I had so much fun today. A few weeks ago, as I was browsing the Sugarloaf Mountain website for events, I learned that there was going to be a craft fair this weekend. If you aren’t familiar with Sugarloaf, I’ll tell you that it’s a gigantic ski mountain up here in Maine. It’s enormous and to prove it to you, I have some stats. It’s the second largest ski mountain east of the Mississippi at 1,230 acres, it’s got a vertical drop of 2,820 feet and it has 54 miles of marked trails. I know I took a few photos during our last visit, which didn’t portray the enormity of this resort, but hopefully today’s pictures will do it some justice.
Before I begin writing though, I want to tell you that I may have been bitten by the snowboarding bug once again. The last time I went was in 2001 and I only lasted a half hour because of fatigue. My calves just didn’t have it in them. I went with an 18 year old and he ran circles around me. How embarrassing, especially after my earlier snowboarding success during college in 1998. Back then, you couldn’t keep me off the mountains and while everyone else was inside taking a breaks and eating lunch, I was riding 90 miles per hour down whatever mountain we happened to be visiting that day. You couldn’t stop me. It’s a shame those times are over. I’ve enjoyed this sport across quite a few venues in New York, Massachusetts and Vermont.
While I may have been bitten by the bug, I doubt I’ll act on it. I don’t know why. I really should. I have friends up here who ski and snowboard that mountain every day and I could easily be with them, capturing tons of photos and video for this blog. I’ll have to think about it. We’ll see what happens. It’s just that after seeing the clear skies, the snow and breathing that cold air today, I’m exhilarated. It’s really something to feel that vibe at the mountain. Like I wrote in the title of this post, it’s pretty awesome. I mean, I only live 45 minutes away, so it’s a real possibility.
We were on a mission today. First and foremost, we needed to pick up some coffee at the Carrabassett Coffee Company. This place has the good stuff and they are set up right in Kingfield, which is slightly south of Sugarloaf. They have a small store at the front of the building with the remainder being committed to roasting and other things. It’s like we’re getting coffee straight from the factory.
Saturdays and Sundays are tough at the coffee factory. They close rather early, so the few times we’ve been in the area over the past year, we’ve missed out. Today though, we got up nice and early and hit the road. We had plenty of time to spare and rewarded ourselves with three pounds of some very dark roast. For me, with coffee and beer, the darker the better. Hopefully, it’ll last us a little while. Until we can get back up there, at least.
It’s so crazy feeling to drive into Sugarloaf. I swear I think I’ve been there during the winter in the past, but I might be mistaken. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the mountain in operation.
I’ll tell you, it’s nuts. There are shuttle buses running all over the place, people everywhere and snow makers running full blast. As you can see from the photo above, all that mist is the snow makers doing what they do.
Okay, so let me go through some photos here. I have a pretty good number of them and they’re all related. I’ll try to be as succinct as possible.
The shuttle bus dropped us off right near the entrance to the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel. The coolest part of this area is that one of the smaller chairlifts goes right through the buildings.
Here’s a photo of the entrance of the hotel. That steam you see is coming from a heated pool that’s right past that railing.
From the same spot, I turned around and snapped a photo of the area where the chairlift came from. The mountains in the background are part of the Bigelow Preserve.
I’m assuming one of those is Bigelow Mountain itself.
After we walked up the steps, we found ourselves at the base of the mountain, near the lodge. This is where everyone parks their skis while they go inside getting something to eat. There’s a lot of foot traffic in this area. We were actually standing around doing two things. We wanted to locate the craft fair as well as find a friend of mine who works in one of the stores. I took a few photos in this area.
For some reason, I think this building is a sugar shack. I got this idea from our last visit. I seem to remember some sort of maple syrup sign on the side of it the last time we where here.
There were tons of skis all over the place, especially in the rack. There were many just lying down in the snow as well. Sort of parked there for the time being. I don’t know about you, but I’d be a little freaked out by leaving my skis or snowboard just sitting around while I was inside grabbing something to eat. I wonder if anything ever gets stolen.
I think one of Sugarloaf’s primary businesses is their collection of condos. They are all over the place, scattered throughout the woods. I’m curious if one of them would be a good investment to rent out.
Since my friend did some carpentry work in the Burton store a while back, I thought he worked his regular job in there. We went in to ask around.
Unfortunately, he wasn’t up there. Apparently, he works a few stores away at the Downhill Supply Company. But since we were up on the second level, I decided to get some photos of the lodge.
A really cool feature of the lodge is their fire pit on the patio. There are chairs situated around it so you can relax and warm up. I’m sure this is very nice after it gets dark.
From the available evidence, I suspect the restaurant in the lodge is called The Widowmaker.
Maybe that’s the name of the lodge itself.
We went down to see my friend in the Downhill Supply store. We found him, but he was really busy. He did drop everything to hang out with us a bit though, which was really nice. He even gave us a tour and showed off some of his custom work. He did a lot, but this is all I got a picture of. This counter area is made out of real ash wood. He cut everything up and fastened each piece to some backing. That’s a genius idea, if you ask me.
This counter top was cut from old logs that were sunk in a lake up north a very long ago. Someone pulled them up and sold them. Jarrod cut them up and made these counter tops out of them. Another genius idea. They are really incredible to see in person.
As we were leaving, we saw a small holiday arrangement in the entryway. I sat down to rest my feet and to snap a photo.
And just in case you were wondering what the Downhill Supply Company sells, here it is. Googles, gloves, snowboards, poles, boots and everything else you’d need while visiting Sugarloaf Mountain. The place was packed, so they are very successful with what they’re doing.
The entrance to this store is located in a small alleyway, along with the entrances to a few other stores. There are restaurants and other types of retail establishments. I grabbed some photos of random signs merely because they looked interesting.
A few steps down, I also managed to get a shot of a small bridge that traverses a stream that flows through the buildings.
These next two photos represent quintessential skiing. I mean, I couldn’t leave the mountain without something like this.
After all of this, we made our way to the hotel, which we discovered the craft fair was in. It was up on the second floor and it was a bit hidden. Nevertheless, it was really nice and the vendors were selling some unique and interesting pieces. We didn’t get anything. Really, we rarely do. These things are just a reason to get out and go to the mountain. Perhaps if someone is selling some neat (cheap) little item, I’ll pick it up, but otherwise, I’m fine with just browsing around. I didn’t get any photos of the fair because it was so small. I’m not sure if the vendors would appreciate that.
On our way out, I took a few more photos (okay, a lot more). I narrowed the bunch down to these below. I think they’re fairly obvious, but I’ll give a blurb about each one because that’s just the way I am.
This is a beautiful photo of the sun shining high over Sugarloaf Moutain.
Next up is some mist from the snow makers in the background. These people are waiting in line for one of the larger quad chair lifts.
Here are a few skiers on one of the chairlifts heading up the mountain.
This is a woman doing what’s called the snowplow. I picked that term up back when I was 19 during my very first skiing experience. I did a lot of the snowplow.
And here’s a young man slowing down on his snowboard. He’s almost at the bottom of the hill.
The mountain doesn’t look that big until you see tiny little people skiing down it. At that point, things become clear. It’s a big mountain.
Finally, as my last photo, I have some more small people skiing under the chairlift fairly far away. I had to zoom in all the way to get this one.
I just love that snow in the background. It looks so fierce.
Well, that’s all I have for today. I hope you enjoyed this post about our adventure up at Sugarloaf Mountain today. We had a lot of fun. Until next time. Thanks for reading!