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Sugarloaf as seen from the West Peak of the Bigelows (2010)
Sugarloaf Mountain Resort
Carrabassett Valley, Maine
Status: Open
First Season:1953-54
Vertical Drop:2820 feet
Standing Lifts:2 high speed quads, 3 quads, 1 triple, 6 doubles, surface lifts
Past Lifts:1 gondola, 1 quad, 3 doubles, surface lifts
Left: Sugarloaf as seen from the West Peak of the Bigelows (2010)
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
7/31/2015: Sugarloaf to Remove Bucksaw Chairlift
6/26/2015: Sugarloaf Announces Fixed Grip Chairlift...
4/2/2015: Sugarloaf Closes Timberline Quad After I...
3/28/2015: Sugarloaf King Pine Chairlift to Remain...
Located in the Longfellow Mountains in western Maine, Sugarloaf is one of the largest ski areas in the Northeastern United States. The scrubby upper elevations of 4,250 foot Sugarloaf Mountain feature unique snowfields in the winter and spring months.

Early Hike-Up Years
After being picked by the Maine Ski Council, development of Sugarloaf Mountain started in 1950 when the Sugarloaf Mountain Ski Club negotiated a 20 year lease with Great Northern Paper Company for land on the northern face of the mountain. Starting that summer, Winter's Way (named after local organizer Amos Winter), was laid out by Sel Hannah, dropping some 1,800 vertical feet from the summit snow fields. The trail was completed in January of 1951 and was skied that winter.

Amos Winter and Mickey Durrell on Winter's Way in the early 1950s
Amos Winter and Mickey Durrell on Winter's Way in the early 1950s
The 1951 off season was spent smoothing the trail as well as improving the access road. A base hut was constructed in 1952.

Lift Service at Sugarloaf
Sugarloaf's lift served history started in 1953 when a 700 foot rope tow was installed at the bottom of the ski trail. In addition, a shelter was constructed near the top of the trail.

The Sugarloaf Mountain Corporation was formed in March of 1955, naming Robert "Bunny" Bass president and Amos Winter executive manager. $100,000 of stock was authorized for sale, eventually paving the way for the signing of a contract with E. G. Constam Company in July for a new T-Bar. For the 1955-56 season, the T-Bar debuted along with the Narrow Gauge trail and a base lodge.

Following a successful 1955-56 season, additional investments were made in the ski area. An upper mountain T-Bar was installed, providing over a mile of uphill service with the lower T-Bar. The base lodge was also expanded to help with the growing crowds, while the Tote Road trail opened. While the 1956-67 season was one of poor snowfall, 1957-58 was epic.

At the end of the 1950s, Dan Kiley was hired to conduct a land study of Sugarloaf, resulting in a major five year expansion plan.

Then first phase of the plan was rolled out in 1959 when $90,000 was invested in the ski area. To help ease congestion and better position for future expansion, the base area was moved downhill to a new base lodge. A new T-Bar was constructed, serving a new novice slope, as well as providing access to the existing tandem T-Bars.

For the 1960-61 season, the new base lodge was expanded and the Double Bitter trail cut. That spring, a young literary student named John Christie visited Sugarloaf with some friends and quickly became a ski patroller and bartender. He stayed in town that summer and helped with the installation of two new T-Bars and the cutting of new trails. The expansion allowed for a second set of tandem T-Bars to the base of the snow fields.

For the 1963-64 season, the original T-Bar was refurbished and extended down to the newer base area. By this time, the ski area sported 12 trails and an uphill capacity of 5,000 skiers per hour.

The Year of the Mighty Gondola
A massive transformation of the ski area was commenced in 1964 when John Christie laid out a top to bottom lift line. Later that year, the decision was made to purchase a two-stage Pohlig-Heckel-Bleichert (PHB) four person gondola. Installation started in 1965 and continued into January of 1966. The lift was formally dedicated on February 4th, 1966, making the newly-branded Sugarloaf/USA an internationally recognized ski area. The hype was so big that the ski area was being considered as a potential site of the 1976 Winter Olympics. The 1965-66 season was Sugarloaf's biggest at that point in terms of skier visits and revenue.

