Sugarloaf to launch Cat-skiing to Burnt Mountain

Sugarloaf’s Bracket Basin glade skiing will get lift service by two snow cats this season. Photo by Jamie Walter courtesy of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Dan CassidyINside the OUTside

by Dan Cassidy

There’s a new “Cat” coming to ski country, and it’s coming to Sugarloaf’s Burnt Mountain. It’s the first cat-skiing service in Maine and one of very few east of the Rockies.

The announcement was made recently by Noelle Tuttle, Communications Manager at Sugarloaf. The resort has purchased a new 12 passenger snow cat that will work along with an existing 12-passenger cat to transport skiers and riders to the top of the Androscoggin Glade from the Log Yard located at the bottom terminal of the King Pine chairlift.

Glade cutting crews have been busy this summer working to develop a designated cat road and clear a new glade on Burnt Mountain that will add 100 acres of newly-developed terrain to explore.

According to the announcement, Burnt Mountain and the Androscoggin Glade have been accessible to skiers and riders willing to hike or skin.

“Since its opening, our side country terrain has become a fan favorite among Sugarloafers,” said Crusher Wilkinson, Sugarloaf Vice President of Mountain Operations. “The new Burnt Mountain Cat Skiing will not only enhance the skiing and riding experience, but also make the terrain more accessible to our guests.”

Burnt Mountain cat rides will be offered on weekends and vacation weeks only, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The two passenger cats will rotate shuttling skiers and riders every 20 minutes, and guests will be able reserve their seat online in advance.

Riding and skiing at Burnt Mountain is recommending for experts, according to the press release. Anyone unfamiliar with the Burnt Mountain terrain is encouraged to visit Ski Patrol at the top of the Androscoggin Glade for more information.

The 2020 Ten-Year map outlines the resort’s ten-year vision for development. Since the vision was first unveiled in 2010, the resort has seen numerous upgrades and improvements, said Noelle Tuttle, in a press release. The resort has added more than 600 acres of new terrain, a new quad chairlift, massive upgrades to its snowmaking system and lift infrastructure, as well as various village enhancements and upgraded facilities throughout the resort.

It’s time to get into shape, as the snow Gods will be with us soon. And while you’re working out, it’s also time to get your ski/snowboard gear tuned up and ready to hit the slopes.

Sunday River Mountain Park ready to open for the summer season

Dan CassidyINside the OUTside

by Dan Cassidy

Get set for an exciting summer at Sunday River’s Mountain Park that opens tomorrow, June 29. There are electronic bike rentals, new hiking terrain, and an 18-hole alpine disc golf course that tops the list of many new and exciting things to do this summer.

Mountain biking at Sunday River Park.
Internet photo

Mountain biking

You’ll find biking on 20 miles of downhill mountain terrain, a six-line Zip Line tour, a climbing wall and bungee trampoline along with scenic lift rides to the top of North Peak. There’s plenty to do this vacation if you’re ready for excitement. Resort guests can plan their weekend trip to the Mountain Park according to a press release by Darcy Lambert, Communications Director at Sunday River Ski Resort in Newry.

River Rock Festival and more

Along with all the exciting events, make plans to check out the festivals on July 8 and 9, the Tough Mountain Challenge on July 29, the new Maine Brew Fest on September 8-10 and the annual North American Wife Carrying Championship scheduled for October 7. The fun continues from late June right into the Columbus Day weekend.

According to Lambert, midweek guests to Sunday River can also register for Outdoor Discovery School clinics and classes through the resort’s partnership with L.L.Bean. “With an Outdoor Discovery School located right at Sunday River’s Grand Summit Hotel, instruction in archery, kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and stand-up paddle boarding yoga is easy,” she said.

L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools at Sunday River offers clinics and courses at select times Monday through Friday until August 17. You can get your registration forms online at www.sundayriver.com/llbean

Sunday River’s Mountain Park is open from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Thursdays through Sundays beginning June 29 until September 3rd. Starting Friday, September 8, the Mountain Park schedule shifts to 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Fridays through Sundays until the closing day on October 8. Mountain Park activity tickets and passes are available to purchase from Sunday River Sports in the South Ridge Lodge.

For additional information on any of Sunday River’s summer activities, events and the L.L.Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools partnership visit www.sundayriver.com or call 800-543-2754.

Be safe and have an enjoyable summer.

Steamboat ski resort jewel in Colorado Rocky Mountains

Dan CassidyINside the OUTside

by Dan Cassidy

A large group of NASJA (North American Snowsports Journalists) ventured to the Colorado Rockies recently to ski several notable resorts, including Vail, Copper, Winter Park, Loveland, Breckenridge, Crested Butte and Keystone as pre trips and then all joining up at Steamboat Mountain resort located in northwestern part of the state.

