I excepted big crowds and lift lines given the new snow and sunshine on this peak holiday weekend. Instead, I found soft untracked snow, and bagged 31 runs and over 40,000' vertical feet on Saturday at Sunday River. While the parking lot and lodges were busy, Greg and I often found trails all to ourselves as we skied soft fresh snow from Jordan Bowl to White Cap, with rarely a lift line wait. We skied solid from 8am-3:30pm, with an early break for lunch at the Foggy Goggle - when you get up at 5, and are skiing at 8, you get hungry by 11.
For President's holiday with near perfect ski conditions, skiers were surprisingly dispersed amid Sunday River's 800 acres. Families were spread out in the glades of recently expanded Blind Ambition, while park fans were hitting the elements on T-72 and loving the landings on soft snow. The River's typically steep, unforgiving runs like iCarumba, Agony and White Heat were fun and forgiving thanks to the almost two feet of fresh snow in the past week.
Just a shout out to the mom who took her snowplowing daughter down White Heat, this long, steep trail is no place for a wedging novice skier - ever - even under optimal conditions. Way to endanger your daughter and others, while crushing your girl's fragile ski confidence, or scaring her from skiing entirely.
Back to the best ski conditions, as I look at trail counts around New England, many resorts are at or near 100% open, ideal for school vacation week, with some of the best winter ski conditions around and more seasonal temperatures than Sochi. How are the trails and lift lines where you are?
Photos by Greg Burke, Sunday River Downdraft and Agony Trails, February 15, 2014
Eric Wilbur is a lifelong recreational skier who spends most of his winter and spring in the mountains of New England. He does not ski in jeans. You can read more of Eric's work here.
Heather Burke is an award winning ski journalist with over a decade of ski news coverage. As a former ski instructor and a ski parent, she knows the ski biz from the inside out. She and her family visit New England ski resorts, as well as the West and Canada, to report on the latest trends and their best family finds. Her husband Greg takes all the accompanying photos, and their work can be seen at www.familyskitrips.com and www.luxuryskitrips.com.