Sunday River

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  • 133 Tracks
  • 0 Beginner
  • 28 Intermediate
  • 43 Difficult
  • 62 Expert

Sunday River, located in the north eastern corner of the US New England area, in the state of Maine, is a remarkable resort with a significance unique to ski resorts worldwide. Opened by residents of the neighbouring town of Bethel in 1958 it was operated through the 1960s by a group of locals as a minor ski hill. In 1972 it was bought by the then owners of east coast giant Killington. The resort didn't expand greatly during the '70s but it did come under the management of Leslie B Otten who in 1980 bought the resort from his employers and decided to go it alone.

At that time resorts were spending heavily on flashy facilities but Otten concentrated on building up his snow making, snow quality and a good trail system, ploughing back profits in to new facilities and then 'riding the real estate boom' of the mid 1980s. Since 1983 more than $136 million has been spent on Sunday River, largely self-financed spending, including dramatic expansion of terrain which is now served by 18 lifts (13 of them quads, an improvement on the 1 chair and four surface lifts Otten began with). Lodging now extends to 6000 beds on the mountain, almost all of them slopeside.

There are many reasons for Sunday River's success and it is no doubt a combination of all. Some like the laid back feeling of Maine, untainted still by the 'big city suburbs' feel that infects and for some detracts from many of New England's other famous resorts in Vermont and New Hampshire - it's possible to ski and stay at Sunday River without having the fact that you're in one of the world's top ski areas constantly rammed down your throat.

Of more practical importance there is the Perfect Turn learning technique which the resort has franchised out and many other resorts have just ripped off with something similar. Then of course there's the snow-making, the world's largest high-pressure system which is being eternally improved and expanded and is currently capable of converting 9000 gallons of water a minute in to snow. If any further evidence is needed that Sunday River is doing something right somewhere, there is the fact that it is the 'home resort' and the starting point of the American Skiing Company, controlled by Mr B J Fair.

Having built up Sunday River and purchased two or three other major New England resorts, Otten launched a new company in 1997 and bought up his former bosses to take over Killington and control of half a dozen other resorts. At its height around 2000 his empire extended west to take in Steamboat in Colorado, Heavenly in California and a small resort by the 2002 Olympic town of Park City in Utah. However by 2007 a financial downturn that had seen Otten's departure several years earlier, the company was back down to three resorts.

Amenities

  • Dog friendly
  • Grooming
  • Handicap Parking
  • Night Skiing
  • Private Ski School
  • Ski Rentals
  • Ski School
  • Ski Shop
  • Snowmaking
  • Snowpark
  • Terrain Park
  • Wi Fi