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Sunday River and Sugarloaf, Maine’s finest skiing

Maine’s top two ski resorts are Sunday River and Sugarloaf. In the past, these two mountains have battled it out for the right to call themselves the best. However, they are now both owned by Boyne USA and are ‘sister’ mountains. Skiers have their favorites and rightly so but I enjoy both mountains for different reasons.

the eight peaks of Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
The Eight Peaks of Sunday River

Table of Contents

Maine’s Sunday River Ski Resort

Let’s Talk Stats

  • 8 Interconnected mountain peaks
  • 2340′ of total vertical terrain
  • 135 trails & glades
  • 870 trail acreage
  • 53 miles of trails
  • Almost 300 acres of developed tree skiing
  • 18 lifts

With this amount of acreage on 8 mountain peaks, it’s no wonder Sunday River can handle the crowds. Sunday River also has 3 base lodges and 1 summit lodge which is great on cold days. I particularly love to go into the summit lodge to warm up with hot chocolate before heading down the mountain.

Ainsley down
Ainsley said it was lunchtime

The Lifts

Sunday River’s lift system is laid out to make traversing between mountains easy. You can ski straight down or you can ski between the mountains and pick up another lift. The mountains also have great trail diversity. You can take any lift and get to either beginner or expert trails. This makes it super great for us. Most of the time Clint wants to ski the black diamonds and the girls and I prefer blues or greens. Plus there are glades or tree skiing everywhere. A huge bonus for Clint. The interconnecting lifts on the different mountains make it easy to ski everywhere.

Skiing Sunder River

Since we were only here one day we didn’t get to ski all the mountains. However, before kids, Clint and I used to spend at least one-day skiing here every other weekend over the winters. So he and I know the mountains pretty well. We decided to keep to Spruce Peak, Aurora Peak, and Jordan’s Bowl. This worked out really well for us. There is plenty of different terrains to ski from black and blues to glades and trees.

We really got lucky with the weather on the day we skied. It snowed the night before which gave us some fresh powdah! Clint was in heaven!! The girls and I were having a lot of fun as well.

the girls skiing Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
Skiing Sunday River on a Powdah Day!

Clint brought the girls and me on a tree run which wasn’t that difficult. Thankfully I survived. I was a bit nervous but in the end, I made it down in one piece. The girls, on the other hand, loved it. They are a bit cautious but they love going into the tree runs and maneuvering around the natural obstacles.

I love it when we’re skiing and one of the girls suggests a run or tells us where to ski. For us, this is when we know they are enjoying themselves. Both the girls are working on their form but love the ability to just ski down the open terrain and slide to a stop at the bottom.

I also really like that Sunday River has events going on all the time. There are events for the kids, families, couples, seniors, singles, foodies, you name it, they have it. Check out their events calendar and plan your trip now.

going up on the lift
Going up on the lift

Summer Fun at Sunday River

Sunday River is also a year-round destination. The mountain has several activities to chose from to entertain yourself and the kids. There is an outdoor discovery school where kids can learn archery, kayaking, or paddleboarding. They also have a bungee trampoline, climbing wall, disc golf, hiking, canoeing and they run a lift to get a great scenic view atop the mountains.

summer activities at Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
Enjoying the summer at Sunday River

For those who want to relax in the mountains Jordan’s Spa has everything you need. They offer many different types and styles of massages as well as body treatments, facials, and manicures, and pedicures.

The town of Bethel also offers a wide range of activities. You can enjoy mountain biking, golf, bowling, movies, fishing, white water rafting, and horseback riding. There is certainly something for everyone in your group.

Maine’s Sugarloaf Mountain

Let’s Talk Stats

  • 1 mountain, 2 others not serviced by lifts
  • 4,237′ of total vertical terrain
  • 162 trails & glades
  • 1,240 developed skiable acreage
  • 13 lifts
Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
Sugarloaf – doesn’t it look inviting?

Sugarloaf is a very unique mountain indeed. The main mountain has all the lifts and terrain for all abilities. With 9 lifts servicing the main mountain you can get to your terrain of choice. Sugarloaf also has a main base lodge has three casual eateries. Plus the Shipyard Brew Haus which features a ski-in/ski-out accessibility is near the Sawdust chairlift. Bullwinkle’s Bistro is off the Windrow trail for a quick pick-me-up on the mountain.

Sugarloaf has a complete base lodge and village area where you can find anything you need. They have a full rental shop, food truck alley, many other cafes and coffee shops, and lots of shopping. The village certainly has you covered.

