2018/2019 Ski Day 4: Sunday River

At the end of a full day at Loon, I climbed back into the car for a 90 minute drive north and then east to Bethel, ME. I dropped my skis off at Great American for an overnight tune and headed to the Briar Lea Inn to claim my room for the night.

I dined on a nice beef vindaloo at their pub, had a well-deserved rest in a very warm room, and woke up to a sunny breakfast.

Happy breakfast

At 8:00 AM I checked out, collected the skis, and headed to Sunday River @sundayriver for the first time this season.

Like the day before, temperatures started out in the low single digits Farenheit and stayed there through the morning.

Moonset over American Express

That kept the crowds away, for the most part. Almost every lift was ski-on; the exception being Barker, where the singles line reached all of three deep at the peak.

Vortex was the ride of the day: guns blazing, soft bumps, steep pitch.

Guns on Vortex
Looking up Vortex

I managed to ski the entire day without repeating a single top-to-bottom route.

Atop Jordan Bowl before hitting Rogue Angel

Jordan Bowl was not quite in peak form; ice abounded. Rouge Angel edged out Excalibur.

Exhausted and with just a bit of regret, I ended the day at 3:00 PM to drive 3+ hours home in what little sunlight was left.

2018/2019 Ski Day 3: Loon

Yes, another day at Loon @loonmtn — but this time as a stop-over, on a mini @IkonPass roadtrip that would include Sunday River as well. I woke up to a 5:45 alarm, was in the car by 6:30, and on the mountain shortly after 8:30.

It was the coldest day so far for me this season (single digits F): I added an extra layer on top and went with glove liners under mittens for the hands. That was just about right for the first half of the day.

Loon is now open edge-to-edge, from North Peak to South Peak. After a gondi ride up to Loon Peak and a short ski down to the Tote Road transverse lift, I took an easy trip down Boom Run to get reacquainted with South Peak territory. Next lap I hit Twitcher, which was in surprisingly good shape after Friday’s r*!n. From the lift, Ripsaw looked just as good, but was roped off. Another run down Cruiser, just ’cause, and back on the Tote Road to Loon Peak.

Angel Street, which had skied pretty well when I was last here in November, was now a skating rink. A group of tween racers passed me as I picked my path down, yelling at their coach: “You found the iciest trail on the mountain!”

Then to North Peak for an early lunch at Camp III.

Camp III’s signature dish: venison stew

Venison stew, at last! (Oh, damn, I see now that I didn’t follow the rules of food photography.)

Upper Flume was closed. On skier’s left, huge snow-making whales stockpiled product reserved for the weekend. With enough speed coming down Haulback, one could summit the lowest of these.

Sampling the stockpiled product at the base of Upper Flume

Guns blasted Lower Flume, and steady skier traffic formed the snow into soft bumps. Fun stuff!

Under the guns on Lower Flume

I took another trek over the South Peak in the early afternoon, and discovered that the Ripsaw rope had dropped!

South Peak crossroads

Except for the 15% or so that was glare ice, it skied just fine, thanks. But one run there was enough.

Summary: a real mixed bag; i.e., classic New England skiing.