Sunday River to Build Second Merrill Hill Chairlift

Sunday River Resort will get another boost next winter with the addition of a second chairlift on Merrill Hill. The first Merrill lift debuted just weeks ago and connects the South Ridge base area to the hill’s summit, where a few ski-in, ski-out homesites remain for sale. The next new Doppelmayr fixed grip triple in this section of the resort will service steeper trails on the back side with a vertical rise of 495 feet over a 1,963 foot slope length. Sunday River says the four minute lift ride will not only service new real estate but also access newly cut runs with sweeping views. The move also sets the stage for future expansion into the Western Reserve beyond Jordan Bowl.

Merrill Hill 2 will be at least the fourth new lift in five years for Sunday River. In addition to the first Merrill Hill triple, Sunday River debuted a new competition T-Bar in 2019 and eight place bubble lift in Jordan Bowl this season. The resort and parent company Boyne Resorts plan to continue investing in lifts and other projects under the Sunday River 2030 plan with new installations planned on Barker Mountain, Aurora Peak and Tempest.


12 thoughts on “Sunday River to Build Second Merrill Hill Chairlift

  1. skitheeast February 16, 2023 / 8:23 am

    The layout looks like a pure real estate lift. They seem to be copying and pasting the Big Sky business model.


  2. wayneme February 16, 2023 / 9:20 am

    Yep, operating like a Boyne resort now alright. I’m not really the target market for this one but I sure hope we get some actual progress on the 2030 plan soon, Barker and South Ridge aren’t getting any younger. I’m also curious how this fits in with the “Western Reserve” teases, because this lift doesn’t really expand the resort any closer to the Jordan base. Would love to see a masterplan.


    • Mike B February 17, 2023 / 1:07 pm

      Exactly. It almost feels like they are trying to justify what is a real estate lift by teasing a connecting to Western Reserve, but that’s literally a mile or more away. Also interesting that there is some dissonance on the vertical drop between this report and The Storm – is it 495′ or 750′ ish? I think that former number is for Merrill Hill 1, not the planned ML2.

      Liked by 1 person

      • wayneme February 17, 2023 / 1:15 pm

        looking at a topographic map, 750′ sounds right. The road down there is about as low as the bottom of the North Peak lift, which the current triple is uphill from.


      • Peter Landsman February 18, 2023 / 12:19 pm

        Sunday River told me 495’ vertical x 1,963’ slope length. That is consistent with 4 minute ride time. More vertical would almost certainly have to be a longer lift.


  3. abyron5 February 16, 2023 / 9:28 am

    Look at the roads around the resort. This lift will keep everyone with houses immediately to the north off of the access road freeing up parking and easing traffic on weekends


    • wayneme February 16, 2023 / 10:13 am

      There are very few homes north of the resort, it’s all dead-end roads into the state forest or the Jordan Hotel.

      Best way to reduce car traffic would be a Tempest quad upgrade to detach, to get more people to use the White Cap lot. Though selfishly I’m torn between wanting to more quickly traverse the resort from there, and wanting that lot to stay pretty quiet.


      • skitheeast February 16, 2023 / 11:23 am

        The real way to drastically reduce car traffic would be to bring back the Silver Bullet Express with the envision extension to Boston. 2 hours to Portland and a little over 4 to Boston would take hundreds of cars off the road everyday.


        • powderseeker February 16, 2023 / 12:58 pm

          this would be amazing. My idea to make this more viable (and preferable to driving) is to have a couple of train cars set up as an apres-ski bar. They could charge high prices, but if you can drink instead of driving, that has a lot of value. Make it a whole apres-ski experience!

          Liked by 1 person

  4. carletongebhardt February 16, 2023 / 10:37 am

    I was expecting them to announce a Barker replacement. The fact that they are only announcing this lift, does that mean we have to wait yet again, for a Barker replacement?


  5. Machski February 16, 2023 / 11:38 am

    Other than selling high priced real estate, this lift does nothing to further into the Western Reserve. It is disconnected from the balance of the resort and now where near Jordan. Requires a minimum of two Lift Rides off MH, and lots services by this new chair require 3 just to reach the Jordan 8. It will do nothing the take care off the road from western real estate folks other than the actual MH folks. There is a lower Merrill North development that will not have or be allowed lift access off this new MH2 chair. I know because we looked at that, you had to sign an affidavit when you closed acknowledging you understood no lift service ever from your property there.

    This better not be it for this summer. Personally, if I were going to drop $1million on a lot at MH, I’d want to see continued progress on main mountain lift upgrades. Barker better happen or this pales in comparison to the Loon and SL plans this summer.


    • Machski February 16, 2023 / 12:33 pm

      Nevermind, just got the email from SR announcing the Barker 6 opening next season. Just like Jordan 8 but in a 6!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s