Skiing Sugarloaf

Once you ski Sugarloaf, you get ‘it’. You become a ‘Sugarloafer’. Sugarloaf is a culture, in a good way. If you are an expert skier you will certainly love Sugarloaf. The very top of the main mountain has been reserved for experts. The resort has also developed the backside of the main mountain with trails for experts only. Sugarloaf can also offer experts a very unique experience on the two adjoining peaks and the valley in between. The only access to this expert terrain, they call sidecounty, is with a snowcat, snowshoeing, or skinning up.

catskiing Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
Snow Cat Skiing

Cat skiing is for experts only and requires an expert pass for $45. With that ticket, you get access to this extra terrain with two consecutive runs in the snowcat.

Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
Sno-Go Skibiking

Another fun feature Sugarloaf offers is the Sno-Go skibiking. This is a new and unique experience. The bike has three short ski’s and you ride it standing up. It looks like a lot of fun.

For all the mountain events including the Widowmaker live entertainment check out Sugarloaf’s events calendar.

Beyond The Mountain

Sugarloaf also has an amazing Outdoor Center. Here you can go cross-country skiing, fat biking, ice skating, or snowshoeing. You can go out on your own or on a tour. This Outdoor Center has everything you need from equipment rentals, shops, and a cafe. The center is just down the road from the mountain and has its own trails in the pristine Maine countryside.

Outdoor Center at Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
cross country skiing at the Outdoor Center

If you’re looking for an indoor exercise experience Sugarloaf has a full Sports & Fitness Center. The center has a full gym as well as racquetball, volleyball, and wallyball courts. You can also enjoy the heated indoor pool, saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms, spa treatments, and massages they offer. Plus there is a cafe on-site in case you get hungry.

For another unique experience try dogsledding. Dogsled Maine offers a 1-hour ride through the beautiful Carrabassett Valley.

Summer Fun at Sugarloaf

You will certainly enjoy summers at Sugarloaf with all they have to offer. Sugarloaf offers several guided tours such as Moose tours, fly fishing, canoe trips, and pontoon boat tours. You can also have fun hiking, mountain biking, and kayaking the local trails and rivers. For some fun on the mountain, you can zipline, play disc golf, ride the lift for some beautiful scenery or take a Segway tour.

Zip-lining Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
Ziplining through the trees

There is also a full 18 hole golf course with some of the most scenic views of the Carrabassett River. The golf course also offers hourly clinics and week-long camps for those looking to improve their game. If you need clubs or any equipment the pro shop has you covered.

golf Sunday River Sugarloaf Maine
Award-winning golf course

Shop This Post

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And of course, you must keep those feet warm. Bombas socks are the absolute best socks. I love that this company gives back as well. For every pair of socks sold they donate a pair of socks to a homeless shelter. It’s a win, win with this company.

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Final Thoughts

How do you choose which resort to go to? Don’t! Go to bottom and experience all that Maine has to offer in the winter as well as the summer. You will be thrilled that you checked it all out. Don’t miss out on Acadia National Park in Maine either, here is my post on that wonderful location.

And when you are in Vermont you should check out Killington Ski Resort which you can read all about here.

When are you heading to Maine?

This Post Has 50 Comments

  1. Cindy

    Believe it or not, I live in Maine and don’t ski. I used back in my teenage days but not anymore. Sugarloaf is great though!

    1. Leeanne

      That’s funny, Cindy. I was just thinking this weekend about the different times in my life that I’ve skied or given it up. Honestly, we skied again this past weekend and it was the best day. We had such an amazing day. I didn’t think I would go back after having kids but it’s so fun to be out there with them. I’m glad I went back to the sport.

  2. Yuri

    Skiing ⛷. Scared but seems like so much fun. Definitely on bucket list. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Leeanne

      If you’re scared you should start with a lesson. Let an expert show you the moves so you get to the fun part straight away.

  3. Susan

    I am going to share this post with my sister and her husband…they’re both MAJOR skiing and snowboarding fans. Me? I’m too scared of falling down and breaking my leg! 😉 Maybe one day our kids will convince me to try. Your family makes it look fun.

    1. Leeanne

      Honestly, if you take it slow and take a lesson or two you could totally learn to ski. It’s so much fun.

  4. jen

    awesome!!! The skies look so clear! I hope to make it up there at some point!

    1. Leeanne

      It was a really crisp day so the pictures came out really good and they are all from my cell phone. It’s amazing how the weather makes the world of difference when taking photos. I’m sure you would love the skiing in Maine.

  5. Shirley

    I’ve only done hiking in Maine, Katahdin is pretty awesome, but now I’ll have to check out the ski area!!

    1. Leeanne

      Katahdin Mtn. is an awesome area of Maine. These mountains are a bit farther south than Katahdin but still beautiful.

  6. Tricia Snow

    I never thought about Maine in the winter. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Leeanne

      It can get really cold in Maine during the winter but it’s really a great place for winter sports.

