2009-01-22 / News

Sunday River offers almost endless alpine variety

Ski Country
By Jeff McDonough

This winter my youngest daughter has taken to ski slopes in a huge way. Lauren, 15, is competing in freestyle events in hopes of earning herself an invitation to the United States Ski and Snowboard Association's Junior Olympics in March.

Mom and Dad are along for the ride, so that means we will be skiing a number of different mountains throughout New England. I know many of the Jamestown Press readers are dedicated skiers, so I decided to write this occasional column about our alpine adventures.

Two weeks ago we traveled to the mogul competition at Sunday River in Maine. It had been many years since we had skied at Sunday River. In fact, the last time we were there our oldest had just graduated from diapers. All I really remembered about the place was that it was big.

Sunday River is now even bigger featuring 131 trails and 18 lifts. Sunday River is considered to be the second largest ski resort in New England, right behind its rival Killington in Vermont. I do believe that one could ski Sunday River for three days straight and never ski the same trail twice. With its eight peaks and 668 skiable acres, the resort is truly a mammoth playground. The place is loaded with variety: challenging steeps for the nimble, daring and wide open trails for the more relaxed cruisers. The younger set will smile at the half pipes and terrain parks.

Sunday River in Maine offers some of the best terrain for skiing in New England. The resort had 131 trails serviced by 18 lifts. Sunday River in Maine offers some of the best terrain for skiing in New England. The resort had 131 trails serviced by 18 lifts. A few years back a fellow islander who skis told me that he always took his teenage boys to Sunday River. "They would be bored" skiing anyplace else, he said.

A weekend lift tickets costs $74 a day, but you can find all sorts of combination discounts available on the Sunday River website www.sundayriver.com.

We stayed at the Sunday River's Grand Summit Hotel. The slopeside accommodations were comfortable and the hotel featured just about all the amenities one could want, including wireless Internet. The outdoor hot tub was a welcome respite after a long day on the slopes.

The Sunday River competition was our daughter's first attempt at the A level, having skied in the B level for a couple of years. Freestyle is an Olympic sport and includes moguls, aerials and slopestyle (rails and tricks). Lauren specializes in moguls in which the competitor skies a set of moguls, then does a jump trick, does another set of moguls and then a final jump trick. Scoring is a combination of factors including time, style and level of jump difficulty.

The Sunday River crew put on a great show for the young com- petitors. The Saturday event was cold and the course was well built. Sunday brought new challenges as Mother Nature dumped about 8 inches of powder on the mountain. Mogul skiers prefer ice. Kim and I were in heaven skiing the fresh powder that in some places hit the tops of our boots.

Sunday River is remote. The drive is about five to five and a half hours from Jamestown, depending on Boston traffic and the weather. But the journey yields rewards. There's plenty of skiing adventure at Sunday River.

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