One of Maine’s biggest and most visited ski resorts, Sunday River has 870 skiable acres across eight peaks and includes six terrain parks and a superpipe, as well as 300 acres of tree skiing near the town of Bethel in the Western Mountains.
A sister resort to Sugarloaf, Sunday River is also notable for having its levels of difficulty spread equally into thirds for beginners, intermediate and advanced/expert skiers and snowboarders – the definition of “something for everyone.”
Sunday River has a summit elevation of 3,140 ft. and a vertical drop of 2,340 ft. – the second largest drop in the state after Sugarloaf. The area gets about 155 inches of snowfall annually and snowmaking covers 92 percent of the terrain here. The longest run is three and a half miles. Sunday River does offer night skiing from two chairlifts that continue operating from 4 to 8 p.m. Tubing and cross-country skiing and snowshoeing is also and option.
Sunday River has a Ski & Snowboard School with private and group lessons for adults, teens and children, and an adaptive ski program is available here. There is a ski and snowboard rental operation in the South Ridge Lodge. There are also two additional rental shops on Sunday River Road, coming up to the resort. Sunday River is an Ikon Pass destination. Both slopeside dining and lodging are available at Sunday River.
The season at Sunday River usually runs from the first week of November, sometimes until May, depending on the conditions. Sunday River has consistent conditions through the season, but some note that March and April are prime times to ski here, with substantial snowpack and the added bonus of higher temperatures and fewer people.
Sunday River also has Kids Ski Free Weeks from January 1-4; January 7-11; and March 25-29 – an added bonus for families.
There are a number of lodging options here – even a youth hostel for those coming into town on a budget. Located slopeside, The Grand Summit Hotel has 230 guest rooms, some with kitchens, as well as easy access to skiing and a hot tub and fitness center. The Snow Cap Youth Lodge offers backpacker accommodation with access to game rooms and a full kitchen and living area – great for school groups or large families looking for the most affordable way to hit the slopes. With views to the resort’s western peaks, the Jordan Hotel has 187 guest rooms, from standard rooms to three-bedroom suites, at its slopeside location. Stay and Ski Packages are available here if booked through the Sunday River resort ( www.sundayriver.com ).
From sushi to beef sliders, Sunday River has no shortage of variety for hungry skiers and snowboarders, both on the mountain and in the surrounding area. For Japanese and Korean cuisine, try Cho Sun in the South Ridge Lodge – menu items include hot Guksu bowls or rainbow raw tuna sushi with eel and whitefish. The Mountain Room at Peak Lodge has small plates, craft beers and signature drinks on a sun-drenched deck, for guests coming off the slopes, an eatery designed by Portland, Maine restaurateur Harding Lee Smith. For upscale pub fare with a view, take off your skiis at Sliders, inside the Jordan Hotel, just off the Lolapolooza Trail. Offerings include Maine Poutine and butternut squash bisque or truffle ravioli.
By air, the closest airport is Bethel Regional Airport, though most guests would want to fly into either Boston’s Logan International Airport, a major U.S. hub, or the smaller Portland International Jetport in Portland, Maine. From these airports, shuttles and car rental services are available.
Driving, Sunday River is about 90 minutes from Portland and three hours from Boston.
Once at Sunday River, there is a resort shuttle that provides regular service between the base lodges and local accommodation. Taxi services are also available in Sunday River.