Timberline – Sugarloaf, ME

Looking back down the line.
Bottom terminal with drive and tensioning.
View up the line from tower 11.
Towers 16 and 17.
Top bullwheel next to the old gondola station.
View down the line in summer.
An empty line.
Another view of the base station.

8 thoughts on “Timberline – Sugarloaf, ME

  1. Somebody November 25, 2019 / 8:55 pm

    I don’t really understand this lift. According to the spreadsheet, the old gondola stage 2 was shorter, covered more vertical and you could get to it from King Pine. The only real advantage I see with this lift is that it is better sheltered, but it still looks like a pain to actually use. If they were to change this summit config, I think they should either:

    1. Move the existing Timberline to exactly where the old gondola ran (see red line on map)

    2. Build a HSQ starting on Lombard-X-Cut to the summit which would allow access from Whiffletree and Double Runner West (see the red line with the orange extension)

    The one flaw in my plan might be wind, and since I’ve never been to the Loaf, I have no idea how much of an issue that is. Still though, Timberline is so far out of the way that it makes me scratch my head a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • SkiME January 2, 2022 / 9:44 pm

      Grew up skiing sugarloaf. Wind is a big issue- the Gondi only ran less than half the time (stage 2), and the breakover near the summit would have complete exposure- tree line is below the summit building on the north side of the mountain. A detach would not work there due to the wind unless it had some special designs (I can’t see anything monocable working). The shoulder is much more protected and better trees, and the lift is built very low to the ground to avoid wind- no skiing under most of it.
      Secondly, the current location of timberline would give the same access from everywhere except king pine and avoids frontside lapping (there are only so many ways through the snowfields before you get VW beetle sized bumps, and no way to groom them due to limited winch cats tie points to groom). It also makes the best spring skiing in the east (the backside) a little harder to lap, which makes it last longer.
      Overall, while it looks weird, timberline is in the right place.


      • noahberg March 1, 2022 / 6:26 am

        Leitner has a decent 2s gondola design


        • SKIME April 23, 2022 / 7:26 pm

          Looks like a cool design, and may overcome the winds enough to make it a non- issue. The problem then becomes funding- while many plans and discussions have gone around for replacements, when it comes down to money Sugarloaf draws the short straw. The next new lift to be installed is a 1996 doppelmayr hand-me-down from Big Sky while Loon and SR get bubble 8’s. Really incredible after the Borvig issues they’ve had- I saw Spillway derope in person and had friends watch the King Pine rollback, and even though Spillway got replaced and KP got a new base terminal, Timberline (formerly Whiffletree, built in the same year as KP) got nothing and the same with Snubber. That’s also ignoring the 3 double doubles left that are similar in design to spillway (Double runner East/West, west mountain).

          Yeah- the lift system needs some updating, and Sugarloaf has other lifts to spend it on first.


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