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Maine chronicles - sunday river 3/28 - sugarloag 3/29


Oct 8, 2012
Sunday River 3/28:

Hit the river on Thursday 3/28 9AM. Overnight temperatures were late 20/30.
The trick is to be judicious in approaching trails. Keep to the groomers early, get to the
naturals later. Unfortunately I do not have that kind of time and i had to be done by 12.

Took the barker lift. Hit the groomer "right stuff" off to the right of the lift. Smooth and nice. The river
surely does know how to do this stuff. I will say they have gotten even better. Because it used to be you will see
significant ice spots. This season I could barely find one.

2nd run. Got too ambitious. Hit the natural "topgun". The huge hard bumps did a job on my old legs.
Had to take it slow and careful in this long trail.

If topgun was like that, then the notorious "agony" below the liftline should be true agony.
I saw that even some ski patrol guys had hard time doing that. Of course wise men
(I guess which precludes me) will wait till noon for the temps to warm up to 40's.

Now off to white cap and the trail "white heat". Again the river groomers did it. It was smooth
and skiable even in its notoriously icy steep part (because there was no ice). You have to just watch
the acceleration. That done, took the natural to its side "shock wave". Of course it lives up to its name.
It has steep drops with vw size bumps. One wrong move; I found myself headfirst down the slope. It was not
really a fall as much as a slip up, but if it was icy it wouldn't matter ; I would be flying down. Luckily there
was no ice and quickly recovered. Anyway slow and steady does the "shock wave".

Now I am heading to "Aurora" peak. Took the slow "spruce" lift. Glanced at the natural "upper down draft". Early
AM it can be damn hard. But now it is > 10AM. what the heck it is at least short. I go down. It is firm but the
ski can hold it and wow it was fun! Timing, my friends, may be right.

I can't resist it. emboldened by "down draft", I decide to take the "quantum leap" (or is it "quantum ice"; I have horrible memory of sliding down the ice , no control, nothing I could do) to aurora lift. Again surprised; quantum was firm but skiable with control, phew.

I take the groomer "air glow", again no ice spots, excellent job, drop down the short but steep natural "black hole".
Actually managed to ski it (not sliding). That done next is the trees in "celestial". Lots of snow but firm, sort of sticky. Skiing here is work, made sure to avoid the icy drop off and stumps in the steeps. All the way down I take the creek bed
route to exit. There is big drop. My acceleration was not sufficient to take me over to the top. Since the snow was
grippable at least I still manged it.

Head back to baxter lodge going down "vortex" , continuing fast through nice bumps in "american express". Call it a
day. Satisfying skiing 6/10 may be?

Sugar Loaf 3/29:

Loaf is usually 3 to 5 deg cooler than the river; higher elevations will have more natural snow or at least I will expect the consistency to be different. Contrary to popular opinion I always have tougher time in sunday river than the steeps in the loaf. However be prepared for anything in spring. Start at 9:30 AM. Blue sky, but of course the cloud moving across the peak. As usual the lifts "timberline" (no surprise here) and disappointingly "king pine" are on hold. I was also starting
with anxiety because I just discovered I could not find my brand new cell phone. I had just lost another one a couple of
weeks ago in sunday river and which is probably buried in snow and still there. Anyway I was determined to not to be distracted and think about it while skiing

I head to super quad and after getting off I took the nearest trail which happens to be "skidder" the natural. (This behavior of mine is almost set in stone now). Skidder was firm but skiable again slow and steady does it. Head to
the new skyline quad, take a left on "spillway-xcut". Dropped down the steep "stump glade". The snow is pretty good but the narrow chute down is fast and drops you down to "bubblecuffer" bumps. It is very firm. Decide to continue down bubblecuffer. That was a mistake. By the time I am back at skyline, my ankles were hurting bad.

Again took a left on spillway, rode down all the way, cut through the trees and some nice snow to the entrance of bracket basin glades. There is a lots of snow. But what a difference from couple weeks ago when it was all nice powder and silky. Now it is sort of firm and sort of sticky.

I go down , stick to the left side and low and behold stopped near the lower cliff. Saw a guy go down and lose the skis.
Found an alternate path down by going through the thick trees on the side.

By this time "king pine" lift is running. Take it back up to bracket. this time ski down the middle; nice, steep and skiable.
Now for the next time I go to the right side, called "birler". Soon looking down another 20 ft cliff. This one has ice , stumps followed by narrow chute. Negotiated the ice and stump gingerly , took off on this long and bumpy narrow chute holding on to dear life. Again what a difference from 2 weeks ago when this same area was a breeze to ski.

Unfortunately time to head back to work. all in all a great day and an adventure as usual at the loaf.

p.s: I had gps tracking on my cell. When I get back home I cannot fine the phone. The gps tracker says it is in the sugar loaf lodge. It must have fallen out when I was putting my boots on. I called sugarloaf. They went into action immediately and found the phone. My son had told me that sugarloaf takes customer service mantra very seriously. I cannot agree more. outstanding!