“There’s skiing in Maine?”
That’s what my family asked the week before we left for a 12-day road trip through New England and up to Quebec.
Oh yes, indeed, there’s great skiing in Maine and when it comes to affordable family friendly ski trips, Sunday River Resort delivers.
Spring/Winter Family Road Trips
As a family, we ski Vermont every year and we’re extremely familiar with that territory and the Green Mountains. But this year we decided to add on to our trip and keep exploring for as long as we could.
So, after five days of skiing at Sugarbush and Okemo in Vermont, we crossed New Hampshire and headed east to Sunday River Resort, in Newry, Maine where we learned first-hand just how great the skiing there can be.
What Took You So Long?
Sunday River Resort is one of those places that, once you find it, you’ll wonder what took you so long. None of us had ever been to Maine and we were excited to see what was waiting for us at Sunday River. We couldn’t wait to hit the slopes and honestly I was more than a little excited about the prospect of dining in Maine. Hello, lobster rolls anyone?
Discovering Sunday River Resort
From the moment we pulled up to the Grand Summit Lodge at Sunday River Resort we were captivated. Grand Summit Lodge sits right at the base of the mountains so, even in the dark you can see the peaks and trails rising up behind the lodge. Of course at night you can also spot the groomers on the hills. It’s a majestic winterscape. We’ve never felt so physically close to the skiing.
And the snow?! SO much snow!! New England rarely disappoints and this year was an epic snow year. When we were at Grand Summit Lodge the snowbanks crept halfway up the ground level hallway windows. Sunday River Resort averages 155 inches (390 cm) of snow per year.
A Popular Spot
Sunday River Resort was hopping from the second we got there on a Friday afternoon to the minute we left on Monday. The snow held off on the busy Saturday, when it hit us on Sunday as we were skiing Jordan Bowl, Aurora Peak, Spruce Peak and Barker, it was pure New England magic.
Ski In Ski Out Access
Grand Summit Lodge is convenient and has ski in ski out access that will take you straight to White Cap and Little White Cap Quad Lift. Loved the easy access to the slopes. Also, Grand Summit served cookies in the lobby on the Friday night we arrived. How sweet is that?
Vintage Ski Decor
Walk straight into a welcoming, warm, foyer decorated with nostalgic ski equipment and comfortable benches. Use the guest laundry on site if you’ve been on the road for a long time.
Other amenities of note were: a locked, staffed ski equipment room, arcade, heated indoor outdoor pool and movie nights by the pool.
There’s a decent restaurant at Grand Summit called Camp. Make note though reserve your table because it gets ridiculously busy during prime ski season. The breakfast buffet is also extremely popular, so get there early. But again the beauty of a ski in and ski out condominium means you can easily cook breakfast in the room too.
This was our first time ever at Sunday River Resort, as well as our first time skiing in Maine and we were amazed at the quality of the skiing, the views, and accommodations. Sunday River Resort is a hot spot for Canadians because of its proximity to the Quebec border.
This resort offers exclusive deals for Canadians, so if you don’t know about it already now you do. Make note of this post.
Canadian Skiers Get Great Deals at Sunday River Resort
March passport is available every year and works perfectly for Canadian March Break. Also, look for the Silver Passport season pass on sale. Benefits of both passes include: 20 % off lodging and retail discounts. Canadian rates are available all season long!
Ski Weekends in Western Maine
The mountain itself has 8 peaks covered in powder, perfect for a day, or a weekend, of skiing. We arrived on Friday night and were up early to go skiing Saturday. We had all weekend for skiing at Sunday River Resort.
Our First Morning
Together my daughter Payton and I woke up, grabbed breakfast in the room, picked up our skis and took the shuttle from the Grand Summit to South Ridge Lodge to pick up our lift tickets. Ainsley and Jim stayed in the condominium getting ready and we tried to navigate back to them to deliver the passes. Well, let’s just say I won’t do that again on my first day at a new to us destination.
Overall Impressions of the Layout
The Sunday River Resort layout can take some time to figure out (it took us a day) so plan on staying for at least two or three days so you can get the most enjoyment out of the slopes. We had three nights and two full days of skiing, and every second of it was amazing. Our last day with the snow falling down heavily as we skied was bliss.
The gondola, dubbed a chondola, up the mountain is a unique touch, and we enjoyed the difficulty, scope and size of both Aurora Peak and Jordan Bowl. These two felt a bit more challenging than the slopes close to Grand Summit Lodge, so they were a nice change of pace.