Sugarloaf in the 1960s
Sugarloaf in the 1960s
The summit lodge was completed and a 45 meter ski jump constructed for the 1966-67 season, as Sugarloaf prepared to host the NCAA Intercollegiate Skiing Championships, as well as the first World Heavyweight Ski Championships. Harry Baxter was recruited from Mt. Whitter, NH as the new Ski School Director. John Christie departed for Mt. Snow, VT following the 1967-68 season, at which point Baxter took over as General Manager of Sugarloaf.

Sugarloaf's first chairlift was installed for the 1969-70 season, serving the new Bucksaw area. A second double chairlift followed for 1970-71, connecting the newly-purchased Sugarloaf Inn with the base area. World Cup racing was hosted at Sugarloaf that winter.

The Timberline T-Bar was installed for the 1971-72 season, providing an all-T-Bar route to the summit area from the base of the ski area.

Construction on Village Center commenced in 1972, further moving Sugarloaf into destination resort status. Meanwhile, land was purchased on Burnt Mountain and an option for nearby Crocker Mountain.

Snowmaking Arrives at Sugarloaf
The first half of the Double Runner double-double chairlift was completed for the 1973-74 season. While the winter of 1973-74 proved to be a disaster for ski areas across New England, it was particularly hard on Sugarloaf. Lacking snowmaking, the area sustained a loss of $480,000. Nonetheless, Sugarloaf was able to gather $500,000 to push through much needed projects during the summer of 1974. The second half of the Double Runner was completed, providing chairlift service to the novice Boardwalk slope. More importantly, a top to bottom snowmaking system was installed, reportedly covering the most vertical feet in the world. Included in the initial system were 3 miles of pipe, 4 pumps, and 3 compressors.

The east side of the Spillway double-double was installed in 1975, connecting the Double Runner chairs with the upper mountain. The Appalachian Trail was relocated off the summit and ski slopes of Sugarloaf a year later, thus helping the ski area avoid potential developmental roadblocks in the future.

The next sizable expansion took place in 1981, when the Timberwind double chairlift was installed below the Sugarloaf Inn, further increasing Sugarloaf's vertical drop. The snowmaking system was also significantly expanded that off season, while new base facilities and condominiums were constructed, rounding out the $6 million project.

The west half of the Spillway double-double was added for the 1983-84 season, while the Timberline T-Bar may have been retired around this time. The season was fairly successful, resulting in a $601,000 profit.

West Mountain debuted for 1984, providing a new base area adjacent to the golf course development. Following the 1984-85 season, the short-lived Timberwind double chairlift was removed and replaced with Sugarloaf's first triple chairlift, the Snubber.

Sugarloaf prior to the removal of the gondola
Sugarloaf prior to the removal of the gondola
Financial Woes
Meanwhile, Sugarloaf was experiencing significant financial difficulties. The 1984-85 season resulted in a loss of $394,000 and a corporate restructuring.

On March 23, 1986, the Sugarloaf Mountain Corporation filed for Chapter 11 federal bankruptcy protection, citing too much of an emphasis on real estate development. Warren Cook became president of the Sugarloaf Mountain Corporation that off-season. The court allowed Sugarloaf to borrow an additional $2.5 million to improve snowmaking and terrain for the 1986-87 season. On February 3, 1987, a counterweight cable snapped on the gondola, resulting two injuries.

$3 million was invested in new lifts, trails, and snowmaking for the 1988-89 season. The aging Whiffletree T-Bar was replaced with a new fixed grip quad, dramatically improving access to the eastern side of the ski area. Terrain was reworked above this lift to form the King Pine Bowl, served by another new fixed grip quad. Finally, the No. 1 T-Bar was replaced with a short double chairlift.

The 1988-89 season was a struggle for Sugarloaf, as below snowfall resulted in a worsening financial situation. The signature gondola remained closed all winter.

While Sugarloaf was able to emerge from Chapter 11, losses continued. In 1992, the groundwork was laid to restructure the corporation to allow for a viable long term operation. Sugarloaf was able to dump its wastewater treatment plant, obtain new financing, and receive other write offs, thanks to the help of Carrabassett Valley, the Finance Authority of Maine, and Fleet Bank.

S-K-I and ASC
The restructuring paved the way to massive changes in 1994. A majority holding in Sugarloaf was purchased by S-K-I Ltd. on August 24, 1994 for $2 million. With the shift in debt and ownership, Sugarloaf was able to invest $4.5 million in lift improvements, including the SuperQuad. At 6,655 feet in length, the new high speed detachable quad was the longest of its type in the East.

