dose of Maine mountain culture, Sugarloaf is the place to have a dang good time.
Beginner: 23% | Intermediate: 34% | Advanced: 27% | Expert: 16%
Skiable Acres: 1,230 | Highest Point: 4,237′ | Vert: 2,820′
So what’s the deal with the terrain?
Can you actually get a big mountain feel in the East? After all, at 2,820′ the vert at Sugarloaf is only 40′ less than Breckenridge.
From the top the mountain the bulk of the resort falls down below, featuring your typical mix of runs from mellow groomers to steep bumps. At the very top, though, lies one of Sugarloaf’s claims to fame — wide open snowfields accessed by the only lift to reach above treeline in New England. A fire in the 1800s scoured the top of the mountain and wind has kept any trees from growing back. Yes, wind, and conditions can vary because of it, but if you head up after a storm, skiing The Snowfields is like skiing in the West and can offer some seriously deep turns.
Then off to skiers right is the Loaf’s 1000 acre ungroomed gladed powder side country accessible by traverse and hike or and (wait for it!) a snow cat. For only $30, those tanks that they use to groom runs can be your chauffeur for morning first tracks. Your ticket gets you two consecutive runs in on very low traffic, steep, and untouched terrain. Or you could spend that money on dinner. It’s up to you.
The Other Stuff
Maybe skiing’s not your thing or you have family members that want to do something else. The Sugarloaf Outdoor Center is a place for all things frozen on flat(ter) ground and includes over 100km of groomed Nordic trails, an NHL sized ice rink for pirouettes, and a number of snowshoe and fat bike trails. The best part about all of this is that admission and rental equipment is included in your downhill lift ticket for the day. So if you want to break up your trip with a little cruising on the ice, it’s all yours. Oh and let’s not forget about the massive hot tub at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel. It fits 30.
Finally, the Glue that Keeps it Together
Maybe it’s the Reggae Fest every April or the number of blue triangle stickers on everyone’s car, but when you’re at the Loaf you get the feeling that everyone knows about some secret that you really want to be a part of. Mainers get it, the University of New Hampshire students on Spring Break get it, and the Bostonians who make the four hour trek to bring double parking to Maine get it, too. To become a true Sugarloafer and get a sticker, you’ll have to buckle up, wiggle through tight trees in Brackett Basin, and just be cool. Then slap a blue triangle on the back of you rig. Perhaps then you’ll get it, too.
⛷ Buy Sugarloaf Lift Tickets Here ⛷
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