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It’s about spring skiing-Sunapee is still great

Skiing Mount Sunapee on a Bluebird Day.
Skiing Mount Sunapee on a Bluebird Day.
©Stillman Rogers Photography 2013

I’m not one to say quit until the mountain side gets sloppy, and this ski season isn’t there yet. Spring skiing this year looks to be as good as it was in the 2012-2013 season and that means there are possibly three to four weeks of wonderful skiing left. I tried out Mount Sunapee today and it could hardly have been better.

The Snow making and grooming make the difference

The snow at Mount Sunapee today was better than any spring skiing in years. In spite of the bright sun and blue skies that provided views as far as Mount Washington to the north and five ski areas in Vermont to the west, there was no softening anywhere. From top to bottom the snow on Mount Sunapee was uniform. They called it loose granular, I call it loose granular over a firm but carve-able base. Good snow making and grooming over this difficult winter have left Sunapee with a superior base that will take it well into the spring. Ice check: very few anywhere on the mountain and those that I found were small, about a square foot or so and easy to avoid or simply ski over.

The Sunapee Sunbowl, squeaky great

In the past the Sunbowl at Mount Sunapee was the first part of the mountain to begin loosening but that has not happened this year. Today I tried just about everything in the Sunbowl area and found absolutely nothing to complain about. In the past, whenever I skied the Sunbowl the Williamson Trail was closed. Today it was open and I finally got to enjoy it. A long blue that runs the east border of the Sunbowl, it was beautiful and fun to ski. I found two small patches that were worn off but overall it was a joy, a bit narrower than other Sunbowl trails, longer and a bit more challenging. My first Sunbowl run was on the Wingding series and it was a blast, perfect snow, perfect grooming and bright blue skies.

The central mountain

One of the wonderful things about Sunapee is the central core of the mountain where just about all of the trails are blue or black and, of them, I love the Ridge series. Upper Ridge (and Outer Ridge) follow the mountain’s boundary in a twisting, turning, route with surprises everywhere. Here too, the snow was great, light granular on the surface and carve-able firmer stuff beneath. The same conditions existed on the Skyway Ledges, West Side and Byway, as well as on Bonanza and the series of trails that can be accessed from it. Skyway Ledges is a nice blue slope with some challenging spots and it takes you either back to the Sunapee Express lift to the peak or back to the Sunbowl Quad.

A special green spot for learners

One thing that learners dislike most is trying to learn in a spot where more experienced skiers zip though on their way back to the lift. Sunapee has one of the best separations on any ski area I have seen. It is an entirely separate area on a separate ridge of the mountain. A nice series of trails, with their own separate lift, provides long and enjoyable places to perfect newly acquired skills. Sunapee has an outstanding Learn to Ski program as well as an Adaptive Skiing Program.

Life is too short to let the joys of skiing and boarding die for the season without one (or several) more trips to the hills. Today at Mount Sunapee was positive proof that the great snow is still out there and it should not be missed.

Getting to Mount Sunapee

Mount Sunapee is one of the larger mountains within easy reach of the Greater Boston, Nashua and Manchester New Hampshire areas. Take I-93 north to the southern edge of Concord NH. At the junction take I-89 north (actually west) to Exit 9 for Route 103 toward Bradford. Continue on Route 103 when it crosses Route 114 at Bradford and continue on to the traffic circle at Mount Sunapee State Park, following the signs to the ski area. It will take about an hour and three-quarters to get there.

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