The AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge was designed to provide a method for our forum members to get official answers to skiing-related questions directly from a ski area representative. Sue Liston, Marketing Manager of Mount Sunapee in Newbury, New Hampshire, took the AlpineZone Ski Area Challenge and provided the following responses on 9/28/2004:
Tin Woodsman: Thanks for taking our questions. Can you provide some details on the proposed expansion to the west flank of Mt. Sunapee in terms of vertical, trails (number and types), lifts, lodges, etc…?
Sue Liston: Our expansion plans, if approved, are 4-5 top-to-bottom trails and one high-speed quad chairlift. The West Bowl expansion would create intermediate to advanced intermediate level runs for a total of around 75 acres of skiing and riding.
Tin Woodsman: Are there any plans (if only long-term) for further terrain expansion elsewhere on the mountain? Say, the east side of the Sun Bowl beyond or around Williamson?
Sue Liston: No, we won’t be expanding to the east or the south past the Williamson trail.
Tin Woodsman: Any chance of a simple people mover between the two lodges down at the base?
Sue Liston: We currently have two shuttle buses in continuous operation that transport our guests on the Spruce Lodge-South Peak beginner area-Sunapee Lodge loop.
First off, I think the new owners have done an outstanding job updating Sunapee in the last few years, and it’s now the most underrated mountain in New England (let’s keep it our secret, OK?).
ChileMass: That said, even the big new lodge can’t come close to handling the lunch crowd on almost any weekend, especially during the holidays. Any plans to expand further? Or should I just avoid the new lodge and go down to the old lodge exclusively?
Sue Liston: We designed the new Sunapee Lodge with the ability to construct two wings off the center octagon, which would greatly expand the lodge’s seating and services.
ChileMass: Snowmaking has also been improved, but it seems like a lot of trails still need to get hooked up. What’s the plan to expand snowmaking, especially on the lower half of the mountain?
Sue Liston: The only lower mountain trails that presently don’t have snowmaking are Elliot Slope off the Spruce chair; Dare Ya and Double Dare Ya off the Beck Brook trail (these two are glades); and Spinnaker an Paradise in the South Peak beginner area.
Zand: Are there any plans to put in a faster Sunbowl lift? The Sunbowl serves some of the best terrain and sometimes it’s a pain taking the near 10 minutes ride back out.
Sue Liston: We are planning on installing a high-speed quad lift in the Sunbowl in the future.
Zand: I noticed a small wooden wall at the top of Blast Off last year. It left a narrow opening to get onto the trail, making the first quarter of the headwall very icy. What is the reason for this wall? (It may be gone by now, this was in December.)
Sue Liston: This area of Upper Ridge was widened by 100% – previous to the 2003-04 season it used to be very narrow – half of its current width! This allows the beginner to intermediate skiers and riders a more comfortable access to the Ridge Trail.
Greg: Some Northeast mountains such as Loon use standard grooming equipment to “make” very evenly spaced mogul fields on intermediate terrain. Jiminy Peak is also planning to offer “man-made” moguls this season. Does Sunapee have the capacity to do this and is it something you’ve considered?
Sue Liston: We were one of the first to use this method of creating moguls. We have made our moguls this way for the last 6 years. Upper Flying Goose off the North Peak chair, Lift Line under the Sun Bowl chair, and at the bottom of Lower Hansen Chase are all man-made mogul runs.
Greg: Do you have any plans to open a forum or chat room on your website? Do you read web forums like AlpineZone.com? If so, do you ever want to reply to posts about Sunapee or other ski areas?
Sue Liston: No, we have no plans to open a forum on our site but do have one on RSN’s website. We are happy to answer any questions or concerns by our guests via e-mail.
Greg: Are there any infrastructure improvements/upgrades planned, e.g. lifts, snowmaking, base/summit facilities, etc.?
Sue Liston: Our 5-Year Master Plan describes improvements we envision for the next 5-10 years at Mount Sunapee. Many of the improvements are as described above: expand the Sunapee Lodge (and Summit Lodge also), new Sunbowl Express Quad, expanded snowmaking, and if approved, the West Bowl Quad and ski trails.