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Sugarloaf 3/21-3/23/21

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,672
Points
63
Location
Spencer, MA
Resort or Ski Area
Sugarloaf
Date
Mar 21, 2021
Snow Conditions
  1. Slush or Spring Snow
  2. Dust on Crust
  3. Ice
  4. Crust
Knowing yesterday would be busy and that I have 4 days on this trip, I got off to late start yesterday and arrived at 2:30 hoping for a few runs on an uncrowded mountain but even at arrival the line for the Super Quad was over 10 minutes. While in line everyone was talking about how great it was and with temps in the 50s and not a cloud in the sky, I figured I would find their assessments correct. So I headed up Timberline to White Nitro and...yeah...no. No potatoes or soft snow to be found. Bulletproof in the middle and some loose snow to the sides. Continued onto Haulback which was slightly softer, but still largely very slick and not soft at all.

Confused by the conditions, I headed over to Skyline and found stuff like Narrow Gauge and Sluice to be more of the same. Somehow they were baking in the sun but other than some lower elevation flat areas, it just wasn't happening. Plus with lines also fairly significant at Skyline I only managed 4 runs before closing.

Putting more salt in the wounds was going to the beloved Bag and Kettle for dinner to find it closed at 4. Mind you, the hotel is full and the resort was mobbed but yeah, lets close our most famous restaurant at 4. The Sugarloaf hotel is the only place I splurge for a room once a year, but I wasn't splurging for the yuppie restaurant in the lobby so we walked down Sawduster to the Shipyard Restaurant which was very good other than the fact we were there for an hour and 40 minutes due to incredibly slow service.

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One of the cooler base areas in New England but nothing is open here so move along...

Woke up this morning and knew it would be groomers only to start with a cold night. Checked the grooming report to get some ideas on what to hit. Stuff like Haulback and Comp Hill were listed as groomed (of course they've since gone back and corrected the report) but it was skiing the same skied off crap as yesterday. Narrow Gauge was groomed and skiing beautiful but of course it was roped for racing 1/3rd of the way down and you were forced off to a non groomed Comp Hill or Skidder. There was some dust on the crust in spots but the steeper spots were just crust.

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Took an early lunch to let things soften up a bit more. Saw people coming down upper Gondi Line and hoped that meant it was softening, but I got to it and it was still super shiny. Saw some tracks in the woods next to Bubblecuffer but they ended up also being super slick so I bailed onto Bubblecuffer. It was doable for sure, but the bumps were still super crusty. I don't understand how much sun this place needs to get soft but it's kind of a painful wait.

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Skied around on the somewhat softening groomers, especially off Timberline which was facing the afternoon sun. Still bulletproof under the couple inches of potatoes but getting better. Just far from being classic spring skiing.

Ducked into Barber Chair glade which was skiing quite fast with the crusty snow, but it's very low angle so fun to kind of romp through. Some slush to turn in but still solid underneath. Definitely proof that the rest of the glades on the hill are still unskiable.

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Finished up with a few groomers before heading over to Bullwinkles for an end of day beer on the deck. It was 3:40 and there were no less than 100 people there but they were closed already? Ok then...guess I'll head to the base. Windrow to the bottom was the first true spring conditions I found all day, a nice treat. Headed to the lodge for a beer and...lol. Widowmaker closed till Wednesday. Cafeteria already closed up. Outdoor service area closed. What kind of resort doesn't have a place to buy apres beer on a 60 degree and sunny day? Ended up having to get a beer from the grocery store (which was probably $8 cheaper than the lodge wouldve been) but again, what kind of resort doesn't have beer for sale at the base on a 60 degree day? There were hundreds of people around the base that went and bought beer elsewhere that I'm sure would've gladly forked over $10 to just buy it at the base. Headscratching.

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I know this whole report is pretty negative and I hate when I have to write stuff like this. I want to love this place. The terrain is awesome and it's just a totally legendary mountain. But everytime I come here it just feels like the whole place is run so half assed and that the conditions aren't as good as I feel like they should be. Skiing here tomorrow morning then getting the hell over to Saddleback which I was already pumped for and now just cant wait to be somewhere different from here. I come here every year and pay way too much to stay at the hotel every year but I think it's not gonna be an annual thing any more. Just feel like my time and money is better spent almost anywhere else. Like I said, I want to love this place and keep coming back annually but always leave with a bad taste in my mouth, and this time tomorrow if I fall in love with Saddleback like I expect to, then this place has lost me for good.
 

Edd

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Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
5,568
Points
63
Location
Newmarket, NH
Must be COVID related closures I guess but doesn’t really make sense that those places were closed. I’ve had many great days there but I’ve been screwed, too. Forecast for Rangeley looks good tomorrow.

You‘ve gotta do Muleskinner tomorrow no matter the conditions. It may well suck but I always do it because the slog to get there is funny to me.
 

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,672
Points
63
Location
Spencer, MA
I'd love to check out Muleskinner (and Casablanca) but they've been listed as closed since a week ago or so. I'll keep an eye on the rope.
 

LoafSkier19

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Joined
Sep 30, 2011
Messages
50
Points
6
Both Muleskinner and all the Casablanca chutes were open some time after noon today. Everything else was roped off on that top crosscut except for Tightline. Didn’t ski Casablanca but did make it to Muleskinner which was a bit thin but fun. Best bumps were the T-bar line and Upper Peachy’s Peril. Seemed like the natural trails didn’t soften up till 12:30ish but once they did they were a lot of fun and the groomers were great first thing this morning.
 

