Sunday River is a large ski area that spans seven peaks across Barker Mountain in the Mahoosuc Mountain Range. The resort spans 870 acres and has a maximum vertical drop of 2340 feet. The seven peaks (and their individual verticals) are White Cap (1630 feet), Locke Mountain (1460 feet), Barker Mountain (1400 feet), Spruce Peak (1500 feet), Aurora Peak (1100 feet), Oz (1100 feet), Jordan Bowl (1490 feet), and North Peak (1000 feet). Each peak is serviced by its own lift and generally has its own base. There are five lodges spread out over the resort, with the primary nestled below White Cap, the peak farthest to the east. Average snowfall for Sunday River is 167 inches (4.2 meters), but this is supplemented during lean times by the 552 acres of snowmaking coverage. This coverage supplies enough to blanket 95 percent of the named trails.
The Peaks and Trails
The different peaks all have their own mix of trails and difficulties. There are 15 total lifts that service Sunday River that are capable of taking 15,000 skiers per hour up the mountain. There is one high-speed chondola, four high-speed quads, five standard fixed quads, three triples, a double, and one surface carpet lift. There are 135 named trails and glades, with 41 (30 percent) rated beginner, 48 (36 percent) rated intermediate, 24 (18 percent) rated advanced, and 22 (16 percent) rated expert.
Beginner skiers should stick with North Peak to start. This area is focused on family skiing and virtually the entire mountain is an enforced slow zone. The exception is an expert steep and glade that follows the path of the North Peak Express high-speed quad chair. Every peak, with the exception of White Cap, has a beginner rated trail that leads down, allowing novice skiers to experience every peak at Sunday River.
Intermediate skiers can find trails on every peak but North Peak and Oz. Favorites include the tree lined groomed steeps off of Jordan and the long Northern Lights trail that pops off from Aurora Peak. Spruce Peak has two trails that are great groomers, Risky Business, and American Express.
Advanced and expert skiers are going to find something for them on White Cap, Locke, and Barker. Barker in particular has a double black steep that travels right under the high-speed quad. There’s also a race arena accessible from Barker and Locke that is right next to Monday Mourning. For some really tricky terrain, hit White Cap. The steeps and glades here are as tough as you’ll find on the East Coast. White Heat has the steepest pitch, and the glade Chutzpah is sure to challenge.
For glade skiers, when it comes to Sunday River, nothing is off limits. If you see trees and you can make a line through them, you can ski them. While there are over 300 acres of developed glades, Sunday River makes a point to advertise that there is boundary-to-boundary access for their trees.
There are six terrain parks that range from basic progression to gnarly including an 18-foot Superpipe. The most extreme park can be found on Barker near the base.
Sunday River is a full-fledged destination resort, which means you’re going to run into some crowds. There are many townhouses and condominiums that are slopeside and plenty of them have great views of the slopes. So if you happen to yard sale on a run, you’re probably going to hear about it in the lodge later. The apres-ski activities at Sunday are also intense. There’s the Matterhorn Ski Bar, which is as rowdy as they come. There are also quieter venues, like the Phoenix Bistro, the Foggy Goggle, and four ski lodges. Whether you’re after drinks, live music, or quiet conversation, there’s something for you here. Sunday River is one of those ski resorts that everyone should visit at least once. The locals are friendly, the snow is great, and the skiing is some of the best in the East.