S-K-I Ltd. merged with LBO Resort Enterprises Corp. on June 28, 1996, resulting in the formation of American Skiing Company. American Skiing Company acquired the remaining 49% of the Sugarloaf stock from Warren Cook that off-season, thus assuming full control of the ski area.

American Skiing Company installed the Whiffletree high speed detachable quad for the 1997-98 season, thus providing two high speed options out of the base area. The fixed grip Whiffletree quad was relocated to the top of the mountain as the Timberline Quad. Meanwhile, much of the gondola was removed.

Tote Road (2011)
Tote Road (2011)
Unfortunately for Sugarloaf, American Skiing Company was sinking into deep financial trouble. As a result, large scale improvements ceased and deferred maintenance accumulated. Warren Cook stepped down in 1999. Two years later, American Skiing Company CEO Les Otten resigned.

In January of 2005, longtime Sugarloaf skier Paul Schipper's streak of skiing on every day of operations ended at 3,903. Schipper's streak spanned a quarter of a century. Schipper passed away in 2009, just short of his 86th birthday.

The Boyne Era Begins
On August 8, 2007, Sugarloaf and Sunday River were sold to Boyne USA Resorts for $77 million. Boyne immediately sold the assets to CNL Lifestyle Properties while retaining an operating lease.

During the summer of 2010, maps of the Sugarloaf 2020 proposal emerged, showing a bold decade of expansion. The first phase of the proposal, known as Brackett Basin, was rolled out for the 2010-2011 season. On December 28, 2010, the Spillway East chairlift deroped, sending eight passengers to the hospital. The Spillway lifts were removed after that season and replaced with a $3 million fixed grip quad.

$1 million was invested in additional snowmaking equipment for the 2012-2013, while glade development continued in Brackett Basin. $1.7 million was also invested in irrigation improvements at the golf course. Continuing beyond Brackett Basin, the Burnt Mountain area debuted for the 2013-14 season.

Sugarloaf hosted the US Alpine Championships in March of 2015.


NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
  • Sugarloaf to Remove Bucksaw Chairlift - July 31, 2015
  • Sugarloaf Announces Fixed Grip Chairlift Projects - June 26, 2015
  • Sugarloaf Closes Timberline Quad After Inspection Reveals Issues - April 2, 2015
  • Sugarloaf King Pine Chairlift to Remain Closed for Rest of Season - March 28, 2015
  • Sugarloaf Blames Lift Manufacturer for Rollback Brake Failure - March 26, 2015
  • Preliminary Sugarloaf King Pine Chairlift Investigation Cites Multiple Mechanical Failures - March 22, 2015
  • Sugarloaf Chairlift Rollback Results in 7 Injuries - March 21, 2015
  • Karl Strand Named General Manager at Sugarloaf - December 10, 2014
  • Three Areas to Operate This Weekend - November 7, 2014
  • Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Bretton Woods Fire Up Snowguns - September 19, 2014

  • Expansion History
    Project
    Season
    Crocker Mountain
    Cancelled
    1970s
    Crocker Basin
    Cancelled
    1980s
    Upper Mountain
    Open
    1956-57
    Bucksaw
    Open
    1969-70
    Birches
    Open
    1970-71
    West Mountain
    Open
    1984-85
    Snowbrook
    Open
    1985-86
    Brackett Basin
    Open
    2010-11
    Burnt Mountain
    Open
    2013-14

    Image Gallery
    1956-57 Eastern Ski Map1957-58 Eastern Ski Map1959-60 Eastern Ski Map1960-61 Eastern Ski Map
    1962 Appalachia1962-63 Eastern Ski Map1963-64 Eastern Ski Map1964-65 Eastern Ski Map
    View All Images in Sugarloaf Mountain Resort Image Gallery


    Lifts
    Click on lift name for information and photos
    Standing Lifts
    Installed
    The Bateau T-Bar in 2008Bateau T-Bar
    Constam-Doppelmayr-Borvig
    T-Bar
    1956-57
    The top of the Bucksaw Double in 2011Bucksaw Double
    Stadeli
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1969-70
    The Double Runner base terminal in 2008Double Runner East
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1974-75
    The Double Runner base terminal in 2008Double Runner West
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1973-74
    The King Pine Quad in 2014King Pine Quad
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    1988-89
    The Sawduster Double in 2008Sawduster Double
    Stadeli
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1970-71
    The Skidway Double in 2014Skidway Double
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1988-89
    Skyline Quad installation in July of 2011Skyline Quad
    Doppelmayr-CTEC
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    2011-12
    Snubber Triple in 2008Snubber Triple
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
    1985-86
    The SuperQuad in 2014SuperQuad
    Garaventa CTEC
    Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
    1994-95
    The Timberline Quad in 2014Timberline Quad
    Borvig-Partek
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    1997-98
    The West Mountain Double base terminal in 2011West Mountain Double
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1984-85
    The Whiffletree Quad top terminal in 2008Whiffletree Quad
    Garaventa-CTEC
    Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
    1997-98

