Sugarloaf, ME

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13 thoughts on “Sugarloaf, ME

  1. Kai Glidden September 24, 2018 / 11:43 am

    Does anybody have any ideas or guesses about what’s next on the lift replacement/install lineup here? I feel like its time to take down some of these old Borvig’s.

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    • Collin September 24, 2018 / 7:54 pm

      Sugarloaf is done for a while with capital projects. They make no money.

      Boyne’s most likely eastern lift projects are Barker at Sunday River due to it’s horrible reliability, and the South Peak beginner area at Loon to address their severe lack of beginner terrain and the entire mountain’s parking issues.

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      • Kai Glidden September 25, 2018 / 6:17 am

        I still think they need to up their capacity soon. It seems the lift lines get just a bit bigger every year and SuperQuad is taking 90% of everyone on the mountain up.

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      • Collin September 25, 2018 / 9:15 am

        If you look at any lift project, you can divide the motive behind all of them into two categories. Was the project done because the resort wanted something new, or because they NEEDED something new?

        All of the Big Sky 2025 projects are in the “wanted” category except Challenger (more on that later) which wasn’t on the original plan but probably should’ve been. Boyne wanted to upgrade these lifts because it will improve customer experience which they think will increase skier visits and spending per guest.

        Challenger at Big Sky, Spruce Peak at Sunday River, Skyline at Sugarloaf, and Chair 6 at Crystal are in the “NEEDED” category. Boyne had no choice but to take on these projects because the previous lifts either had serious mechanical issues, safety concerns, were destroyed in accidents, or a combination of these factors.

        Of the potential lift projects at all 3 New England resorts, only Barker at SR falls into the “NEEDED” category and is the only one that I think has any chance of happening before Big Sky 2025 is done. Boyne also has a ton of debt that is from buying the resorts back from Oz and some of the investments at Big Sky.

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      • Kai Glidden September 25, 2018 / 3:10 pm

        Didn’t Sugarloaf have a 2020 plan at one point? I believe it had numerous lift updates including plans to replace the Double Runner chairs. They launched a website about it: sugarloaf2020.com but it doesn’t seem it has been updated since 2015. I think the rollback of the King Pine lift push their plans back or destroyed them?

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      • Collin September 25, 2018 / 4:40 pm

        They did, but they’ve pretty much backed out of it in favor of the Big Sky 2025 plan. That plan has been changed many times over. Originally it included upgrading Ramcharger, Swift Current, and Thunderwolf to bubble 6’s, a multi-stage gondola to replace Explorer and the Lone Peak Triple, upgrading Shedhorn and Iron Horse to detachables, adding another detachable in Moonlight Basin, adding bubbles to 6 Shooter, and replacing Headwaters with something on a longer alignment. There’s a ton of stuff here and I doubt it will all be completed.

        Since then they’ve changed Ramcharger to an 8, added a Challenger replacement, and ditched extending the gondola into the bowl in favor of the Powder Seeker lift.

        The Sugarloaf plan included Spillway (already completed), Double Runner, and King Pine. Later they added replacing the SuperQuad with a 6 pack and relocating to Timberline and adding a T bar in Bracket Basin. The SuperQuad upgrade and relocation was mentioned in one of Peter’s news roundups and was supposed to be a 2019 project. Would it be a good upgrade? Yes. Is Barker at Sunday River more important? Also yes.

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  2. Somebody November 28, 2019 / 11:21 pm

    I thought of a new summit option, where in addition to Timberline, a new High Speed Quad would be put in on the backside (the red line). This lift would not only allow for a single lift option to the summit from the top of king pine (blue line), but would also add a ton of new bowl terrain. It would have about 2,000 feet of vertical drop and would be 7,500 feet long. It would also be sheltered by trees for its entire length.

    First picture:

    Second picture:

    The only issue that I see with this plan is that I’m not currently aware who owns this land, however seeing as it is undeveloped, I wouldn’t be surprised if the owner was willing to lease/sell it. If this lift were installed though, it would change Sugarloaf massively and make it a strong contender for the best mountain in the East.

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    • Max Hart November 29, 2019 / 9:16 am

      First of all… the Loaf already is a strong contender for the best mountain in the east. Second, that’s all south facing terrain. And third, the Loaf’s prevailng winds are pretty much perpendicular to that lift line, and there wouldn’t be much protection for that line on a ridge like that.

      If the Loaf were to expand at all now, it would probably in the region around the Timberline Quad, west of west mountain, or in the area surrounding the Survey line.

