While it’s not the first in New England, Sugarloaf‘s new catskiing experience will likely be the best on the east coast if you don’t include The Chic Chocs.
Starting this year, Sugarloaf will offer guests a cat ride to the top of Burnt Mountain, an area used to only be accessible via snowshoes or ski touring. The added service will provide a more adventurous guest experience for those visiting the Maine ski area over the coming years.
“This type of inbounds cat skiing is an experience only offered by a handful of resorts in the country – as New England’s first true cat skiing operation, Sugarloaf is the only resort in New England where you’ll find such a thrill.”
As of now, Sugarloaf diehards are split on the improvement. Some think it ruins the hike-to attitude that requires respect and instead puts novices in terrain that may be outside their ability. Others think the snowcat service will provide an element of adventure not typical at most New England ski resorts.
About Burnt Mountain Catskiing
Burnt Mountain Cat Skiing is Sugarloaf’s newest winter experience, offering adventurous skiers and snowboarders access to the deep powder and rugged steep terrain in the resort’s signature side country development like never before.
This type of inbounds cat skiing is an experience only offered by a handful of resorts in the country – as New England’s first true cat skiing operation, Sugarloaf is the only resort in New England where you’ll find such a thrill.
Q) Will this make the Burnt Mountain glades overcrowded?
A) It really won’t. The area on Burnt Mountain accessed by the cat is over 100 acres in size, including 12 acres of new terrain cut by our trail crew this summer. Also, there are only two cats running with seats for 12 people. Since they run every 20 minutes, it’s very likely that the first group of 12 will be out of sight before the next group arrives. Even on the busiest days, uphill capacity on cats will never be more than about 36-48 skiers per hour. By comparison, our t-bar has an uphill capacity of nearly 800 skiers per hour.
Q) Will this encourage people to ski beyond their ability level?
A) The safety of our guests is always our number one priority, which is why we do our best to make it clear that everyone is responsible for skiing and riding within their ability level. While the eastern-most glades are clearly for experts only, the terrain is not especially more difficult than some of the most accessible glades in Bracket Basin.
Q) Will the ‘earn your turns’ satisfaction of hiking to the Burnt Mountain summit be compromised?
A) We understand that skiing and riding from the summit of Burnt Mountain is a really special experience, in large part because of the effort it takes to get there. And that will still be an option. Hiking and skinning will be allowed, and we don’t expect it to be impacted by the addition of cat skiing. The cat will take a designated route (newly cut this summer) on the far eastern boundary. The cat will provide access to terrain east of Bracket Brook, but the summit of Burnt Mountain will still only be accessible by hiking or skinning, and none of the Brackett Basin terrain will be impacted at all.
Sugarloaf has a long tradition of dreaming big. And we believe that if we can get the most dedicated skiers and riders to the best terrain we can find, we should give it a try. There’s a lot of fun to be had in these mountains, and having one more option will make it better for everyone. See you out there, Sugarloafers.
Find out more here: Burnt Mountain Catskiing