Sunday River — Mountain layout
Sunday River is a sprawling resort, spread out over eight peaks. There is a bit of something for everyone, however real experts won find anything here that will cause intense excitement. It’s important to keep a trail map handy to navigate from one side of the resort to the other. It can feel as if you’re spending more time getting from one place to another rather than skiing. The snowmaking system churns out more snow than any other in this part of the world, if not in the world. So there is always some of that white stuff here, even if it is thin elsewhere.
Oz is a playground for high-level sliders. Served by a fixed-grip quad, it features a 500-yard-wide steep swath with tree islands and glades. You won’t find the trails zigzagging across the fall line; Oz is a collection of straight, fall-line, tree-studded drops.
Aurora Peak, served by a fixed quad chair and a triple chair, is still the spot to find tough skiing. Northern Lights, rated blue on the map, provides an easier way down the mountain, though its no stroll through the park. Celestial, reached from Lights Out, is one of the nicest gladed trails. It starts out steep and wide, but mellows and narrows as you descend.
From the top of Barker Mountain, a steep trio—Right Stuff, Top Gun and Agony—provide advanced skiers long, sustained pitches. Agony and Top Gun are premier bump runs. Right Stuff is a cruiser early in the day after its been groomed, but normally develops moguls by afternoon. Tree-skiing fans will find the Last Tango glade between Right Stuff and Risky Business. This black-diamond, natural-slalom area is the gentlest and most spacious of the resorts nine mapped glades. Though its not particularly steep, its tight. A work road about two-thirds of the way down allows skiers to bail out onto Right Stuff. Those who continue through the trees will find the terrain getting steeper and narrower. If you
From the top of Locke Mountain, T2 plunges down the tracks of an old T-bar providing a spectacular view of Bethel, the valley and Mt. Washington.
White Heat is a wide swath straight down the mountain from the peak of White Cap. Double-diamond Shockwave, considered by many locals as tougher than White Heat, offers 975 vertical feet of big bumps and steep pitches. Two gladed areas, Hardball (skier right) and Chutzpah (skier left), start out deceptively mellow and open-spaced, but watch out. Technically, they are the most demanding on the mountain.
Advanced intermediates are at home at Sunday River. The top of North Peak has the largest concentration of blue runs, though theres an intermediate way down from the top of every peak. For the most part, these are wide, undulating trails, such as Obsession off White Cap. Jordan Bowl provides some of the best blue-square cruising in New England down Excalibur and Rogue Angel, with the wide-open Blind Ambition glade accessed by the mellow cruiser Lollapalooza. An advanced-intermediate trail is Monday Mourning, which starts out steep and wide but mellows near the end, where the race arena is.
Lower intermediates can head to the White Cap quad (far left on the map) and enjoy the relatively mellow Moonstruck, Starburst and Starlight runs. Off Barker Mountain, Lazy River is narrow by Sunday River standards and a fun cruise, but it can be strewn with people during busy times as its the main route to adjoining Spruce Peak.
Once a skier is past the basic snowplow and into easy turns, much of Sunday River beckons. The North Peak triple chair reaches long practice runs like Dream Maker. Lollapalooza, the green-circle trail in Jordan Bowl, is "like Dream Maker on steroids," as one frequent visitor said. Its long and wide with great views, but not a trail that beginners should start out on; the upper part can get bumped up on busy days, and probably should have a blue rating. Farther down its quite mellow.