NEWRY and CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine — Strong season pass sales, momentum brought by new ownership, the longest season in the Northeast, a snowy winter in New England’s urban corridor and continued snowmaking enhancements combined to make Maine’s most popular winter destinations even more popular as Sugarloaf and Sunday River each tallied more skier visits than any other year in their history. The record seasons come during the first year as a member of the Boyne Resorts family.
“Sunday River was the first resort open in the East and Sugarloaf was the last resort to close for the season,” said Jim Costello, Director of Marketing and Sales at Sugarloaf and Sunday River. “Our snowmaking crews and continued investment in new snowmaking technology are why we’re able to offer over a ski season a week longer than the rest of the Northeast. It’s the first time Maine has been able to claim that title.”
In total Sugarloaf and Sunday River saw an increase of 21% in skier visitation over the previous season. The strength of the Canadian dollar was also important to the strong season as visitation to Maine’s two largest ski resorts from north of the border was up 27% over the previous season.
Sunday River opened on Halloween for one day and re-opened on November 8 for the season. Sugarloaf opened for the year on November 9 and remained open daily through May 5.
On the heels of the record season is the announcement by www.onthesnow.com that Sunday River was voted as the favorite resort in the Northeast by their readers. According to Mountain News, the website is the longest running and most visited snow sports portal on the Internet.
Sugarloaf tallied a season snowfall total of 224 inches and Sunday River recorded 211 inches. Each resort’s snowmaking technology are the primary reasons for the long season, with snowfall in New England’s urban corridor being a key motivator for visiting skiers and snowboarders who are inspired to head to the mountains by the snow in their yards. The heavy snow also enabled Sugarloaf to open the famed Snowfields in December and offer powder skiing on May 1.
A respite from major storms during the three key holidays periods of late December, Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and the Presidents’ Week allowed guests from all directions to travel easily to the Resorts.
“Maine has never been home to the longest season in the Northeast, until this year,” said Costello. “Our attention is turning to our summer capital improvements totaling nearly $20 million fueled by CNL Lifestyle Properties, along with our summer attractions like golf and mountain biking, but we’re also taking time to celebrate this achievement.”
New England Passes valid at Sunday River, Sugarloaf and Loon Mountain in New Hampshire for the 2008-2009 season are available now. The season passes offer retail savings and free or discounted skiing at Boyne’s western resorts including Big Sky in Montana.