by: Jeff - 5th April 2012

  • 2
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced/Expert
  • 3All-Mtn. Terrain
  • 2Family Friendly
  • 2Aprés Ski
  • 2Terrain Park
  • Overall Value
3 Day Spring Pack Pass @$145
Miserable Parking Layout, Miserable Surfaces

Full review

Try as they might, the powers at Sugarloat boadly attempted to recover from Mother Nature's near 10 days of scalding hot record setting high temps during the 2nd and 3rd weeks of March. Snowmaking and grooming just prior to our visit on 4-2 through 4-5 produced acceptable conditions early in the week that badly degraded to barely edgeable formica by week's end. The normal spring sun and temp cycling persisted and did soften surfaces on the lower part of the mountain through 4-4 but ran out of gas come 4-5 when greatly overcast skies punished skiers with brutally flat light and unmerciful granite surfaces. The failure to continue snowmaking efforts in the persistent below freezing temps and engage grooming that could loosen unforgiving surfaces led to progressively diminished turning pleasure as the week wore on. Less than 20% of trails were on line and even that number was remarkable given 80 deg temps only 2 weeks prior. Regrettably, the "King of Spring" was destined to offer a hopelessly inferior product to what they have provided in the springs of prior seasons. The presence of UK youth on holiday and a gaggle of stick chasers made for some moments of slope crowding on the mostly "claw and scratch" surfaces that would make even a New York city dweller nervous. Having skiing globally, a particular feature of Sugarloaf stood out in stark exception to the great majority of ski areas visited during the past 50 years. Sugarloaf's "base area" is a tiered structure of sucessive headwalls and stairs that if you plan to day ski the area, you best be in great shape or you will run out of gas before you even step into your boards. The area does provide a 60 minute skier drop off lot, which even when used, still requires some stair climbing to reach "the goods". So much for a "base area" being a flat prominence from which one can "rise to the stars" via lift service. A lift is needed to get skiers from the parking lot.
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