    Past Lifts
    Seasons
    The gondola circa the 1960sGondola
    PHB
    Gondola - 4 Person
    1965-66
    -
    1996-97
    King Pine T-Bar
    Constam
    T-Bar
    1961-62
    -
    1990s
    No. 1 T-Bar

    T-Bar
    1959-60
    -
    1987-88
    No. 2 T-Bar
    Constam
    T-Bar
    1955-56
    -
    1970s
    Spillway East base terminal in 2008Spillway East
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1975-76
    -
    2010-11
    Spillway West base terminal in 2008Spillway West
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1983-84
    -
    2010-11
    Timberline T-Bar
    Stadeli
    T-Bar
    1971-72
    -
    1980s
    Timberwind Double
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1981-82
    -
    1984-85
    The Chip Carey and Jerry Muth on the Whiffletree Quad in the late 1980sWhiffletree Quad
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    1988-89
    -
    1996-97
    Whiffletree T-Bar
    Constam
    T-Bar
    1961-62
    -
    1987-88

    Maps
    1955-56 Sugarloaf Trail Map1957-58 Sugarloaf Trail Map1962-63 Sugarloaf Trail Map1963-64 Sugarloaf Trail Map2001-02 Sugarloaf Trail Map2002-03 Sugarloaf Trail Map2003-04 Sugarloaf Trail Map2004-05 Sugarloaf Trail Map
    View All Sugarloaf Mountain Resort Trail Maps