Of course you can take lessons and there’s something here for everyone. On that note as for ski lessons, Sunday River Resort is partnered with Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation to provide adaptive ski lessons at the resort.
We stayed in a ski in ski out condo at Grand Summit hotel which was clean, cozy and convenient. The furnishings had a nice, warm feel, and the Murphy style bed in the living room made the whole thing seem like a sleepover. My first time actually staying in a condominium with Murphy style wall beds. Now, that’s an efficient use of space.
Sunday River Resort Statistics:
- 8 Peaks
- 135 Trails and Glades
- 5 Terrain Parks
- 3 miles wide
- 15 Lifts
- There are 5 High Speed Lifts
- 870 Skiable Acres
- 2,340 Vertical
The lifts run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekends and holidays. That’s 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on week days – Monday to Friday to be specific.
A Few Sunday River Resort Facts
I mentioned earlier that Sunday River Resort has 8 peaks. Located in western Maine and owned by Boyne Resorts, Sunday River Resort is one of Maine’s largest, most visited ski resorts. The vertical drop of 2,340 feet makes it the second largest in Maine and sixth largest in New England.
The 8 Peaks of Sunday River Resort
They’re all unique, so I wanted to give a bit of information about each.
Sunday River’s signature double diamond, White Cap is known as Steep and Deep, and it lives up to its name. This is the one right outside of Grand Summit Lodge, where we stayed.
These slopes combine classic New England terrain with a modern take. Two race trails cut a straight path from the summit to the base surrounded by rolling terrain and narrow paths. On Saturday a race was happening here and this section of the resort was busy.
Our Family Favourites
WE enjoyed this one many times over and it was wide enough that we could find our own areas to explore without being in the way of the racing. My favourite trails here were Upper Sunday Punch, Sunday Punch, Goat Path and Lower Sunday Punch which leads right to Barker.
This area features a variety of terrain and slope depths and provides easy access to everything available at the resort. You can access Barker Lodge and South Ridge Lodge from here.
Offers two exceptional groomers as well as tricky steeps.
North Peak provides access to the resort’s terrain parks, superpipe, and excellent family terrain. You can also enjoy a great lunch with a view at Peak Lodge.
Located behind Spruce Peak, Aurora offers glades, groomers, and steeps. It has something for everyone. Aurora was one of my favourite peaks because you can get in some sweet long runs on Aurora Peak. As we have already established, I enjoy the lengthy runs from start to finish and there were a couple of nice ones here.
An adventure seeker’s playground, Oz offers mountainside dotted with trails, trees, and nature’s beauty. The glades here looked challenging and the names in this section of the resort cracked us up. Flying Monkey and Poppy for instance.
The biggest peak at Sunday River Resort, Jordan bowl is perfect for those who love long, scenic cruising over expansive glades. We only found Jordan Bowl on the last day there when it was snowing so hard that you could barely see as you skied down. This quickly became our favourite part of the mountain.
Slope Side Accommodations
Sunday River Resort offers accommodations from their on-site hotels to privately owned slopeside condominiums.
Grand Summit Lodge
Grand Summit Hotel, built in the early 90’s, has 230 rooms. The resort constantly renovates and improves the building to ensure the best experience possible. Camp serves breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Their other hotel, Jordan Hotel is situated at the western-most point of the resort. Together, Grand Summit and the Jordan act as bookends to the 8 peaks of the resort. Jordan Hotel has Grand Ave, a breakfast restaurant open during ski season basically. Northern Lights Cafe serves light breakfast and lunch. With mountain views and a slope side deck, Sliders serves lunch and dinner.
Other Food Options That Rock
Barking Dog Market right across the road from the entry to the Grand Summit Lodge has the best pizza ever. There’s a grocery store, with wine and liquor, as well as other ready made meals. We had the meat lover’s pizza and the sausage on it is quite possibly the greatest sausage ever.
Sunday River Resort is Perfect for Families
We had a wonderful time at Sunday River Resort, and now that we know about it, we’d definitely return. Skiing in Maine is challenging and fun and the food in the area is spectacular. With comfortable accommodations, 8 peaks, incredible ski conditions, and some gorgeous long runs, Sunday River Resort is perfect for the family that loves to ski. Perfect too for Canadians!
We were guests of Sunday River Resort and Visit Maine while in Maine and received accommodations and lift tickets while there.