Kate Hanson flies down the course during her first run of the 2015 Nature Valley U.S. Alpine Championship Ladies Slalom at Sugarloaf. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Developing 450 more acres. Replacing the SuperQuad lift. Building a new nine-hole golf course. Overhauling its snow-making system. A spa, a restaurant redo and more.

Sugarloaf has major plans for the next 10 years.

Two weeks after Sunday River officials released their 10-year development outlook, Sugarloaf came out with Sugarloaf 2030 on Tuesday, outlining where that mountain will target investment.

“For sure we want to first and foremost make our skiing and riding experience the best that it can be,” said spokesman Ethan Austin. “We also need to be viable in a year-round capacity and be able to attract guests in the summer, too. There’s a large focus on that as well.”

Much of the work for the first five years focuses on 450 undeveloped acres on West Mountain. Planned there: a new lift, new housing lots, a new eight- to 12-lane tube park and lift-serviced mountain bike trails.

It’s already home to Bullwinkle’s Bistro. Austin said the currently winter-only restaurant will be renovated and expanded for summer weddings and conference use.


“The terrain over there is great for beginner and intermediate trails, so it’s a great way for us to expand our beginner and intermediate and family offerings over there,” Austin said. “It also lends itself very well to summer operations.”

The tubing park, with a surface lift, is likely still two to three years out, Austin said.

Also included in Sugarloaf 2030:

• Replace and upgrade four of its 13 lifts: Timberline, Double Runner, King Pine and SuperQuad.

“When (the SuperQuad) was installed (in the mid-1990s), it was the most advanced chairlift technology in the world,” said Austin. “It was the fastest detachable lift on the market. It still works great, it’s our busiest lift, it’s our most reliable lift these days, but as we’re growing and seeing more people, there’s going to be a need for an ability to get more people up the mountain faster, so we would like to upgrade that to likely a larger lift, probably a six-pack.”

A competitor flies down Narrow Gauge trail at Sugarloaf during a practice run for the Super G race, part of the U.S. Alpine Championships in 2017. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

• A new, full-service 4,600-square-foot spa at Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, ready for next winter.


• New Radio Frequency Identification pass and ticketing technology that will allow skiers with an active RFID pass to walk directly through the gates, skipping the ticket window lines.

• A new nine-hole short course at the Sugarloaf Golf Club, which is owned by the town but managed by the resort.

It complements the current 18-hole course, Austin said, and will hopefully appeal to weddings and conference groups that don’t have the time for four to five hours of play, but can fit in 90 minutes.

“Our current golf course is world-renowned, it’s challenging,” he said. “This would allow us to attract a different type of golfer that might not want the challenge of that full (course.)”

Carrabassett Valley Academy’s Sam Conzelman takes a practice run on the GS course setup on Competition Hill at Sugarloaf in 2017 during the U.S. Alpine Championships. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal file photo

• A major overhaul to the entire snow-making system that starts next summer with a new dam on Caribou Pond.

The mountain has primarily relied upon a west branch of the Carrabassett River for its snow-making water, Austin said, which has put the resort “at the mercy of Mother Nature — if there’s a dry spell, the level goes down. If it’s really wet, the level can get even too high to draw what we need from it.”


“The ultimate goal for us is to have the capacity, so if temperatures cooperate, that we can cover all of our snow-making trails before Christmas,” he said. “People want to ski here during that Christmas break and they want to be reasonably sure that they’re going to have good skiing and a lot of skiing. The goal is to meet that desire.”

• Returning the summit building at the very top of Sugarloaf Mountain to use for year-round views. The building had been the top terminal for the Sugarloaf gondola, which hasn’t run for about 25 years, Austin said.

“We’re Maine’s second-highest peak, so it would be a really unique experience for a lot of people who don’t generally get to stand on top of a mountain like that,” he said.

When Sunday River Resort announced its 10-year plans earlier this month, Greg Sweetser, executive director of the Ski Maine Association, said the projects fit with the trend he was seeing for Maine resorts to expand their offerings into year-round draws.

Boyne Resorts owns both Sunday River and Sugarloaf, and Sugarloaf’s plans announced Tuesday fit that same trend.

“Numbers have been good,” Austin said. “We had the most snowfall we’d had in over 20 years last year. This year the snowfall numbers aren’t there, but we’re having a good winter again as well. We’ve been on a good trajectory ever since we’ve been part of Boyne Resorts. That kind of paves the way for this sort of development plan.”

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