Both of Maine’s largest ski mountains are scheduled to be open on a daily basis by the end of the week, while smaller ski areas across the state also are gearing up for the season. 

After getting 10 inches of natural snow in Carrabassett Valley over the weekend, Sugarloaf Mountain is planning to open Friday, according to Noelle Tuttle, marketing and communications manager. 

“We’ll be taking advantage of every opportunity over the next few days to blow as much snow as possible before opening day — the current plan is to have skiing and riding available on Tote Road, King’s Landing and Candyside with lift service on the SuperQuad,” Tuttle said in an email. She said ticket prices for opening weekend will be at a discounted early-season rate of $45 for all ages. 

Sugarloaf also increased the power of its snowmaking system over the summer with the installation of a 600 horsepower, 1,000-gallon-per-minute electric pump in its secondary pump house, an improvement that will help increase production and efficiency of snowmaking in the early season, Tuttle said. 

In addition, the mountain also is opening a new terrain park, Drop Line, that will be serviced exclusively by the secondary snowmaking system and allow the mountain to open freestyle features earlier than in years past. 

At Sunday River in Newry, Communications Director Karolyn Castaldo said five trails on Locke Mountain have been open since Oct. 19, but on weekends only. 


The mountain opened last Friday on a daily basis and will be open daily now for the season. 

“We’ve gotten a great start so far,” Castaldo said. “With the weather, obviously, only time will tell, but we’re excited about the winter. Even if we don’t end up with lots of natural snow in the forecast, we should be able to get quite a bit with our new snowmaking system.”

Over the summer, Sunday River installed nearly 2 miles of new pipe to increase water supply to the mountain, a move Castaldo said will improve snow making capabilities. 

“More natural snow is forecast for this week and temperatures are looking really great over the next few weeks,” Castaldo said Monday. “As we head into Thanksgiving, we should see a pretty big extension (of open trails).” 

Meanwhile, the future of Saddleback ski resort in Rangeley remains unclear. The mountain, previously one of the largest employers in Franklin County, has been closed since 2015, when its owners, Bill and Irene Berry, of Farmington, announced they were having trouble funding needed repairs to the aging chairlift.

In 2017, the Berrys announced plans to sell the ski area to the Australia-based Majella Group, but the deal hadn’t been completed when Sebastian Monsour, CEO of the group, was arrested and charged with fraud in June. 


Monsour’s arrest renewed talk the Saddleback Mountain Foundation, a partnership of local nonprofits, could be a potential buyer, but no announcements have been made. The Berrys could not be reached for comment Monday and an inquiry sent to the foundation was not returned. 

A phone number for the Portland office of Majella appeared to be out of service and a spokeswoman in Australia did not respond immediately to a request for comment. 

Across the state, Maine’s smaller ski mountains are also preparing to open, though they’ll be a few weeks behind Sugarloaf and Sunday River.

In Skowhegan, Eaton Mountain Ski Area will open Dec. 26, though snowmaking will start Dec. 1. “Normally we open the day after Christmas — not because we don’t have snow, but because most of our customers are wrapped up with family and the holidays until then,” owner David Beers said.

The mountain reopened for skiing and snowboarding in 2014 after a fire in 2005 and an accident with a groomer that severely injured Beers in 2011. 

This year, Beers said, a snowcat with bench seats will be available to offer skiers a ride to the top of the mountain, which hasn’t had an operating chairlift since reopening. He’s also not writing off the hope the chairlift could reopen eventually, though it would take about $200,000 to get it up and running. 


“I don’t want to get ahead of myself with the plans, but we have some things going on in the background to replace some or all of it,” Beers said. “Right now it’s too soon to say.”

Titcomb Mountain in Farmington, owned by the Farmington Ski Club, is scheduled to open Dec. 15. The mountain is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year. 

“For what it’s worth, the Farmers’ Almanac is saying it’s going to be a long, cold and snowy winter,” Manager Seth Noonkester said. “That’s always something to look forward to.” 

Lost Valley Ski Area in Auburn also is scheduled to open the same weekend — on Dec. 14, said General Manager John Herrick. 

The ski area is undergoing renovation of its lounge area to expand seating and accommodate a new brewery, Lost Valley Brewing Co., which opened in February. The lounge will continue to offer restaurant-style food service as well as beer from Lost Valley Brewing, Herrick said. 

The ski area also will be entering into its third year of offering tubing as soon as there’s enough snow — probably in early January. 


“I have to go with the positive,” Herrick said. “They say it’s going to be an outstanding winter — with milder temperatures but still lots of snow. I’m not a weatherman, so I can’t predict; but that’s what we’re hoping for — mild weather above 10 degrees but still lots of snow. That’s what will keep people coming out.” 

Sugarloaf ski resort is covered with natural snow as well as man-made snow from snowguns working at right on Monday. The mountain opens this Friday. (David Leaming/Morning Sentinel)

Toby Smith of Manchester treks up Sugarloaf ski mountain past snowguns and empty lift chairs at the base on Monday. The mountain was closed as crews made snow and groomed trails for the opening of the season this Friday. (David Leaming/Morning Sentinel)

Snowshoe hiker Steven Moore walks past the baselodge at Sugarloaf ski resort on Monday. The mountain opens this Friday. (David Leaming/Morning Sentinel)

A worker clears snow from one of many empty parking lots at Sugarloaf on Monday. Parking space may be at a premium this weekend as the mountain opens on Friday. (David Leaming/Morning Sentinel)

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