AlpineZone Challenge 2005 – Sue Liston of Mount Sunapee

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 7/5/2005:

ctenidae: The question on everyone who’s been paying attention to Sunapee’s mind has to be, “How are the expansion plans coming along?” Without damaging your case with the state, how do you feel about the progress made on approval so far?

Sue Liston: The Mount Sunapee 5-year Master Development Plan is a requirement of our Lease Agreement with the State of NH, and is a long term land use plan for the future of Mount Sunapee. We remain committed to our plans to add a new express quad chairlift and 75 acres of ski trails in the West Bowl area of the mountain.

hammer: Are there any plans to add night skiing?

Sue Liston: Not at this time.

awf170: What is that really small trail/glade in between Upper Blast Off and Upper Ridge? If it is not an official glade, have you considered making that area an official glade? It is a large area with an excellent pitch for one.

Sue Liston: This is a very small area which is closed to skier/rider traffic for safety concerns due to skiers emerging from this area into skiers on Upper Ridge.

thetrailboss: I enjoyed visiting Sunapee in March 2004, and Ms. Trailboss really enjoyed the cruisers, but I yearned for more good expert terrain (bumps, steeps, trees, etc). Any plans to add such terrain?

Sue Liston: The prevailing gradient of Mount Sunapee is mostly intermediate ski terrain and it’s difficult to cut a new steep trail when there is limited steep topography. We have added bump trails and gladed trails to increase variety and difficulty levels.

awf170: What is with the large rollers/waves on the main trails they seem very dangerous because you cannot see anyone below you. Are they supposed to slow people down, and if that is the case I do not think they do. I just think they make the trails dangerous.

Sue Liston: These terrain features are designed to add variety to trails, and are not designed to slow people down. They should be skied at speeds within the skill level of the skier/rider for their enjoyment.

ctenidae: Is there any chance of the Goosefeathers Pub getting a bigger kitchen?

Sue Liston: This is planned for the future when the Spruce Lodge has a major renovation.

salida: I was at the Sunapee for one of my sibling’s state High School race finals. I must applaud you for their race course, the pitch and rhythm of the course was superb. However, while at Sunapee, I ran into many unhappy employees and supervisors, especially the Sunapee affiliated race employees. They were on a tear, particularly with the racers and their families. It was like the Sunapee Gestapo… I used to enjoy Sunapee for their friendly employees, low crowds, cheap tickets, and overall good atmosphere, but much of this has seemed to change, with crowded slopes, steep ticket prices, grumpy employees, and a gentrified atmosphere. Are there any plans for Sunapee to return its roots, the roots that made Sunapee popular in the first place?

Sue Liston: Thanks for bringing the race employee concerns to our attention so that we can review this with appropriate staff members. We have always strived to provide the best quality snowmaking and grooming on our ski trails, and friendly guest service at Mount Sunapee. We will continue to do so in the future.

awf170: I used to ski at Sunapee a lot but I’ve noticed in my recent visits both last year and this year that you groom everything after a good snowfall (foot+). Because of this, I’ve avoided skiing your mountain. So my question why do you groom so much, even with fresh snow? Have you considered allowing some trails to get bumped up?

Sue Liston: We generally do not groom the steeper trails such as Lynx, Upper Flying Goose, Upper Wingding & Middle Wingding. It is necessary to groom because on the intermediate gradient trails with more than 12″ of snow you oftentimes cannot generate enough speed to not bog down in the powder. Also, know that we get far more complaints because we did not groom those trails. The trails that are groomed will bump up naturally during the course of the day and people will complain that they were not groomed even though they were groomed.

ctenidae: Last season, you told us that you had plans for a high speed lift in the Sunbowl. Can you tell us what the timeframe is for this lift?

Sue Liston: We have approval in our Master Development Plan to upgrade the Sun Bowl chair lift to a high speed quad chair lift, and we hope to do so within the next 5 years.

thetrailboss: Have you had pressure to lower your season pass rates to match the stiff competition that the American Skiing Company is giving you with their “All for One” pass promotion? One thing that some ski areas is doing in response to this pass program is to ally with other regional resorts to offer season passes that are good at more than one resort. In order to bring more skiers and riders to Southern New Hampshire and to compete with ASC’s northern resorts, have you considered offering a special joint season pass that would be accepted at both Pats Peak and Crotched? I and many other people would really find this kind of pass convenient and an attractive option to driving further north to other resorts.
Sue Liston: We have a Season Pass program with Okemo and Stratton as partners, and we are offering new products and more competitive pricing for the 2005-2006 ski season. We also have a college pass with Gunstock and Cannon.

To view forum comments on this Challenge and the Challenge Results, please visit the following page: width=