My 14-year-old son and I skied at Sugarloaf in Maine last week (March 20-24). "Da Loaf" was absolutely fabulous. This was the best place I've ever skied, and best skiing I've ever done.
First, a myth to dispel: Sugarloaf is not hard to get to. We flew from DC to Portland on cheap tickets. The Portland airport is easy and fast to get out from, and it's right on Rt. 95. It took us just over 2.5 hours to get to SL.
Our first skiing day, Saturday (3/25), was a gorgeous, blue-sky day. The snow was crusty in the morning but softened a little by afternoon. Sunday had snow flurries in the morning but brightened up later. Monday was single digits temperature and the snow was frozen crust, but we toughed it out and skied all day, fortified by a lot of hot cocoa. Tuesday was in the 20's with some new snow on the trails. I understand that the couple days since we left have been absolutely perfect for Spring skiing.
In our 3.5 days of skiing we covered the majority of the single blacks, and many of the blue trails, following recommendations that Sugaree had sent me. Each day we started with a warm-up run down Tote Road, and then decided which side of the mountain we would stick with til lunch. On the west side, we especially liked Narrow Gauge, Hayburner and Spillway. On the east side, we liked Boomauger, Ramdown (on Saturday, Ramdown was only semi-groomed, so it had mini-moguls), and Widowmaker. Once, we started down Flume from Widowmaker, even though there was a caution sign posted. Thirty feet down, glare ice. We gingerly made our way down the left edge past the ice and skied down the rest of the way without having to ice skate. On Saturday we skied down the Wedge (coming from Boomauger) and it was like skiing down a luge run -- but fun. Sunday we had last chair up King Pine, took Boomauger to ToHaul to Cross Haul back to the Base Lodge. It was one of those days that you just don't want to end. Tuesday morning we got to Super Quad right after it opened and skied til 10:00 AM, then had to pack and drive to Portland for the flight home.
Also, we probably did the freestyle terrain course at Sidewinder at least a dozen times. My son kept beating his old man -- often with a bunch of other kids watching at the top. Finally he gave me a big enough head start that I was able to "win". It was a blast; I felt like a kid again.
We got up to the Snowfields on Sunday and skied Narrow Gauge down. On Saturday, looking up at White Nitro extension from the Spillway X-cut, it glimmered with an icy coating, so we decided to wait til warmer temps thawed it a bit. But it didn't happen, and on Monday and Tuesday morning the Timberline lift wasn't running. Next year....
Somewhat big crowds on Saturday and the first half of Sunday, but it never felt crowded. By Sunday lunchtime the weekenders started heading home, and from then on crowds (and corresponding lines at lifts, the cafeteria, etc.) were non-existent. There were several times when we'd be on a slope and not see any other skiers.
On non-skiing aspects: the Loaf has good vibes! Everyone was friendly: the staff, the locals up for the weekend, waitresses, cash register operators, I mean everyone. We felt at home there, not like outsiders. On Saturday or Sunday (it's blurring together in my mind) a crowd hung out at "the Beach" (a large deck with a fire pit outside the base lodge) after the lifts closed. A staff guy put up speakers and played tunes, and one day they had the "Junk Jam" with kids jumping over an eight-foot tractor tire and other stuff.
At the end, we had a hard time leaving. We're definitely going back!
Edited by Jimski - 3/26/2009 at 09:03 pm
Edited by Jimski - 4/1/2009 at 03:22 pm