    Year by Year History
    Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
    2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
    Pass Payback
    Opening Day
    Closing Day
    Skier Visits
    2015-16$86.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph2015-16 Season Pass Price Graph2015-16 Skier Visit Graph
    2014-15$84.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$1245.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph14.8 daysNovember 9May 32014-15 Skier Visit Graph
    2013-14$83.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$1210.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph14.6 daysNovember 22May 42013-14 Skier Visit Graph
    2012-13$81.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$1175.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph14.5 daysNovember 9May 52012-13 Skier Visit Graph
    2011-12$79.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$1149.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph14.5 daysNovember 22April 162011-12 Skier Visit Graph
    2010-11$77.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph$1079.002010-11 Season Pass Price Graph14.0 daysNovember 21May 92010-11 Skier Visit Graph
    2009-10$75.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$1049.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph14.0 daysNovember 29May 22009-10 Skier Visit Graph
    2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
    Pass Payback
    Opening Day
    Closing Day
    Skier Visits
    2008-09$75.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$1049.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph14.0 daysNovember 21May 32008-09 Skier Visit Graph
    2007-08$72.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$999.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph13.9 daysNovember 9May 52007-08 Skier Visit Graph
    2006-07$67.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$1350.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph20.1 daysNovember 202006-07 Skier Visit Graph
    2005-06$61.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$1300.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph21.3 daysNovember 18311,0002005-06 Skier Visit Graph
    2004-05$58.002004-05 Ticket Price Graph$1100.002004-05 Season Pass Price Graph19.0 daysNovember 19366,0002004-05 Skier Visit Graph
    2003-04$56.002003-04 Ticket Price Graph$1249.002003-04 Season Pass Price Graph22.3 days335,0002003-04 Skier Visit Graph
    2002-03$53.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$1249.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph23.6 days355,0002002-03 Skier Visit Graph
    2001-02$52.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph$1245.002001-02 Season Pass Price Graph23.9 days331,0002001-02 Skier Visit Graph
    2000-01$51.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph$1295.002000-01 Season Pass Price Graph25.4 days355,0002000-01 Skier Visit Graph
    1999-001999-00 Ticket Price Graph1999-00 Season Pass Price Graph325,0001999-00 Skier Visit Graph
    1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
    Pass Payback
    Opening Day
    Closing Day
    Skier Visits
    1998-991998-99 Ticket Price Graph1998-99 Season Pass Price Graph329,0001998-99 Skier Visit Graph
    1997-98$47.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph1997-98 Season Pass Price Graph358,0001997-98 Skier Visit Graph
    1996-97$46.001996-97 Ticket Price Graph1996-97 Season Pass Price Graph1996-97 Skier Visit Graph
    1993-941993-94 Ticket Price Graph1993-94 Season Pass Price Graph351,0001993-94 Skier Visit Graph
    1992-93$38.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph350,0001992-93 Skier Visit Graph
    1991-921991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price Graph302,1001991-92 Skier Visit Graph
    1990-91$35.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price Graph1990-91 Skier Visit Graph
    1989-90$34.001989-90 Ticket Price Graph1989-90 Season Pass Price Graph279,0001989-90 Skier Visit Graph
    1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
    Pass Payback
    Opening Day
    Closing Day
    Skier Visits
    1988-89$31.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price Graph212,0001988-89 Skier Visit Graph
    1987-88$28.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
    1986-871986-87 Ticket Price Graph1986-87 Season Pass Price Graph270,0001986-87 Skier Visit Graph
    1985-861985-86 Ticket Price Graph1985-86 Season Pass Price Graph200,0001985-86 Skier Visit Graph
    1983-84$21.001983-84 Ticket Price Graph1983-84 Season Pass Price Graph1983-84 Skier Visit Graph
    1982-83$19.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price Graph1982-83 Skier Visit Graph
    1981-82$17.001981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price Graph1981-82 Skier Visit Graph
    1980-81$15.001980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph1980-81 Skier Visit Graph
    1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
    Pass Payback
    Opening Day
    Closing Day
    Skier Visits
    1978-79$12.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 101978-79 Skier Visit Graph
    1977-78$11.001977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price Graph1977-78 Skier Visit Graph
    1975-76$9.501975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price Graph1975-76 Skier Visit Graph
    1974-75$9.001974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 221974-75 Skier Visit Graph
    1973-74$9.001973-74 Ticket Price Graph1973-74 Season Pass Price Graph1973-74 Skier Visit Graph
    1972-73$9.001972-73 Ticket Price Graph1972-73 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 9April 241972-73 Skier Visit Graph
    1971-72$8.751971-72 Ticket Price Graph1971-72 Season Pass Price GraphMay 201971-72 Skier Visit Graph
    1970-71$8.751970-71 Ticket Price Graph1970-71 Season Pass Price Graph1970-71 Skier Visit Graph
    1969-70$8.001969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price GraphApril 261969-70 Skier Visit Graph
    1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
    Pass Payback
    Opening Day
    Closing Day
    Skier Visits
    1968-69$7.501968-69 Ticket Price Graph1968-69 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 10May 111968-69 Skier Visit Graph
    1967-68$7.501967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price GraphApril 51967-68 Skier Visit Graph
    1964-65$4.251964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 29May 21964-65 Skier Visit Graph
    1963-64$4.251963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 26April 131963-64 Skier Visit Graph
    1962-63$4.251962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price GraphApril 211962-63 Skier Visit Graph
    1961-621961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 16April 281961-62 Skier Visit Graph
    1960-611960-61 Ticket Price Graph1960-61 Season Pass Price GraphMay 71960-61 Skier Visit Graph
    1959-60$4.001959-60 Ticket Price Graph1959-60 Season Pass Price Graph1959-60 Skier Visit Graph
    1950s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
    Pass Payback
    Opening Day
    Closing Day
    Skier Visits
    1958-591958-59 Ticket Price Graph1958-59 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 6April 231958-59 Skier Visit Graph
    1957-581957-58 Ticket Price Graph1957-58 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 14May 111957-58 Skier Visit Graph
    1956-571956-57 Ticket Price Graph1956-57 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 281956-57 Skier Visit Graph
    1955-561955-56 Ticket Price Graph1955-56 Season Pass Price GraphMay 61955-56 Skier Visit Graph
    1953-54$1.001953-54 Ticket Price Graph1953-54 Season Pass Price Graph1953-54 Skier Visit Graph

    Visitor Memories
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    External Links
  • Sugarloaf - official site
  • Sugarloaf Mountain - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
  • Sugarloaf Today
  • The Story of Sugarloaf - Amazon.com
  • Last updated: July 27, 2015

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