Sunday River closing day – a.k.a. Ski Maniac Day!

To round off my 4 day tour of "mountains too far" for my usual weekend jaunt (Cannon, Wildcat), I stayed behind on Monday after Easter to try the "free" closing day at Sunday River. I’ve heard horror story of ungodly long lift lines on the free day. But since this was on a Monday instead of a weekend day, I thought the madness might be a bit more tame. Though to be fair, it’s a MA holiday so I expected a somehow lively partying scene (which I quite enjoy).

Decided to avoid the morning rush, I got there around 10. Well… it’s a looooong walk from the car because the parking lot was full to the brim, and I had to park WAY WAY down the road.

Lift line wasn’t too crazy, just about 30 second wait, give or take. There were quite a bit of terrain available. 2 lifts (Barker Quad and Spruce lift). About 2/3 groomers and enough moguls to spread out about. There’s a good representation of different segment of skier population. Quite many families, not all hardcore skiers as one might expect. So there’s a relaxed atmosphere about. Actually not too many funky costume about.

Sun was out and the skiing was good.

Once the groomer got soft and chopped up, I moved to the bumps. The bumps under the lift look good enough, except the constant audience part. I spied the trail next to it was full of nicely spaced bumps and empty of people. And once in, it would be out of view of the chair riders. So I beeline to it. Unfortunately for me, I hit a bump slightly wrong, my binding pre-released right at the entrance. Plus some piece of ice got into the toe piece so it took me ages to clear it and step back in. All the while, everyone on the chair could see me and realized there’s that deliciously bumpy trail they overlooked. So by the time I got ready to go again, I found a good 20-30 people suddenly came out of nowhere and we were turning into each other every 2nd bump. Boy, was I "bumped"! 🙁

Now that my "open secret trail" was full of people, I decided to break for lunch. There was a BBQ going on and a musician playing some tune. Exactly the kind of apres scene I was looking forward to. Except there were so few table outside, it was still fully occupied (it’s 2 o’clock).

I was hot so sitting inside really doesn’t appeal. Plus, I really wanted to change into a lighter jacket which was still in my car. So I decided to walk down the hill to get it. Not feeling like walking the long way back up, I figure I should be able to find a parking spot close to the lodge this late in the afternoon since some people would have left by then. Well, others must have the same idea, or there were more people arriving late. Even though I could see people leaving but I couldn’t find a parking spot. 🙁

Not feeling like another long walk, nor finding any outside seating for lunch, I changed my mind and decided to call it a day. I’ve been skiing pretty full days for the previous 3 days, and it wasn’t like I paid lots $$ for the day’s ticket either. I had my fill of skiing soft pile of snow for now…

I like the scene on the closing day. Low key and relaxed. I just think the mountain lose out a lot of food & beverage income by not having enough outdoor sitting. They got a nice lodge. But on a warm sunny day, sitting outside was more appealing. And I bet a lot more people would have hung around longer buying beers and burgers, if they could find a places to sit.

I guess Sunday River specialize in early opening, but spring skiing isn’t really their thing…