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Sunday River
Newry, Maine
The South Ridge base area (2007)
The South Ridge base area (2007)
Sunday River Details
Status:Open
First Year of Operation:1959
Vertical Drop:2,340 feet
Lifts in Operation:1 chondola, 4 high speed quads, 5 quads, 3 triples, 1 double, surface lifts
Lifts Removed/Non Operational:2 triples, 3 doubles, surface lifts
Located just east of the northern White Mountains, Sunday River is one of New England's largest and most popular ski areas.

Local Beginnings
In the spring of 1958, the Bethel Area Development Corp., led by President Howard Cole, announced plans to develop a ski area on the northeast slope of Bald (Barker) Mountain. Soon thereafter, the Sunday River Skiway Corporation was formed and work was commenced.

Initial plans called for a 1958-59 opening with one lift and trails designed by Sel Hannah. The company likely ran into issues with funds and a lack of time, resulting in a one season postponement.

Activity began to accelerate in the summer of 1959, as funds were released to cut trails and install a T-Bar. A firm deadline was set for December.

Sunday River Skiway Opens
The $90,000 Sunday River Skiway opened on December 19, 1959 as a modest, surface lift served ski area. A 3,200 foot long T-Bar served two intermediate slopes, while a rope tow was constructed on a smaller novice slope.

For its third season, Sunday River expanded to the top of the ridge as it opened the Locke Mountain area. A 2,200 foot long T-Bar was added, serving an extended stretches of the Cascades and Sunday Punch trails. Overall, the ski area's vertical drop improved to 1,400 feet.

One of the T-Bars (early 1960s)
One of the T-Bars (early 1960s)
The novice rope tow was replaced with a new T-Bar for the 1963-64 season. Known as the Mixing Bowl, the expanded slope would be the site of Sunday River's first snowmaking installation in 1970-71.

Big Changes
Sunday River finally took the plunge into the world of chairlifts for the 1971-72 season, when it installed a 5,100 foot long Pullman-Berry double chairlift to its new Barker Mountain area. The following year, the ski area was taken over by Killington's parent company and, in 1973, Les Otten was named General Manager.

Under the new ownership, the ski area saw numerous under the hood changes, such as improved snowmaking and base facilities.

Otten Takes Over
Les Otten purchased the ski area in 1980 and quickly turned dreams into reality while growing skier visits exponentially.

For 1981-82, Otten pushed through an aggressive expansion program, including the addition of the South Ridge double chairlift, 20 more acres of snowmaking, and 4 new trails.

Sunday River's first triple chairlift, the Locke Triple, was installed for the 1984-85 season. Along with Pleasant Mountain's summit lift, the Locke chairlift was the first triple in Maine. Expansions had only just begun.

The Sunday River Express (2007)
The Sunday River Express (2007)
For the 1985-86 season, North Peak was added. For 1986-87, Spruce Peak. For 1987-88, the first phase of Whitecap. 1987-88 also saw the installation of the Sunday River Express, Maine's first high speed detachable quad chairlift. Sunday River had started the decade as a minor player in the industry and finished the decade as one of the largest in the East.

Even with all of the additions of the 1980s, investments did not halt in the new decade. For 1991-92, Aurora Peak was added, followed by the Jordan Bowl in 1994 and Oz in 1995.

Mergers and Aquisitions
Meanwhile, Les Otten formed LBO Resort Enterprises in 1994 and started to compete with former boss Pres Smith's S-K-I Ltd.. In rapid fashion, LBO purchased Attitash, NH and Sugarbush, VT that year, followed by Cranmore, NH in 1995.

The following year, LBO Resort Enterprises and S-K-I Ltd. merged to form American Skiing Company, bringing Sunday River and rival Sugarloaf under the same ownership.

For the following season, the Perfect Turn Express detachable quad was installed. With the American Skiing Company quickly sliding into, this would be the last new lift at Sunday River for over a decade.

On August 8, 2007, American Skiing Company sold Sunday River and Sugarloaf for $77 million to Boyne USA Resorts, which immediately sold the assets to CNL Properties Inc. while procuring a lease agreement to operate the areas.

For the 2008-09 season, the new ownership made quite a splash by installing New England's first chondola (a combined gondola and chair lift), while also adding night skiing. In addition, Sunday River has continued to see heavy investment in snowmaking, resulting in it having some of the earliest openings in New England in recent years.


NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
  • REPORT: CNL Lifestyle Properties Looking to Sell Ski Holdings - March 14, 2015
  • Three Areas to Operate This Weekend - November 7, 2014
  • Sunday River and Killington Open - November 3, 2014
  • Killington Announces November 3 Opening - November 1, 2014
  • Sunday River Announces November 3 Opening - October 31, 2014
  • Sunday River Donates $5,000 to Save Lost Valley Fundraiser - September 26, 2014
  • Sunday River, Sugarloaf, and Bretton Woods Fire Up Snowguns - September 19, 2014
  • Sunday River to Upgrade Spruce Triple, Expand Snowmaking - August 11, 2014

  • Expansion History
    Expansion History
    Project NameSeasonStatus
    Locke Mountain1961-62Open
    Barker Mountain1971-72Open
    North Peak1985-86Open
    Spruce Peak1986-87Open
    Whitecap1987-88Open
    Aurora Peak1991-92Open
    Jordan Bowl1994-95Open
    Oz1995-96Open

    Image Gallery
    1962-63 Eastern Ski Map1964-65 Eastern Ski Map1965-66 Eastern Ski Map1966-67 Eastern Ski Map
    1970-71 Eastern Ski Map1971-72 Eastern Ski MapSunday River Aerial Imagery, 1997 vs. 2011
    View All Images in Sunday River Image Gallery


