Mount Sunapee Ski Getaways

ski getaways

Since Mount Sunapee's lease a few years back to the folks who own Okemo in Vermont, this sleepy state-owned mountain has joined the front ranks of New England skiing.

Always a mountain with great potential and a loyal following, the decision to lease it has seen the fulfillment of that potential and an even bigger base of loyalists. With the basics already in place - a good location, scenery, lodging, decent vertical and interesting terrain - it wasn't long before Okemo's owners Tim and Diane Mueller brought Sunapee into the big time. New lifts - including a high-speed summit quad - greatly enhanced snowmaking, new trails, and a stunning new base lodge, all added in a few short years, have revved up the excitement level at the mountain several notches above the past.

The new management team did this by enhancing the experience for beginners, improving the experience for intermediates, and adding more challenging terrain for the advanced. Start with the South Peak beginner area, where a series of short surface lifts serves gentle terrain and a beginner quad provides a ride to a network of longer beginner (and one easier intermediate) trails. Completely separate from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the resort (but there is a convenient connector trail), South Peak is a fine low-key place to learn and provides the right progression to an eventual move to the main mountain. There is also a beginner terrain park here on Calypso.

The main mountain is dominated by intermediate terrain that accommodates a wide range of skills. On the mellow side there's Upper Ridge, which ends as a green circle trail in its lower reaches. Bonanza to Chipmunk is a bit more difficult, as is the full length of Wingding in the Sunbowl area. Black diamond Upper Blast-Off and Dare Ya are off the Sunapee Express, the top to bottom high-speed quad, but additional black diamond terrain can be found off the North Peak Triple. Advanced skiers and riders can play on Upper Hansen Chase to Chase ledges, the wonderful rolling Lynx, and Upper Flying Goose. For a step up from there try Goose Bumps or the glades. Summit Glades is a good long ride, lasting all the way down to Beck Brook.

The Spruce Triple gets you into the terrain parks and half pipe, as well as serving a couple of less-crowded blue-square trails. And let's not forget the Sunbowl, with its own quad. Besides the aforementioned Wingding, Upper and Lower Cataract (black diamond through the top half), Skyway, Kartwheel, and Liftline are all fun cruisers. And Williamson skirts the edge of the Sunbowl through pretty hardwoods.

Pretty doesn't do justice to Sunapee's "million dollar view" from the top of Skyway Ledges. With the white expanse of Lake Sunapee rolled out below you, the rolling hills of central New Hampshire in the middle distance and the White Mountains beyond, the view is arguably worth the price of admission alone.