In The Spotlight
The mountains of western Maine are the place to find endless outdoor fun and thrills to keep you coming back for more. The Outpost is home to summer adventure at Sugarloaf, while the hub of activity at Sunday River is the Mountain Park.
Deals at both resorts means you can have it all. Sunday River's $25 Adventure Pass includes unlimited day use of scenic lift rides, ziplines, bungee trampoline, and climbing wall. Sugarloaf’s $50 Summer Activity Pass gets you unlimited scenic lift rides all summer, discounts on dining all summer, a zipline tour and Segway tour, and a bucket of range balls at the golf club.
Sunday River boasts the only lift-serviced alpine disc golf course in Maine. After a Chondola ride to North Peak, players hike down along the resort's 18-hole course. Sugarloaf’s course is just above the base area, and there’s no charge to play.
Sugarloaf’s network of cross-country mountain bike trails span more than 80 miles throughout the valley. The Sunday River Bike Park boasts 20 miles of intermediate to advanced terrain perfect for honing your downhill skills.
Sunday River's ziplines are perfect for the beginner or intermediate adventurist ending with a zip down one of two 750-foot zips. Reaching speed of up to 25 mph on Sugarloaf’s zipline tours.
At Sugarloaf, enjoy a summertime ride up the mountain from the comfort of a scenic chairlift ride on the SuperQuad. Sunday River’s Chondola whisks guests to the mid-mountain Peak Lodge where views of the Mahoosuc and Presidential ranges extend for miles and miles.
Standing 25 feet tall, Sunday River's outdoor climbing wall offers three automatic belay stations to try multiple routes to the top.
Sugarloaf’s Segway Personal Transport will get you off the pavement and onto some of Sugarloaf's trails for a new mountain perspective.
Rent a canoe, kayak or stand-up paddleboard and spend a day at Sugarloaf exploring the sandy beaches and tiny islands of nearby Flagstaff Lake, just on the other side of the Bigelow Range.
Sunday River added to the trail count this summer with White Cap Summit trail and a trail from the top of Jordan Bowl's Lollapalooza to the top of the Chondola. The Kids Adventure trail features educational stops and a visit to Eddy the Yeti's house in the Enchanted Forest, Sugarloaf is one of four 4,000 foot peaks in the Carrabassett Valley, and with plenty of gentle trails through the foothills, there's something for every hiker.
The purchase combines two ski and snowboard areas at different ends of the sport’s spectrum – Timberline’s challenging, exposed terrain that is mostly intermediate or expert runs, and Summit’s gentle slopes in the trees and tubing play area aimed at youngsters, and novice skiers and riders. The merging reflects a ski industry trend to create "feeder" areas for larger resorts.
Both mountains rely upon day-trip and overnight visitors from populated Portland, a bit more than an hour’s drive. They also use the nearby town of Government Camp for lodging options and apres-ski activities.
The new owners said they will continue to operate Summit as a “family oriented, affordable, friendly mountain resort … a place to break down the barriers to skiing and snowboarding surrounding accessibility and affordability.“
The 90-year-old mountain has one chairlift and a half-dozen easy trails that run about half-mile each. Base elevation is 4,400 feet.
The top daily rate for skiing and riding at Summit is $35, with discounts galore including $15 Fridays.
The new owners also said that the purchase of Summit will “help address public transportation and parking needs while having a greater connectivity to Government Camp.”
For now, there will be no major changes at Summit, other than some upgrades to the base lodge.
Summertime at ski and snowboard resorts in the Great Northwest packs in all manner of adventure, food and new perspectives.
These days, most resorts have a full array of established activities, like scenic lift rides, bungee jumps and hiking or biking. Each one, however, tries to extend its offerings so as to separate themselves from the pack – and attract more visitors during the offseason.
Here’s a look at a few:
At Schweitzer, Idaho skiers and riders loved the new summit Sky House as a much-needed warming hut and chance to grab a snack before heading down the hill. This summer, The Nest restaurant and bar welcomes chairlift ride to a full menu of food and drink. Plus, the views of Lake Pend Orielle and plethora of wildflowers will grab you.
Oregon’s Mount Hood Ski Bowl has gone all out for family fun during the summer. Base area is full of activities – from mellow nature hikes to batting cages and floating aqua balls to extreme go-kart racing. A driver’s license gets you on the Malibu Raceway for wheel-to-wheel high-speed action.
Mountain-top dining at 6,900 feet can only be had at Washington’s Crystal Mountain. Take the gondola up and check out views of Northwest’s most famous volcanic peaks – Ranier, Adams, St. Helens, Glacier Peak. Have your small plate or entree on the patio, with a cold beer or glass of fine wine. Dinners served on Saturdays.
