Sunday River on Superbowl Sunday, because skiing is better than football!
Sorry for the lack of updates folks, life got a little hectic for me over the last week or so, but worry naught reader! I have been busy skiing, and will be posting lots of articles this week to catch up!
This past Sunday, I got to visit a mountain that I was long overdue to ski. Everyone I know is always raving about Sunday River, and as a New England native, I feel it was almost criminal to have waited this long to ski it. It is a truly massive ski-resort, and one of the best ones I have visited yet. Here are some of my summit photos from various peaks.
Barker Mtn Summit
I got to the mountain and just missed first chair. I geared up and headed for the lift. As I approached it, I saw a gondola and got sad. Further inspection revealed that the lift was not a gondola, but a 'Chondola'. Genius! For every gondola there is, there are 5 or so regular chairs in between. Talk about the best idea ever! The tourists who can't deal with a little wind get their fancy little box in the sky, and the real skiers blaze through the line and get way more runs in with out the hassle of dealing with a gondola.
The 'Chondola'. The best idea ever!
As I rode up I formulated my plan of attack to deal with this massive resort. I decided to start at Jordan bowl and head left, hitting every peak until I hit Whitecap. The skiing was nice, and I found plenty of real steep stuff to challenge me. I was also surprised by how easy it is to get around considering how wide the resort was. I rarely found myself needing to skate very often. I was having a pretty good time until I got to Barker peak, at which point I started having a god damn awesome time. I found a glade named 'Last Tango' open for business. I promptly dove right in and started having a blast. Although not overly steep, it had several extremely technical sections, which I just love. Glades to me are like a puzzle, I love having to think about where I am going to put my skis well before I get there. The end of it was basically a rocket of a chute that involved going under several felled trees, and was one of the coolest exits to a glade I have ever seen.
From Barker, I continued heading left across the mountains (left as in looking at the mountains). When I arrived at Whitecap, I knew I had found my favorite. Pretty much every trail off the summit of Whitecap is extremely steep, except for one blue trail, for those to escape the extreme difficulty of every other trail. That trail is aptly named 'Salvation'. I got off the lift and headed left, and was promptly greeted by this trail sign.
I don't think I have ever found a trail sign I liked more. It put a huge grin on my face and I was not leaving until I had done everything open off of Whitecap. Shock wave was absolutely terrific. Extremely steep, very technical, and included random small drops on the trail. It was loaded with people, mostly those looking like they regretted choosing to descend it. I bombed my way down it, and booked right back for the lift, eager to move on to the next. I headed down White Heat, and it was challenging, but I felt Shock Wave offered more. When I got to the entrance to the Hardball glades, I was giddy to discover that they were in fact open for skiing.
Selfie inside the Hardball glades.
Hardball Glades as seen from the lift.
I was quite pleased with them, very steep, and quite narrow. It was a ton of fun. Not the best glades I have ever been in (as that honor still resides with Jay Peak), but most certainly the best this season. Having finished all 7 peaks (minus Oz, which unfortunately was not open), it was past 1pm and my legs were on fire. I headed back to the main lodge to have some lunch.
After lunch, I started heading for the park named 'The Sticks'. I wish I had looked at the map earlier, as it takes 3 lifts to get you there from the South Ridge lodge. This is probably the only complaint I have with Sunday River, and its that this park, which is really cool, is located so far from their main park area. The Sticks is one of the coolest little parks I have come across yet, and I doubt it gets hardly any traffic just due to the fact that it takes somewhere around 40 minutes to get to if you are in the main park. Please large mountains, keep your parks near each other if possible.
Anyway, The Sticks is an all-natural park located in a tight little winding trail through the forest. It was super cool, but I have never been particularly great at wooden features, so I took some photos and headed over to the main park. Here is the sticks, some features may have been omitted.
From 'The Sticks' I headed straight for 'T72'. 45 minutes later I arrived at the top of an absolutely massive terrain park. Featuring 3 of the largest jumps I have seen anywhere, The largest cannon rail possibly in existence, and a massive super pipe, it was a sight to behold. What made it even better is there was a fairly large gathering of freeskiers throwing down huge spins and flips off of it, so I got to see a show as well.
Below the main jump line/super-pipe was an area just loaded with pretty much every type of rail or jib you could imagine. No individual pictures here, this one should give you an idea.
It was a blast, with a whole bunch of features I could hit. I did make the mistake of hitting the corrugated drainage pipe really slow without checking the landing, which resulted in me doing a great face-plant scorpion off the back side of it, if only someone had been filming it would have made a great video. Lesson learned, look for 5 foot drop offs before hitting things with half the required speed. From there, I hopped back on the chair, and headed for the smaller park, located on '3D'. It was an excellent progression park with your standard fare of beginners features, great little jumps, flat boxes and rails. I spent a few hours lapping the parks, working on things. I made sure to stomp the hell out of that corrugated pipe before deciding that my legs were beat. I made my way down through the mini-park located on 'Who-ville'. In my opinion their mini-park is actually too small to be of much use, even for someone who has never been in the park before. The progression line through '3D' into the rail section at the bottom of 'T72' is absolutely fantastic.
As I was stepping out of my skis down at the lodge, a freeskier decked out in tall clothes stopped and stared at me for a moment, before asking, "Hey, are you the guy doing the New England ski tour?". Upon answering yes, he gave me a hug and told me he loved what I was doing. It was NS member 'fuckithuckit'. As we packed up I talked with him for awhile, wishing I had run into him earlier in the day, as riding alone is never as good as skiing with friends.
NS User 'Fuckithuckit' and myself
As I trudged back to my car, I found myself wondering how I had never been to Sunday River sooner. It quickly jumped to the top of my favorites list, above even Killington. I had a great time, and could not recommend it more for anyone into any type of skiing.
As always, keep on shredding! Stay tuned for more updates real soon! (Most likely tomorrow!)