I have been a Sugarloafer since April, 1993. I vividly remember that glorious spring day. The sun was shining, the snow was soft, and the snowfields were open. It was pure ski heaven.
I must preface that while that was the beginning of my love of the ‘Loaf, I haven’t been as loyal as most Sugarloafers. Let’s just say I have fooled around at other areas, far from exclusive at the one, big mountain. As a New Englander and a ski journalist, I enjoy skiing ’em all. But if I had to pick one that shines above the rest come springtime, it’s surely Sugarloaf. Nothing beats the ‘Loaf come April as the temps warm up, snow softens up, and the parties cue up.
My first Sugarloaf trip this season was last Sunday (always wait until late in the season to ski the ‘Loaf). I have never seen the snowfields snowier, or the views of Katahdin, the Bigelows, and Mount Washington more spectacular,. The wind was howling, but we reached the top of Timberline via snowcat (a nice service from patrol and the groomers given the lift holds) then we hiked to the summit.
After the first dozen steep snowfield turns, we dropped into Brackett Basin. Having heard much about the newly-unveiled 270-acre glades, I had high hopes. My expectations were met with beautifully spaced birches and hardwoods allowing just the right sunlight while protecting the soft snow. Brackett is a bounty of backcountry-style skiing within bounds and bordering lift service on King Pine, Whiffletree or Snubber lifts -depending upon how low you go.
Next year Brackett Basin will double in size as Sugarloaf trims more trees and phases in their 2020 sidecountry expansion on Burnt Mountain. Also, The ‘Loaf will debut a new quad to replace the Spillway lifts (happy to report a new name is being considered – my vote: King Quad).
It was fortuitous that I discovered the ‘Loaf nearly two decades ago. The ‘Loaf is my spring fling, and the righteous “King of Spring” with the biggest events of the season. Reggaefest is April 14-16 – the biggest beach party on snow. Easter weekend is always special at the Loaf with Sunrise Service, a Costume Parade, Egg Hunts on the slopes, and appearances by Amos and the Bunny.
Sugarloaf has tons of snow, and plans to keep skiing seven days a week until May then weekends until it’s gone (or May 15). Spring lift and lodging deals start at $69 per person.
Photos by Greg Burke. For more of Heather’s ski tips, go to www.familyskitrips.com