After a record-breaking winter that set all-time records for skier-visits and revenue, Sugarloaf announced nearly $3 million in capital investment today, including new snowmaking technology, continued terrain expansion, and a new 30-person outdoor hot tub at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel.
The offseason investment is part of the Sugarloaf 2020 Ten-Year Road Map, which outlines the resort’s ten-year vision for development. Since the vision was first unveiled in 2010, the resort has seen numerous upgrades and improvements, including more than 500 acres of new terrain, a new quad chairlift, massive upgrades to its snowmaking system, a new irrigation system for the Sugarloaf Golf Club, new restaurants and food options, and upgraded facilities throughout the resort.
Of the $2.9 million in improvements for this summer, the largest piece will go toward 200 new low-energy HKD SV10 Impulse snowguns, the most advanced energy-efficient snowmaking technology on the market. The snowguns, manufactured by Snow Economics Inc. / HKD Snowmakers, are able to produce the same amount of snow as a traditional snowgun, while using 30-40 percent less compressed air.
In 2012, with the help of a $300,000 grant from Efficiency Maine, Sugarloaf invested $1 million in the HKD low-e guns and was able to produce more snow than previous years, while using nearly 10 percent less electricity. The difference was particularly noticeable in the early-season (November and December) where Sugarloaf nearly doubled its snowmaking capacity. The new guns are able to produce snow at higher temperatures than older technology with just a fraction of the energy, and as a result, the resort enjoyed itsearliest opening date in six years on November 9, 2012.
“These guns were really a game changer for us,” John Diller, Sugarloaf General Manager said. “Historically we have been limited to making snow during times when temperatures were 20 degrees or lower. With this new technology we were able to make very high quality snow even when it was as warm as 28 degrees. During the first few weeks of November, that can mean the difference between being open and being closed.”
The new snowguns will be installed on several different trails, including Narrow Gauge, Scoot, Gondola Line, Ramdown, and Widowmaker. Several of the new guns will be mounted on sleds, allowing snowmakers to transport them to strategic locations around the mountain.
Elsewhere on the resort, the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel will see a new $240,000, 30-person outdoor hot tub, which will be paid for by the Sugarloaf Mountain Condominium Center Association (SMCCA) and Sugarloaf. The new hot tub will be located on the eastern side of the hotel, between the hotel and the Sawduster chairlift. Construction has already begun, and is expected to be completed by late summer.
“We’re extremely excited about the new hot tub,” Karl Strand, Sugarloaf Vice President of Lodging said. “A water element is really a necessary amenity for a signature property like the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, and with its location right in the heart of the resort, it’s sure to become an iconic Sugarloaf attraction.”
Work will also continue on Sugarloaf’s terrain expansion onto Burnt Mountain this summer, as glade cutting crews begin to work their way up toward the higher elevations on the northern face of the mountain. Since the terrain expansion began in 2010, Sugarloaf has added over 500 acres of new, backcountry-style terrain, making it the largest ski area east of the Rocky Mountains.
The terrain expansion is designed to offer skiers and riders a taste of the backcountry experience, with the safety of inbounds, patrolled terrain. The expansion features gladed terrain in remote areas that require traversing or hiking to access. (A glade refers to an area where trees have been thinned, not cleared, as on a traditional trail). Last winter Sugarloaf opened the newest piece of the Burnt Mountain expansion, the Eastern Territory, which took skiers and riders on a backcountry-style adventure more than a mile away from the original resort trail network.
In addition to these larger projects, the resort will also install a new, larger snowmaking pipe on the Gondola Line trail to increase water capacity, and will widen the existing West Mountain trail to allow ski-racing programs to utilize it for training purposes.
In the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, the new 45 North restaurant will see an expansive, $200,000 kitchen renovation, and in the Sugarloaf Base Lodge a number of areas will receive upgrades, most notably the children’s learn-to-ski area, which will be refurbished and remodeled.
For more information on Sugarloaf, please visit www.sugarloaf.com.