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Sunday River

Any resort trending for the hashtag #Happyplacefound is going to be good, and for an adventure-seeker, Sunday River is possibly paradise. Well-integrated, efficient lifts span not one, not two, but EIGHT different mountains - in a resort where skiing 25 runs, scoffing sticky buns and dining with a Yeti is all in a day’s work.

Beginner

Intermediate

Advanced

Snowboard

At a glance: • 8 peaks • Ski-in/Ski-out

Great for: • Beginners • Boarders • Families

Any resort trending for the hashtag #Happyplacefound is going to be good, and for an adventure-seeker, Sunday River is possibly paradise. Well-integrated, efficient lifts span not one, not two, but EIGHT different mountains - in a resort where skiing 25 runs, scoffing sticky buns and dining with a Yeti is all in a day’s work.

Sunday River Resort

It was 1958 when a handful of skiers scaled Locke Mountain and hacked the first trails down through the Maine woods.

Today, Locke’s just one of the 8 peaks in Sunday’s ski area, each with its own unique personality. Whether you spend all of your time on fierce White Cap (a masterclass in expert skiing), or the peak of endless, groomed perfection, Jordan Bowl (where views stretch to the Atlantic), there’s a diversity to the terrain here that you have to admire.

There are 2000 skiable acres in all and the resort’s boundary-to-boundary policy encourages you to ski every last one of them (just don’t duck ropes).

The River isn’t “just down the road” from anywhere substantial, but its remoteness gives us a lot to be thankful for - the 6th biggest ski area in New England rarely sees lift lines.

The River isn’t “just down the road” from anywhere substantial, but its remoteness gives us a lot to be thankful for - the 6th biggest ski area in New England rarely sees lift lines.

With 870 acres over 8 different peaks, there are some fantastic runs here of all colours and creeds. What’s really remarkable is how many you can ski before the lifts wind down. Thanks to a lack of lift lines and lots of high-speed quads, it's not unusual to fit in well over 20 runs a day (even on weekends) – just don’t lose your piste map!

Stats & FAQ

Location: Maine, USA

Established: 1959

Open: November - April

Downhill: 870 acres / 135 runs

View our detailed Sunday River snow forecast or snow report and see all live webcams, piste maps, road and travel maps and lift pass prices. For a picture of historic snow conditions see the snow depths month by month with our Sunday River snow history.

Nearest Airport & Transfer Time:
Portland International Jetport (PWM)81 miles, 1 hour 40 mins
  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • 33%

  • 36%

  • 21%

Top Altitude:3140ft / 960m
Bottom Altitude:800ft / 240m
Resort Altitude:800ft / 240m
Longest run:3 miles / 4.8km
Slope Orientation:NE NW
Vertical Drop:2340 feet / 710m
Skiable Vertical:
Night Skiing:Yes
Glacier:No

Snow Report

  • Top
  • 5cm
  • Base
  • N/Acm
  • Forecast
  • N/Acm

Web Cam

Sunday River web cams
Downhill Runs:870 acres / 135 runs
Beginner slopes:33%
Intermediate:36%
Advanced slopes:21%
Lift Pass Price: $79-99 (adult 1 day)
Nearby resorts: Loon, Stowe

Skiing/BoardingSkiing in Sunday River

While beginners often draw the short straw where terrain is concerned, this isn’t the case in Sunday where they have the pick of 33% of all runs. There’s a huge beginner area at the South Ridge Lodge, with three lifts, a carpet, high speed quad, Chondola and 16 green runs (on last count). And in previous years the ticket office has sold a special reduced “beginner ticket” to access them all. Keeping very-first-timers mostly in one area provides much-needed peace, while there are greens strewn here, there and everywhere for an adventure. Hourly “Perfect Turn” drop-in ski classes were pioneered here – and often mean you’ll have a group lesson all to yourself. When these have you fighting fit, take the Cowardly Lion from the top of Oz and work your way down.

This ski area is a smorgasbord of terrain for an intermediate, and even many of the black runs are manageable when groomed. One of a million possible itineraries - tuck into Spruce Peak for a start, then take a turn on Aurora’s lovely blue Northern Lights, making sure to stop for sticky buns at North Peak. Finish it all off with a challenge by venturing up Locke mountain and connecting Goat Path, Lazy River and Tourist Trap, or take it easy on the Jordan Bowl’s Lollapalooza, 1.5 miles of mellow cruising in view of the Mahoosuc and Presidential mountains.

With black diamonds and double diamonds from each of the peaks, you can work your way from east to west sampling the best of them. White Cap peak is known for its formidable terrain and White Heat here is considered something of a rite of passage bump run. You’ll also want to spend a good amount of time on Oz, for steeps like Ruby Palace and Emerald City, and Gnarnia off of Spruce Peak should not be missed by any who loves a good cliff. If you grow weary of groomers, the off-piste is super accessible and glades are ten a penny. Try Blind Ambition for entry-level black diamond glade skiing.

Boarders can take their pick of 8 terrain parks, with everything from a 16ft-walled superpipe to a teeny-weeny mini pipe. And the fun doesn’t have to end at 4pm. Several nights a week lights are left on for night skiing, including a floodlit half-pipe, with an innovative surface lift to bring boarders back to the top.