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  3. Eastcoastkid September 30, 2020 / 7:10 pm

    I just listen to “The Storm Skiing” podcast Part 2 with the President of Sugarloaf. He mentioned now that the new West Mountain expansion lift will not happen until the summer of 2022. With Boyne and Sugarloaf not commenting on this lift, just saying “it will be high speed” I am willing to bet that this new West Mountain Expansion lift will be the old Swift Current lift from Big Sky. They just don’t want to say that until the new Swift Current lift is built. It makes sense for the delay. Will spend sometime re-doing this lift before shipping it across the country. It looks like both Boyne new lifts in the East in 2022 will be reused lifts (Swift current for West Mountain at Sugarloaf) and (Kancamagus for Seven Brothers at Loon). Just my opinion but from what I am hearing I would think that’s what’s happening.

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    • skitheeast October 1, 2020 / 12:10 am

      That is probably not a bad bet. There is really nowhere for it to go at Big Sky, elsewhere out west, or the Midwest, so it is likely coming east. Loon’s short term lifts are Kanc 8 (new), Seven Brothers (old Kanc quad), and Lincoln (likely to a 6), so that is out. Sunday River’s near term lift projects are Barker (likely a 6 or 8), Merrill Hill (probably a fixed-grip), and Jordan Bowl (likely a 6). That leaves Sugarloaf, where the near term lift projects are West Mountain (high-speed quad), Timberline (high-speed quad), and Double Runner (unknown). Honestly, Swift would be a good candidate for any of these projects, but with West Mountain being right after the removal of Swift from Big Sky, it is likely the frontrunner.

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  4. Eastcoastkid October 1, 2020 / 9:09 am

    As of right now I am not sure when Barker is going to be replaced. I don’t think Boyne will go to 3 new lifts in the east in 2022. I would say 2023 by the earliest.
    I just wished Boyne invested more into Sugarloaf since it’s already the best mountain in the East. It just needs New lifts badly. We really haven’t had a new lift put in since 1997 with Whiffletree. Yes Skyline was put in 2011 to replace Spillway but that’s only because the lift feel off the towers and the state said the lift was unsafe and couldn’t be fixed. If we didn’t have this accident, I highly doubt we would have gotten a new lift.
    As of right now the I heard the rough number on the engineering on the West Mountain Project is that the lift will be 7,800 feet long. Swift Current is currently 8,418 feet. I say rough numbers because they could move the bottom terminal down a little more towards the intersection of West Mountain Road and the Access Road since they are trying to build additional parking lots and condo units. They could also expand a few hundred feet at the top next to Bullwinkle’s. Lets face it where the current West Mountain lift ends is a terrible placement, its a hike to Bullwinkle’s or any of the good trails with snowmaking on them. By bringing the terminal a little closer to the restaurant they could get this lift exactly 8,418 feet.
    Sugarloaf has said many of times they want 5 new lifts by 2030,
    * West Mountain Expansion 2022.
    * Timberline High Speed Quad (2024)
    * Superquad going to a D-Line 6 pack (2026) which they announced was the plan at the town of Carrabassett meeting last year.
    * Double Running East and West (Fix grip quad 2028) Really should be high speed but they won’t spent the money.
    * King Pine, new fixed grip quad (this should be high speed as well but they won’t spend the money unless they get a used lift from Loon or Big Sky) With the terminal of this new lift 1000 feet further down the hill so its easier to get back and forth from the Cat skiing operation.
    This is my opinion and hopes from what I am hearing but then again I have been drinking the Sugarloaf Kool Aid for 30 years, we can barely replace our grooming fleet.
    I don’t count the new T Bar that will be put in because Sugarloaf isn’t paying for that, CVA and the town will be.
    Also in regards to the person comment above, who was asking about why not put a high speed quad up Gondi line. The only way to the top with a chairlift is timberline due to the wind and lack of trees for cover. The only way to put a lift up Gondi line again would be a tram or a large 3S Gondi. (Maybe an 8 pack since they said 8 packs can handle 60 MPH winds) but that type of money won’t be spent at Sugarloaf. Not worth spending that much money on one lift. If I remember right the Gondi final season it only ran 21 days because it couldn’t handle the wind.

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    • skitheeast October 1, 2020 / 12:57 pm

      Sugarloaf is a fantastic mountain, one of the best in the region, but it is simply too far from the major northeast population centers to ever experience the same amount of success as other mountains. That does not mean that a certain level of investment is not needed, and Boyne does seem committed to the mountain with the 2030 plan, so I think Sugarloaf will emerge just fine.

      As for the Boyne northeast timeline: Barker may very well be replaced this upcoming summer in 2021 alongside the already announced Kanc 8. Three lifts would be a lot for 2022, but remember that Merrill Hill is a fixed-grip real estate lift, Seven Brothers is reusing the Kanc quad, and West Mountain may even be reusing Swift from Big Sky, so costs would not be too high. Separately, I thought the Double Runner replacement was going to happen before the Superquad replacement? Perhaps the timelines changed with COVID delaying certain projects, but I know that was the original plan.

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