    Lifts
    Click on lift name for information and photos
    Standing Lifts
    Installed
    The Aurora Quad bottom terminal in 2007Aurora Peak Quad
    Yan
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    1991-92
    The Sunday River Express in 2007Barker Mountain Express
    Yan-Poma
    Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
    1987-88
    The Chondola bottom terminal in 2011Chondola
    Doppelmayr-CTEC
    Chondola - Sixpack - 8 Person
    2008-09
    The Jordan Bowl Express Quad bottom terminal in 2007Jordan Bowl Express
    Doppelmayr
    Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
    1994-95
    The Jordan Mountain Double east terminal in 2007Jordan Mountain Double
    Garaventa CTEC-Hall
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1994-95
    The Little White Cap Quad base terminal in 2007Little White Cap Quad
    Yan
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    1987-88
    The Locke Mountain Triple midstation in 2007Locke Mountain Triple
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
    1984-85
    The Perfect Turn Express bottom terminal in 2007North Peak Express
    Doppelmayr
    Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
    1997-98
    Oz Quad
    Doppelmayr
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    1995-96
    The Quantum Leap Triple in 2007Quantum Leap Triple
    Hall-Borvig
    Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
    1992-93
    The South Ridge Express bottom terminal in 2004South Ridge Express
    Poma
    Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
    1992-93
    The Spruce Peak Triple bottom terminal in 2004Spruce Peak Triple
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
    1986-87
    The White Cap Quad top terminal in 2007White Cap Quad
    Yan
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    1988-89
    The White Heat Quad in 2007White Heat Quad
    Yan
    Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
    1988-89

    Past Lifts
    Seasons
    Barker Mountain Double
    Pullman-Berry
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1971-72
    -
    1986-87
    Cascades T-Bar

    T-Bar
    1959-60
    -
    Fall Line Double
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1985-86
    -
    2007-08
    Locke Mountain T-Bar

    T-Bar
    1961-62
    -
    1983-84
    The Mixing Bowl T-Bar circa the mid to late 1970sMixing Bowl T-Bar
    Hall
    T-Bar
    1963-64
    -
    North Peak Triple
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
    1985-86
    -
    1996-97
    South Ridge Double
    Hall
    Chairlift - Double - Fixed
    1981-82
    -
    1991-92
    The South Ridge Triple in 2004South Ridge Triple
    Borvig
    Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
    1986-87
    -
    2007-08
    Sunday Punch Poma

    Platter
    1978-79
    -
    1980s

    Maps
    1962-63 Sunday River Skiway Trail Map1963-64 Sunday River Skiway Trail Map1964-65 Sunday River Skiway Trail Map1967-68 Sunday River Skiway Trail Map1969-70 Sunday River trail map1986-87 Sunday River Trail Map2007-08 Sunday River Trail Map2009-10 Sunday River Trail Map
    View All Sunday River Trail Maps

    Skier Visit History
    Season Skier Visits Source
    2000s
    2005-06473,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 2006  
    2004-05525,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 2005  
    2003-04523,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 2004  
    2002-03501,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 2003  
    2001-02521,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 2002  
    2000-01547,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 2001  
    1999-00513,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 2000  
    1990s
    1998-99526,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 1999  
    1997-98552,000GraphAmerican Skiing Company Form 10-K 1998  
    1994-95546,000GraphBangor Daily News  
    1993-94525,000GraphBangor Daily News  
    1992-93525,000GraphLewiston Sun Journal  
    1991-92502,507GraphLewiston Sun Journal  
    1990-91439,000GraphLewiston Sun Journal  
    1989-90396,000GraphLewiston Sun Journal  
    1980s
    1983-84110,000GraphLewiston Sun Journal  
    1979-8040,000GraphSki America  

    Ticket Price History
    Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket
    Season Price Source
    2010s
    2014-15$89.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2013-14$87.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2012-13$85.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2011-12$80.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2010-11$79.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2009-10$77.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2000s
    2008-09$77.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2007-08$72.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2006-07$67.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2005-06$59.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2004-05$59.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2003-04$56.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2002-03$53.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2001-02$52.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    2000-01$51.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    1999-00$49.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    1990s
    1998-99$49.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    1997-98$47.00Graphsundayriver.com  
    1992-93$39.00GraphBoston Globe  
    1990-91$36.00GraphBoston Globe  
    1989-90$33.00GraphBoston Globe  
    1980s
    1988-89$30.00GraphNew York Times  
    1987-88$27.00GraphBoston Globe  
    1986-87$24.00GraphSkiing  
    1985-86$22.00GraphSkiing  
    1983-84$18.00GraphSki America  
    1982-83$16.00GraphRand McNally Winter Recreation Map  
    1981-82$15.00GraphSki America  
    1980-81$13.00GraphSki America  
    1970s
    1977-78$9.25GraphBoston Globe  
    1971-72$7.00GraphBoston Globe  
    1970-71$6.00GraphBoston Globe  
    1969-70$6.00GraphBoston Globe  
    1960s
    1968-69$4.50GraphNELSAP  
    1967-68$4.50GraphEastern Ski Atlas  
    1964-65$4.00GraphEastern Ski Atlas  
    1963-64$4.00GraphBuxton's Eastern Ski Slopes  
    1962-63$4.00GraphBuxton's Eastern Ski Slopes  

    Visitor Memories
    Add a memory of Sunday River
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    External Links
  • Sunday River - official site
  • Sunday River - Wikipedia
  • Last updated: March 12, 2015

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