Sunday River Apres Ski

There are energetic après options on and off the mountain and a fair amount live music, so fun’s to be found - as long as you aren’t expecting the Killington Access road. With the mileage being made on the hill, most conk out quite early to ready themselves for another day on the snow…

Once lifts close, the Foggy Goggle at the South Ridge base starts to get steamy, often packed with punters knocking back local brews and snacks like Goggle Sweets – sweet potato fries doused in syrup and bacon. A little further down the way, the Matterhorn Ski Bar also kicks up quite a storm. Besides a bar made entirely from skis, this chalet-style hut has a wood-fired pizza oven, where staff fire generously portioned pizzas they learnt to spin in Naples.

Shed your ski gear and take the 10-minute trip down to Bethel for more options. Though the small, residential feel of the place can be deceptive, there’s everything here from fine dining to pubs, steakhouses, diners and Korean food. There’s also live music and dancing if you look for it. Start the search at the Funky Red Barn. Even if the DJs aren’t in, a $3 beer will keep the search party optimistic.

For those who end the day with energy to spare, dog sledding, snowmobiling, ziplines, after dark ice skating and night tubing are all options. But if you’d prefer to spend your downtime sitting down, Bethel’s Gem Theater screens all the latest flicks and the Jordan Hotel Spa does everything from no-nonsense Swedish massages to maple sugar scrubs.

Best time to go

Best time to ski Sunday River

When is the best time to ski Sunday River?

Sunday River is serious about its snowmaking; topping up its average 151 inches a year with snow guns on 90% of its trails. Comprising the world’s largest high-pressure system, this spews out 9000 gallons of water a minute as fine, white snow and makes Sunday River the first resort in the east to open (often in early November). Fortunately, thanks to modest crowds and lots of north facing slopes, coverage has a reasonably long life. To play it safest, book a trip in the biggest snow month, March, which sees an average fall of 50 inches, or February, not far behind with 49.

Peak Dates

This resort loves Xmas so much, it starts the celebrations early, previously offering free lift tickets to skiers who’ve donned the old red suit at the beginning of December. Whether you’re waking up to presents in your own private condo or staying at a hotel for activities like ornament and cookie decoration, choose a Christmas in Sunday River to make sure “the most wonderful time of year” really is wondrous.

Just like its peaks, New Year in Sunday River comes in all shapes and sizes, whether you prefer themed dinner parties (reached by Chondola), live music and beers with a hundred new besties or enjoying photo booths, inflatable sumo suits, and fire dancers with the family.

All the slopeside accommodation means none of your precious minutes are wasted getting to and fro on a Half Term in Sunday River, and the superfast lift system means you can watch the miles rack up – the extra time it takes to get here is a shrewd investment. And kids can’t get enough - with beginner bliss in the South Ridge area, hours of fun with Eddy the Yeti, and everything from arcades to ziplines.

With annual Easter egg hunts and special brunches throughout the mountain restaurants, we love Easter in Sunday River. And with one of the most advanced snowmaking systems in the US, coverage is rarely an issue.

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Families in Sunday River

For learners, facilities on the snow include the Perfect Kid program for young skiers aged from 3, and snowboarders from age 7. In recent years, they’ve had 'floating teachers' moving between classes to make sure all are getting the attention they need.

Eddy the Yeti and girlfriend Betty are also always putting in appearances to give encouragement, and they have a special home in the Enchanted Forest trail on North Peak that skiers and snowboarders can pay a call to throughout the week.

Thanks to the sheer variety of its terrain, pioneering ski school, and activities like ziplines, arcades, pools and cinema trips, Sunday River scores full marks from skiing families, many of whom make it their annual getaway. If your young ones are comfortable with blue runs, planning and executing an epic journey around the 8 peaks really is a bonding experience like no other. You can even book family dinners with Eddy, so that the kids get facetime with the furry fellow.

If some of your brood are too young for the slats, this resort has 3 different day care centres, catering for kids aged 6 weeks to 6 years.

Off the slopes, make some memories and spend quality time night tubing, skating or ziplining through the tree tops. Keep your nose to the ground for even more organised fun. Black Diamond Entertainment is always running special fireworks shows, laser tag competitions, even reptile shows just for the heck of it.

GroupsGroup Holidays Sunday River

With runs across 8 peaks of all different shapes and sizes and the largest collection of ski-in/ski-out accommodation in the East, Sunday River shows groups all of abilities a good time and makes for a week of extremely productive skiing and riding. On days the floodlights are turned on, nothing beats skiing all the way till 8 followed by a blowout at the Foggy Goggle.

Each week has its own theme and festival in Sunday River, so be sure to check out what’s going on during yours. As if they needed more incentive, groups of 20 or more have often seen discounts on lift tickets, and added extras like free tickets or packages for group leaders.

Whoever’s in charge of the itinerary, don’t miss the live bands at Rockin’ and Roastin’ Café, a new addition from Aerosmith drummer, Joey Kramer, or the food, fun and 8 glass microbrew “sliders” down in historic Bethel.

Images from Sunday River Resort.

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