Zand

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Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,672
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Location
Spencer, MA
Both Muleskinner and all the Casablanca chutes were open some time after noon today. Everything else was roped off on that top crosscut except for Tightline. Didn’t ski Casablanca but did make it to Muleskinner which was a bit thin but fun. Best bumps were the T-bar line and Upper Peachy’s Peril. Seemed like the natural trails didn’t soften up till 12:30ish but once they did they were a lot of fun and the groomers were great first thing this morning.
Awesome. Can't wait to check it out.
 

Zand

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Dec 30, 2003
Messages
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Spencer, MA
Wow. That is pretty bad. I mean it IS Spring Break, right? What are Maine's COVID restrictions?
About the same as everyone else. Nothing that would prevent them from having a bar open or at least set up outside. They have 2 bar carts outside, but guess that's a few grand in revenue that they really didn't want.

I did get my damn bag burger tonight though 😆
 

deadheadskier

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Mar 6, 2005
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Southeast NH
Sugarloaf is definitely a Jeckyll and Hyde type place. I've had some amazing times there and also struck out.

The Widowmaker wasn't open for Apres? Seems like they could just let folks take drinks from up there down to the "beach"
 

thetrailboss

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NEK by Birth; Alta/Snowbird by Choice
Staffing issues? Did Boyne not get enough visas for foreign workers? It has been a while since I've been to Sugarloaf, but I don't recall them having a lot of foreign workers.

When I was at Big Sky last weekend they had their restaurants and bars open (and they were packed).
 

jimk

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Sep 1, 2012
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Location
Wash DC area
I've been to Sugarloaf 3 times over the years, once in Jan, once Mar, once Apr. They all felt like Jan :D Good mtn though.
 

Zand

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Dec 30, 2003
Messages
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Location
Spencer, MA
Sugarloaf is definitely a Jeckyll and Hyde type place. I've had some amazing times there and also struck out.

The Widowmaker wasn't open for Apres? Seems like they could just let folks take drinks from up there down to the "beach"
No...there was a sign by the stairs saying it's closed till Wednesday (and it was open yesterday). Hard to imagine that they have a bad enough staffing problem to not have a bartender or two but who knows.
 

Zand

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Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,672
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Location
Spencer, MA
Was gonna write up a short TR for this AM. Skied for an hour and a half before checking out. Skied groomers only. Tote Road was good, rest were frozen solid other than zome softish turns on Haulback. Way more excited to write about Saddleback so...thats it.

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White Nitro...why on earth wouldn't you groom this? Almost blinded by the shine.

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Haulback gets a bit more morning sun and was kiiiinda soft.

Thats it for the Sugarloaf portion of this TR. I know they can't control how much their stuff softens up, but the lack of grooming on stuff that was groomed and skied off two days ago just blows my mind. Its not like it was 45 overnight, temps dropped below freezing so groom the groomers.
 

Zand

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Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,672
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Location
Spencer, MA
0323210951.jpg
Forgot to post the glacier on White Nitro Ext! Just look at it! That doesnt just soften up in a couple hours.
 

Tonyr

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Jan 6, 2019
Messages
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About the same as everyone else. Nothing that would prevent them from having a bar open or at least set up outside. They have 2 bar carts outside, but guess that's a few grand in revenue that they really didn't want.

I did get my damn bag burger tonight though 😆
Was at Sugarbush on Tuesday and Wednesday and it was very hard to get food and drinks there too. It is a head scratcher.....
 

Bumpsis

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Mar 25, 2004
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Boston, MA
Thanks for the report, Zand. I'm sorry to hear that you did not have the greatest of conditions. I was there for the last weekend in February and all of the 1st week of March. Perhaps we got lucky with conditions. They were, for the most part, great. During that week the temperatures varied from about 35-40*F range to singe *Fs. Soft, almost spring like conditions (no mank or slush though) to windblown powder - they had a couple of days when 2-4 inches of fresh came.
On days that weren't soft, the groomers did an amazing job. Surfaces were carveable even late in the afternoons. Even the Nitro Glacier (nice picture!) could be skied without doing the one long side slip on what's usually there - glare ice. One of my thoughts was, how come this never happens on other mountains - is it the grooming? And yes, it was busy but mostly on weekends. We skied from Saturday to Saturday with one day off. It was a really awesome trip.
 

ss20

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Jan 13, 2013
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Location
CT
Not gonna bother making a new thread but I was at SL today and yesterday. Yesterday was surprisingly above people's expectations. There was a dusting of snow up top and things never froze down low. In fact, several trails opened up during the day on the lower mountain as things softened, despite it being in the mid 30s with clouds all day. This kept things firm enough that I was ripping the greens and blues at the end of the day that had softened enough to open. The main drain to King Pine was bumps, as was Tote Road and Sluice due to the traffic.

Today I woke up to another dusting, giving me high hopes for the day. Unfortunately things went on wind hold immediately but opened up at 10:30am. However, a thick fog of freezing rain dampened the day (literally). That said, my first run was Narrow Guage where the wind has built a nice little line of fresh right up by some B-netting used by racers. Again the lower mountain never firmed up so everything below the top of the Double Runner was silky. I did 3-4 runs at a time before going into the lodge to warm up and dry off. Finally, at 2pm, the fog lifted and it started snowing HARD. The final 2 hours were pretty damn awesome. 1"-2" wherever you went and only a couple hundred people on the hill, tops. I even felt daring enough to try out some glades which were OK.

2" on the car at 4:30 before switching over to sleet for an hour. Now it's plain rain (ugh). Maybe it's still snow on the mountain. Saddleback's summit shack is reading 25 degrees on their website.

The snow report promises snowmaking tomorrow!!! And wind holds. The AM isn't supposed to be too windy so hopefully I can get some early turns in before making my way over to AZ's favorite mountain, Saddleback for Tuesday/Wednesday.

I cannot complain as this was my first Saturday and Sunday off doing actual skiing since I was at White Pass, WA back in December!
 
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