Ski Sundown - Skiing south of New Hampshire? Shenanigans.
I figure, for a ski tour of New England, I should probably try to include most of the states in New England. (Unfortunately I will not be able to ski Rhode Island, as the one ski area in RI is already closed for the season.) Armed with this thought, I got in my car and made the three hour drive to Ski Sundown, just west of Hartford Connecticut. The guys in the New England regional forums on NS recommended Sundown, saying it has the best parks in CT hands down. The only clue I had that I was nearing the mountain (other than my GPS) was a lone Newschoolers sticker plastered to a stop sign several miles away. Sundown could use some additional signage.
I showed up to Ski Sundown at about noon, knowing that the mountain was fairly small I figured the afternoon and evening would be more than enough time to tire of the mountain. After booting up and getting my ticket, I jumped on their very recognizable yellow triple that services the summit. Although there are technically three lifts, Sundown is a one-lift mountain, as the others must only operate when they have large crowds. After skiing the 4 trails that did not have park features on them, I turned my attention for the rest of the day to the parks. Although Sundown is a small mountain, I applaud their management for allowing their parks to take up such a large portion of their mountain, percentage-wise. With two fairly lengthy park runs, it makes the mountain extremely park heavy considering there are only really 6 ways down the mountain. The easier of the two parks is located on 'Tom's Treat', and although it suffers from some very flat sections between features, is a very fun little intermediate park. I spent most of my day lapping this trail with another younger park rat whose name I no longer remember. I am quite happy to say that I finally got side-entry rails down, and I learned how to hit curved rails as well during my time at Ski Sundown. I must say, the feeling of being rocketed around a curved rail and launched off the end is something that is really, really awesome. Anyway here is most of what is located on 'Tom's Treat'.
The other park on the mountain is located on 'Stinger'. It is where the majority of the riders were spending their time. I was surprised to find such a large group of Newschoolers at such a small mountain mid-week, but it was nice to be in a park almost completely dominated by skiers. I talked to a few of them briefly and everyone was super cool at the mountain, no jackasses around like at some places. Anyway, 'Stinger' features surprisingly large jibs for such a small mountain, most of which were a little above my skill level. The rainbow rail kept tempting me, but I did not feel like falling off that thing to flat on this particular day, so I took my photos and headed back to 'Tom's Treat'.
At around 4:30 after a solid 4 hours of so of park riding, I decided to call it quits. I was more than happy with my progression for the day. On the way out I saw a couple guys filming and went and introduced myself. They seemed pretty stoked that I was there to write about their mountain and asked if I wanted to ride with them, but by that point I was already pretty tired. With a 3 hour drive back home I had to decline.
Although I will not be returning to Ski Sundown (due to it being over 3 hours away from me), it is a nice little mountain. The skiers and boarders who live in Hartford are lucky to have a mountain so close that clearly recognizes the value of the terrain park going forward. If anything I would say the park crew at Sundown made most of their features in the main park too big, but judging by how many people were killing it in 'Stinger' that is probably just me being bitter that I am not to that point yet. Anyway, it is a solid option for those poor skiers trapped so far from the big ski mountains of the north country.
Coming up next on GTNS I will be making another attempt to get to Sugarloaf this weekend on Sunday 3/23. The universe seems to be conspiring against me though as there is a storm moving through late Saturday night that could make the drive a bit rough. Also I am attending one of my best friends Bachelor parties Friday into Saturday, so I might be dead by then. Hopefully I get up there this weekend, but if I do not there are still a few days where I can make the trip if I need to postpone it.
Keep on shredding NS.