Steamboat is one of the finest world-class ski resorts, with a peak elevation on Mt. Werner at 10,568 feet, covering 2,965 acres of skiable terrain and even though there are more lifts than other ski areas, the lift infrastructure struggles to cover the entire mountain. There are 165 named trails for skiers and riders to enjoy, from steep (double black diamond) runs to easy cruisers, and tree skiing with plenty of room to spread the fun.

The resort also has backside skiing on Morningside Park that adds to the fun for everyone’s ability. You can make first tracks by boarding the eight-person gondola between 8 and 8:15 a.m.

Ski with Billy Kidd

Join Billy Kidd, Olympic Medalist and World Champion where you’ll get some pointers and take a run down the intermediate run Heavenly Daze.

A special treat at Steamboat is you won’t need a vehicle to get around any of Steamboat’s properties. There are several shuttle buses that transport passengers throughout the area including the mountain lifts, shopping facilities and the many restaurants.

High altitude environment

If you’re heading to Steamboat, you’ll want to take notice that you might experience symptoms of dizziness, headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep problems, coughing and difficulty breathing. Also, be sure to wear plenty of sunscreen, stay hydrated and be sure to dress appropriately for cold conditions.

Steamboat offers an experience of a laid-back western culture. There are hundreds of restaurants, cafes, galleries and shops as well as the finest lodging and ski experiences that Colorado has to offer.

Before you go …

If you’re planning to just fly to Steamboat with a few friends, that’s one thing. However, if you’re planning on going with a group, make sure you have a travel agent that will deal with the public relations department at the resort and make sure you have your commitments in writing and that they are honored. I recently learned that the travel agency our NASJA group dealt with did not honor many of the requests and that they did not provide a detailed accounting of several other commitments.

I was hoping to end this column in a favorable way because the mountain resort is truly a great area. But with the amount of work our executive secretary did to make our trek a success, I don’t think that as a journalist I would be willing to promote or recommend Steamboat as a go to place. I am constantly asked by many skiing friends questions like where have I skied out west or to foreign resorts and how I would recommend my experience. I have made it a policy to be truthful with anybody who will be spending a lot of money for a ski vacation that they will have a pleasant trip.

Ski and ride safely. Use your head and wear a helmet.

Skimo races coming to Maine ski areas

Dan CassidyINside
the
OUTside

by Dan Cassidy

The Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation plans to celebrate the accomplishments of disabled athletes who participate year-round in adaptive sports at the 32nd annual Ski-a-thon, according to Deb Maxfield, marketing and development director.

“This year’s theme is Randonnée, recognizing that Maine Adaptive’s Founding Partner, Sunday River will host the “Something Bigger” skimo race on Ski-A-Thon morning, Maxfield said in a media e-mail.”

Ski mountaineering racing arrived in northeastern U.S. during the 2004-05 season. The NE Rando Race Series has been organizing races since the 2008-09 season at six different venues in four different states. “As the sport has rapidly grown here in the northeast,” according to race director Jonathan Shefftz. “The time has come for a race at one of the northeast’s biggest resorts, Sunday River,” he said. “All race proceeds will benefit Maine Adaptive.”

By far the most expansive course layout ever held in the northeast, the race will attract elite aerobic athletes from the fields of alpine racing, triathlon, road running, trail running, cycling, Nordic skiing and other endurance sports. The race will be scored for the national ranking points system of the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association (USSMA), recognized as our nation’s governing body for the sport by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation (ISMF). The ISMF has been recognized by the International Olympic Committee as an official Olympic Federation in preparation for skimo racing’s inclusion as a demonstration sport at the 2018 Winter Olympics.

Competitors with a chance to podium come from many New England ski resorts. Despite such talent at the top, the Someday Bigger race is open to everyone. There will be a shortened, noncompetitive course for those looking for a different challenge. On-line registration is available until midnight Thursday, March 23 at https://www.maineadaptive.org/ski-a-thon/the-something-bigger-event/. Limited day of registration may also be available. The race begins at 9 a.m.

Maine Adaptive provides free adaptive lessons in alpine and nordic skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, paddling, cycling, tennis and golf. The Ski-A-Thon raises over half of Maine Adaptive’s annual operating funds, which provides equipment and programming to nearly 500 adults and children annually. Throughout the winter, groups of five commit to supporting Maine Adaptive by securing donations and pledges as a Ski-A-Thon team.

For additional information, visit www.maineadaptive.org or contact Deb Maxfield, at dmaxfield@maineadaptive.org or call (617) 794-7104.