Aside from the spectacular peak-to-peak gondola ride, British Columbia’s Whistler Mountain features tours of all kinds during the summer. The Ziptrek Ecotour combines thrills with nature education as you fly through an old-growth temperate rain forest. Try out ATV tours, geology tours, alpine photography tours, a behind-the-scenes sustainability tour and heli tours, too.
It’s just as fun to go up the mountain as it is to go down thanks to Vermont resort’s well maintained and sprawling trail networks. Thousands of acres of wilderness offer both challenging and meandering trails with beautiful views and the ability to choose between half-day hikes complete with summit dining, to overnight hikes and the opportunity to connect with Vermont’s iconic Long Trail system and the longest hiking foot path in the world, the Appalachian Trail.
There’s a good chance of meeting Long Trail and Appalachian Trail thru-hikers at the Stratton firetower, which can be accessed via a gentle .75 mile path from the summit, featuring a unique opportunity to climb 61 winding steps, rising 65 feet in the air, for a view clear across four states. A variety of hiking trails from base to summit, which can also be accessed via the gondola.
Reach Stowe’s Mt. Mansfield Summit Station via the 150-year old Mt. Mansfield Auto Toll Road. From there, the Cliff Trail, Long Trail and Canyon Trail get you to Mansfield’s “Chin,” the highest point in the state of Vermont. Southerly trail options include the Lakeview Trail, Forehead Bypass, and Long Trail to the Forehead.
The rewards after summiting Killington via any one of their 15 miles of hiking trails are unencumbered 360-degree views of Vermont’s Green Mountains, New York’s Adirondacks, New Hampshire’s White Mountains and access to the Peak Lodge, where you can grab fresh food and cool drinks.
Bolton Valley is home to 100km of cross country and backcountry trails and in the summer, these same trails provide paths for outdoor adventure in over 1100 acres of wilderness. Some trails lead to the ridge-line where hikers can connect with Vermont’s iconic Long Trail.
Enjoy a nearly six-mile scenic hike on the Long Trail/Appalachian Trail leading to the summit of Bromley. The summit is fully equipped with a shelter, basic privy, and amazing 360° views of the region. It’s a perfect four-hour day hike that is accessible year-round and allows for visitors to bring their K-9 best friends.
Visitors to Sugarbush can try one of the many diverse hikes, explore scenic country roads and covered bridges that scatter the Valley, or meander along the nature paths of the Mad River. Find trails from base area to the summits or the Gap-to-Gap Hike from Lincoln Gap across the Monroe Skyline to the Appalachian Gap.
Step outside the Woodstock Inn and Resort and choose from more than 60 miles of interconnected trails and pathways that wind through the Woodstock Village, nearby meadows and woodlands, scenic vistas and rural countryside. Pedestrian pathways skirt local landmarks, while off-road trails yield to magnificent vistas from the summits of Mount Peg and Mount Tom.
On a clear day you might just see the glint of Montreal off in the distance once you’ve hiked to the summit of Jay Peak. If you don’t want to strain your eyes, take in the deep blue of Lake Memphremagog and Lake Champlain. And don’t bother straining your knees hiking down. Grab a beer at the Sky Haus Café before jumping a ride on the tram back to the base area.
With a network of trails for hikers of all ages and ability, Mad River Glen’s main attraction is the Stark Mountain Trail which runs two and a half miles long and has 2,036’ of vertical gain. The trail meanders up the ski trails under the Single Chair, past a large waterfall, with views along the way.
Hikers have a variety of ways to enjoy Okemo Mountain, one of Vermont’s largest State Parks. Departing from the western side, at the site of a former train station, the Healdville trail is a moderately challenging hike ascending 2,200 feet over three miles to the summit and Okemo’s historic fire tower with 360-degree views that are well-worth the climb up the steel staircase.
Smugglers’ Notch hosts guided outings designed for families with young children at a gentle pace and learning opportunities. A variety of other guided outings entice new hikers and experienced hikers with the opportunities to learn more about the history of the surrounding area and the local flora and fauna, and to summit some of the area’s most challenging peaks.
Go backpacking through Trapp Family Lodge’s 35 miles of trails on your own or take a guided nature walk and learn about native plants, wildlife, and the evolving landscape of Vermont. Take a peaceful hike to the Chapel, or a more challenging route takes guests to the Slayton Pasture Cabin, a favorite resting spot for cross-country skiers in the winter.
Whether hiking Mount Snow, on Dover’s network of trails, or in one of Southern Vermont’s six State Parks, it’s safe to say that there’s always a hiking trail near you. Take part in one of Mount Snow’s guided treks and naturalist tours.
The Magic Mountain Outing Club has built a great network of trails up and around Magic affording great views of southern Vermont and challenging climbs.