  7. Stacey Billingsley

    This area looks fun in winter or summer. We’re planning a trip to New England, so I’ll keep this area in mind!

    1. Leeanne

      Absolutely. Let me know if you need any help planning or with suggestions on activities and things to do and see in New England.

  8. Lee Anne

    I think I’ll stick to the Summer visit but it sure does look beautiful with all of that snow!!

    1. Leeanne

      You and your family would love this area of Maine, Lee Anne. The hiking is amazing.

  9. LaurenGlobe

    I love the way you presented this! Looks so fun!

    1. Leeanne

      Thanks. These 2 mountains used to be real rivals now they are sister mountains.

  10. Jordin

    I’m not a skier myself but I would love to tag along with those who do ski and watch the fun! Those views are exceptional!

    1. Leeanne

      You could definitely take advantage of the outdoor center with snowshoeing or cross country skiing or even ice skating. Lots of non-down hill sports to be had in the area. That’s whats so great about it.

  11. Lisa Manderino

    Great post. Skiing is so fun! I would love to go to Maine Someday!

    1. Leeanne

      Skiing the east is different than out west. We have more wet snow than your drier snow but it’s still tons of fun.

  12. kmf

    These two resorts look fun in any season! Love your photos…so pretty!

    1. Leeanne

      You can definitely take advantage of all 4 seasons at these 2 mountains.

  13. Jennifer

    It’s an amazing view from the top.

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, we could see for miles. It was great.

    1. Leeanne

      Indeed they are beautiful views.

  14. Kristen W Allred

    I liked that you included what to do in the winter and summertime at the ski resorts!

    1. Leeanne

      I think it’s become a necessity for ski resorts to offer summer activities. The coast of running the resort just for the winter doesn’t pay all the bills anymore. I’m glad though, it just means there’s lots more to do in the summer with all the adventure parks being added.

  15. Wendy Robinson

    Skiing always looks fun when others do it! ❤️😂. Looks like you had a great time

    1. Leeanne

      It is fun. Plus you get the beauty of the area as well.

  16. Julie Gazdecki

    I’d be all about visiting in the summer!! Looks beautiful!

    1. Leeanne

      You’d be more than welcome to enjoy the summer in the mountains of Maine. So beautiful.

  17. Lori Nielsen

    I haven’t been skiing for a long time, but I used to love skiing through the trees. I hate black diamonds, though, since I am not good enough for them. Personally, I think that zipline looks super fun!

    1. Leeanne

      I’m with you, Lori. I don’t ski black diamonds anymore. The last time I broke my wrist. So just blues and greens for me. I want to enjoy myself not kill myself. And I’d take a zipline anywhere. The views are amazing. Next time I’m on one I want to take a video.

  18. Hera

    Sugarloaf is such a cute name. I’d learn how to ski here and be a Sugarloafer

    1. Leeanne

      Yes, for sure. They have the coolest mosaic too. The powers that be asked all ‘Sugarloafers’ to send in pictures of themselves, friends and family skiing Sugarloaf and used those pictures as pixels within a larger picture to make up a view of the mountain itself. It’s really cool. If you skied there you can be part of the next mosaic.

  19. Courtney

    I have been to Sugarloaf in the winter, but not in the summer. It is so fun!

    1. Leeanne

      It’s funny but there are a few mountains like that for us as well. Some we’ve done on in the winter and other only the summer. We need to ski and hiking all the mountains in New England. We’ll have to get on that.

  20. Taci- Life Beyond Zebra

    I am not a skier at all but I can’t wait to see Maine, would love to check this out even if it’s for a walk.

    1. Leeanne

      If you enjoying hiking you would really enjoy snowshoeing and get out into the mountains and see the beauty Maine really has to offer. It’s simply gorgeous.

  21. heather J jandrue

    One of the benefits of living in New England. The ocean and mountains are only hours away!

    1. Leeanne

      Oh so true Heather, so true. It’s really the best of both worlds.

  22. Amanda

    We were there this past summer and really enjoyed it during that time of year. My husband and girls wanted to go back for the skiing, but we didn’t make it back for that this time, but need to next winter! It looks amazing.

    1. Leeanne

      It was Amanda. The skiing was really great. I’m sure your family will really enjoy skiing in Maine.

  23. Missy

    Good for you for being out in the snow. LOL I would love to go on the ski lift in the spring.

    1. Leeanne

      The views are amazing Missy. I’m sure you guys would really enjoy the hiking in Maine too.

  24. Michele

    Both of these look awesome! I wouldn’t be able to decide either. We haven’t visited Maine yet, but it is on our list as we explore all 50!

    1. Leeanne

      The great thing about all the ski resorts is that you can visit in winter as well as summer. When you make it to Maine you will fall in love. It’s such a beautiful state.

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