Sunday River Ski Holidays - Fantastic Trials
Sunday River's ski area has now extended to cover eight inter-connected mountains, with over 125 trails and gladed ski runs stretching for 5km (3 miles) from east to west. If that's not impressive enough for an east coast resort, the fact that there are more than 7,000 acres of undeveloped terrain adjacent to Sunday River makes it even more remarkable. The lift and trail design is exceptionally well thought out to make moving around the mountain easy, fast and fun.
Each of the resort's mountains offers a distinct skiing or riding experience covering virtually all the diverse possibility of winter sports. Beginners have one of the best learning areas anywhere at South Ridge, served by one surface lift and three chairs, including a high speed quad. All skiers and riders make their first turns on Sundance. Intermediates have a huge choice of trails to enjoy with few ski resorts anywhere able to offer the uplift speed and fast cruising descents to enable you to ski so much and so varied terrain in so little time.
Last Minute Ski Holidays in Sunday River - Extreme Black Runs
For steeps and bumps most skiers head for White Cap where the White Heat run has one of the most demanding mogul trails in the east, with pitches up to 70 percent. Shock Wave is also steep while Obsession is a long cruising black diamond. The Hardball and Chutzpah gladed runs are regarded as some of the toughest in the East. Extreme terrain is to be found on Spruce Peak, where Spruce Cliffs is a challenging double black that begins with a steep cliff and flattens out in to a tight gladed area. For those who find themselves in over their head 'Bail Out' offers a return route to Risky Business, one of the many popular long intermediate cruises, before you reach the cliffs.
The newest areas are Oz and Jordan Bowl, the former boasting wide open slopes and glades with powder bowl skiing similar to those of Colorado and Utah. Jordan Bowl is the site of the resort's new second base area and its new Grand Hotel: there are great views from the top of the Presidential and Mahoosuc Ranges.
Cheap Ski Holidays in Sunday River - Great Ski School
Whatever level of skiing you're at you'll benefit from a Perfect Turn course, the ski school tuition scheme invented at Sunday River and now exported to dozens of resorts. The idea is that lessons leave the ski school meeting place regularly, usually once an hour, and you just grab a lesson at whatever time suits you. First of all you match yourself against a video display of ten different skier levels, book your class and you're away. Usually group sizes are small and you end up with a more or less private lesson. If you get on with the people you ski with you can arrange to meet them again next day; if you don't, then book a different time, it's wonderfully simple, flexible and good news for skiers.
Cross-country skiers will find some of the most extensive trails in Western Maine about 1.5km (1mile) from the base of the lifts at the Sunday River Inn and Cross Country center.
One of the first resorts in the East to welcome 'boarders, Sunday River integrates rather than segregates 'boarders and snowboarding terrain and 'boarders have access to all areas. There are eight playgrounds located throughout the trail system, rather than one big separate park. The resort's steep White Cap mountain is a mecca for 'boarders and The Park on the Startlight run contains multiple ramp jumps, table tops and spines. Sunday River is a good place for 'boarding at night, with the 110m (400 foot) half pipe floodlit and served by an innovative surface lift especially designed for 'boarders use.
The resort believes that the combination of its snowmaking power and hi-tec Pipe Dragon grooming equipment gives it the most consistently good half pipe right through the season. The resort has unusually good facilities for new boarders with two more playgrounds at the snow sports learning area at South Ridge. Here the Mini-pipe and Who-Ville are available for aspiring freestylers, with all the tuition support you could hope for.
Off the slopes Sunday River is ultra 'boarder-friendly and the facilities around White Cap are absolutely spot on for 'boarders. Big parties develop around theme weeks, weekends and/or competition events such as the Gotta Rock Snow Fest weeks or Mardi Gras weekend. Full rentals and retails are of course also available at the 'Ride On' shop in the South Ridge Centre. New for the 2001/02 season is a superpipe which is 400 feet long and has 16 foot walls.
Traditionally Sunday River has lost points with reviewers who look for a compact resort centre that's buzzing from dusk till dawn every night through the winter. Sunday River is rarely buzzing at night - not as a whole at least, but there are plenty of party spots if you know where to go and recent initiatives have made the place a lot livelier after dark. These include the Nite Cap, the resorts entertainment centre at the White Cap base.
Gradually expanded over recent years the White Cap base now includes a popular tubing park which opened to rave reviews for the 97-98 season and is 420m (1400 foot) long, winding through the trees before a unique sweeping right hand turn with a huge bank creating a wild, exciting ride. The Nite Cap is also home to a lively restaurant and pub and there's an ice rink and the Broadwalk Arcade - an entertainment centre for teens with video games and music.
Apart from these organised activities there are a dozen other restaurants in the area and the option of driving over to Bethel, a few miles away, for more choices and a recently built multiplex cinema complex. There is also an excellent micro brewery located at the turning from the resort road to the Bethel road.
The range of outdoor sports available to Sunday River's visitors is constantly expanding, most notably with the new tubing park open to 8pm weekdays and 10pm weekends with adjacent ice rink. Snowmobiling is increasingly popular and Sun Valley Sports on the Sunday River road has everything required for a full day's adventure including guides and rentals. Snowshoe tours are also offered on Tuesday and Saturday nights. Nearby Grafton State Park and the surrounding Mahoosuc Mountains and nearby White Mountains of New Hampshire are popular areas for snowshoeing enthusiasts, along with winter hikers, rock climbers and ice climbers.
There's a choice of dining in the area that's adequate for most tastes. At the top of the pile, Legends Restaurant in the Summit Hotel is one of the best choices, or on the Bethel Road the traditional New England fayre at the Sudbury Inn. Big choice, good prices and big meals are to be had at the Moose's Tail Brew Pub - voted in the top 10 for ski resort bars in the US by North American ski magazine readers. Rosetto's Italian family restaurant and the Bumps Pub at the Nite Cap are both friendly, popular and lively.