Sunday River

As Sunday River Resort closed the books on a banner season, the Newry, Maine ski area has embarked on $5.7 million in upgrades prior to the 2013-2014 winter.

Most of the improvements will be seen on the resort’s slopes, although a restaurant and hotel will also feel the largesse of Boyne Resorts, which has a financial stake in Sunday River and oversees its day-to-day operation. This recent financial outlay brings Boyne’s investment in Sunday River to over $40 million since 2007.

The project speaks mainly to Sunday River’s commitment to snowmaking and begins with 200 new energy efficient HDK snow guns.

“Our projects are on track and we are making progress,” Sunday River Resort President and General Manager Dana Bullen told The snowmaking upgrades are underway and the guns have been ordered.”

The western Maine resort operator raised the bar on snowmaking and grooming in 2010 when management upgraded its older snowmaking fleet to HDK Impulse snow guns, and then added another 300 state-of-the-art machines. This allowed mountain crews to pump five times more snow in November 2011 than it did the previous year, while using 50 percent less water.

The payoff came two seasons ago. In an unusually dry and short winter, Sunday River recorded its third best year in resort history, says Bullen. The following summer they were rewarded as a ski publication whose survey respondents agreed that Sunday River had the best grooming in the east. It’s clear they have no intentions of surrendering the title.

“We were fortunate to have a good year (2011-2012) followed by a great year (2012-2013),” continued Bullen. “We have been working hard on snowmaking and grooming, and being able to open early. People here take pride in those things.”

An 18-foot superpipe is now under construction for next year. The pipe is being created in partnership with Simon Dumont, X Games gold medalist, 2014 Olympic hopeful in free skiing and Maine native. “He’s a real asset for us,” added Bullen. The venue’s signature event will continue to be called the Dumont Cup.

Freestyle skiers and riders will be able to tackle a 2,300 foot long pipe that drops 710 vertical feet. The 15 acre site, including a new terrain park trail, will be located on North Peak, and serviced by the North Peak Express and Chondola high-speed lifts.

Popularity creates demand and that has led Sunday River to double the capacity of its Legends Restaurant, where patrons will be welcomed starting in November.

A new wedding site, to be completed in the fall, is being added on the slope adjacent to the Jordan Grand Hotel.

Bullen also told that the first single family homes in the resort’s history, now under construction, will have ski-in/ski-out access next winter.

Lest consumers forget, Sunday River can also be enjoyed in the summer and fall, with mountain biking, golf, hiking, geocaching, adventure park and a bungee trampoline.

You can observe what awaits this winter w.hile you’re there in shorts and tee shirts.

Photo: Simon Dumont (Sunday River/Nick Lambert)