Snowmaking improvements, Village upgrades, new terrain and more to greet skiers in 2014/15 at Sugarloaf
CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine -When skiers and rides return to the slopes this winter, they will be greeted by some pretty big changes including upgraded snowmaking systems, a new state-of-the-art ski tuning machine, newly expanded terrain, and numerous resort and village enhancements.
The offseason projects are part of the ongoing Sugarloaf 2020 Ten-Year Road Map, which outlines the resort's ten-year vision for development. In the four years since the plan was introduced, the resort has seen numerous upgrades and improvements, including expansion onto more than 500 acres of new terrain, a new quad chairlift, massive upgrades to its snowmaking system, a new irrigation system for the Sugarloaf Golf Club, a custom 30-person outdoor hot tub at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, new restaurants and food options, and upgraded facilities throughout the resort.
Earlier this week, work began on a newly-designed and pedestrian friendly shuttle route in front of the base lodge that will eliminate vehicle traffic through the village, and simplify the shuttle process for guests.
The new route will feature a single pick up and drop off location for passengers as well as a bus-stop style shelter for guests to wait in. This represents the first phase in a series of upgrades intended to transform the Sugarloaf Village into a more pedestrian and guest friendly, classic resort village.
This summer, Sugarloaf invested $350,000 in snowmaking upgrades, which included 40 new low-energy HKD SV10 Impulse snowguns, the most advanced energy-efficient snowmaking technology on the market. The snowguns, manufactured by Snow Economics Inc. / HKD Snowmakers, produce the same amount of snow as traditional snowguns, while using 30-40 percent less compressed air.
Over the past three years, Sugarloaf has invested nearly $2 million in new snowmaking technology, adding more than 500 new low-energy snowguns to the fleet of snowmaking equipment. The new gear has allowed the resort to make more snow than ever before, while simultaneously reducing their associated energy use by 20 percent. These new snowguns now make up 90% of the snowmaking fleet.
"These guns have revolutionized the way we make snow," Danny Barker, Sugarloaf Director of Snow Surfaces said. "We're now able to produce more snow than ever before, while significantly reducing our energy consumption to do so."
Twenty of the new snowguns are being installed on Haywire this week, and the other half have been mounted on sleds, which will allow snowmakers to transport them to strategic locations around the mountain throughout the winter. 600 feet of new snowmaking piping has been installed on Slasher, which will enable snowmakers to make snow in the Wiffletree area earlier in the season, and larger snowmaking pipe has been installed along Tote Road that will increase water capacity, and allow simultaneous snow production on the trail and in the Haywire terrain park.
In addition to these larger projects, the resort has also widened the existing Peavey Crosscut to accommodate increased skier traffic, and upgraded its grooming fleet with the purchase of a new Prinoth BR 350 Sherpa winch cat, bolstering the existing fleet of 13 grooming machines.
Downhill Supply Company installed a new $180,000 Wintersteiger Mercury Tuning machine, which replaced outdated technology and will enhance the shop's tuning capacity. This new, automated machine has the ability to tune and service all types of skis and snowboards from race shape to all-mountain and rocker.
Wintersteiger is an industry leader in the ski tuning world, developing the most cutting edge technology that's both energy and economically efficient. Their new technology enables ski shops to maximize output, while minimizing their foot print, extending ski life, and even enhancing the skiers experience on snow. This new machine is the only one of its kind in the state of Maine
"We're extremely excited about the new tuning equipment," Steve Niezgoda Sugarloaf Director of Retail said. "This new, automated machine will help to streamline the tuning process and increase our tuning capacity in a fraction of the time it would take with older models. It's really remarkable, what this machine is able to do."
In support of the tuning and retail upgrades made at the Downhill Supply Company over the past few years, the shop also launched a new website this fall: www.downhillsupplycompany.com that features information about the latest offerings from the shop, and serves as the official online home for all Sugarloaf logo merchandise. The site also features a blog, where the shop staff provides updates on new sales, products, as well as tips on gear and tuning.
Elsewhere on the mountain, Sugarloaf's ongoing terrain expansion in Brackett Basin continues, where glade cutting crews are busy maintaining existing glades, and cutting a new, 10-plus acre, yet-to-be-named glade to the East of Slasher and Slasher 2. Since the terrain expansion began in 2010, Sugarloaf has added over 500 acres of new, backcountry-style terrain, making it the largest ski area east of the Rocky Mountains.
Trail crews have also been hard at work preparing Sugarloaf's fabled Narrow Gauge trail, which is set to host the country's best alpine ski racers, for the US Alpine Championships, March 25-29, 2015. This will be the first time the resort has hosted the event since 2008.
In addition to these projects Sugarloaf has also kept up with general resort and village enhancements, including a renovated lobby at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel paid for by the Sugarloaf Mountain Condominium Center Association (SMCCA), a new haul rope on the Double Runner Chair, a fresh coat of exterior paint on various buildings in Village West, upgrades to the Sugarloaf Inn, and more.
For more information on all of Sugarloaf's offseason projects, please visit www.sugarloaf.com.
Sugarloaf Communications Manager