The first day of the ski season is special, no matter what the circumstances are. By circumstances, I mean seeing a lukewarm fall in New England, while being tortured by seeing Western North America get a myriad of snow storms that have led to the early openings of many major ski resorts. About two weeks ago, the East Coast finally got a large opening for snowmaking efforts, and many ski resorts got the lifts spinning.
I decided to start my 2022-23 season off at Mount Sunapee in Newbury, New Hampshire, which was my home mountain for much of my childhood. Mount Sunapee had its share of issues last year. With it being one of the closest ski resorts to Epic Pass holders in the Boston region, the crowds came in droves. Bumper-to-bumper traffic and long lift lines were a consistent part of the weekend experience.
Over the offseason, Sunapee addressed these issues by improving their communication on social media, making snowmaking enhancements, and hiring more staff in critical departments. The result was its earliest opening in five years, and staffing shortages not being a concern when I was there.
Opening Weekend Vibes ❄️❄️❄️ Many more weekends like these are on the way! pic.twitter.com/jl3sYecYX5
— Mount Sunapee (@MtSunapeeResort) November 28, 2022
Their opening week setup was different from what it was in the prior season. Typically, they start off with Upper and Lower Blastoff open. This season, they have started their winter off with the first half of Bonanza, taking two separate routes to Westside. It then merges over to Toboggan Chute, which then commences over at Lower Blastoff. Sunapee also has set up a small terrain park right next to the base terminal of the Sunapee Express.
It’s a bit of a wonky layout, but I think that it works pretty well. It gives skiers multiple areas to stop in order to not interfere with traffic, which helps with crowding issues that were typical on Upper-Lower Blastoff.
Overall, I was pretty happy with my first day of the season at Sunapee. The top to bottom route they had open was well covered, and there was practically no ice, which is an east coast rarity. I think there are some challenges ahead of them due to our crappy weather pattern coming up, but that’s obviously not their fault.
Now please excuse me while I pray to Ullr for snow.
Image/Video Credits: Mount Sunapee, Ian Wood of Unofficial Networks