Sugarloaf has big plans for the next 10 years, and they are already under way.
The resort plans to open 270 acres of new glades on Brackett Basin, running between Burnt Mountain and Ripsaw and Lower Stub's trails. Two more expansions in future years will cover all of Burnt Mountain, one of them of 135 acres that include the summit snowfields, the other 250 acres on the north face, for a total of 655 acres of glades and open slope skiing and riding. Access to the new terrain will be via a crosscut trail from the top of the King Pine Quad.
Stephen Kircher, president of Eastern Operations for Boyne Resorts, operating company of Sugarloaf, and John Diller, general manager of Sugarloaf, announced the plans in a ceremony at the resort.
Sugarloaf 2020 is an ambitious 10-year plan that envisions the terrain expansion, lift work, snowmaking upgrades, base area renovations, and work on the golf course and zip lines.
Each step of the plan lays the financial and infrastructure foundation for the next, Kircher told OnTheSnow.com.
"If everything on the list occurs within that decade, we’re talking about up to $20 million to $25 million in reinvestment, plus whatever the solution is for the bottom-to-top lift," he said.
Investment in all aspects of the resort since 2007 is $11 million, Kircher said, from Sugarloaf owner CNL Lifestyle Properties, Boyne, and community property owners, with about $9.2 million of that from Boyne and CNL.
"The incremental steps are very reasonable. The theme of everything we’re talking about is sustainable investment that allows Sugarloaf to be cool, relevant, cost-effective for customers, and not put itself in financial trouble. The idea is to keep the business sustainable and profitable enough to support the next phase of investment," Kircher said.
"We think this Burnt Mountain expansion is such a powerful, relevant, appropriate type of expansion for Sugarloaf because it goes right to the core, the DNA of the place.
"What it does for the place, by making sure the lifts run through the windy days, by updating Spillway next year, by the investments in snowmaking, is to deliver that mountain more consistently on more days in more ways than ever before," Kircher said.
Lift work includes mitigating wind impact on the Timberline and King Pine lifts, and replacement of Spillway with a new, fixed-grip quad. The plan also is looking at a possible t-bar to ensure access to the summit on very windy days, replacement of the Timberline lift with a new extension to the Bullwinkle's area, a fixed-grip quad to replace the Double Runner Chairs, and replacement of the West Mountain Chair; and consideration of a base-to-summit lift, a la Sugarloaf Gondola.
The plan also includes snowmaking improvements to bolster the resort's arsenal of low-e snowguns by adding up to 500 new guns, remedying inefficiencies in the existing system, and increasing water supply. Sugarloaf has added 600 feet of snowmaking pipe to Lombard Crosscut and Tohaul for 2010-11, which will allow earlier and later opening of the east side of the mountain.
The resort is working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Maine Department of Environmental Protection to establish a new water source on Caribou Pond to double the capacity of the current system. This will require new pumps and compressors.
Sugarloaf already has renovated the exterior of the base lodge with new siding, paint, and rock facades. Village improvements in the next 10 years will include updating the exteriors of other buildings to fit with the base lodge theme, to reduce shuttle traffic, and to enhance pedestrian experience.
Sugarloaf also continues to improve its golf course, capitalize on its new zip line course, and offer scenic chairlift rides weekends and holidays.
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