Sugarloaf Sets Timeline, Trail and Lift Names for West Mountain Expansion
Mountain will cut West Mountain Double in half to serve massive new housing development
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When it’s firing, it’s the best skiing in New England. Twenty-eight hundred feet of true vertical. The best pure fall line skiing, besides Mt. Ellen at Sugarbush, in the East. Snowfields up top. Wild stuff off the back. Brackett Basin and Burnt Mountain humping off the east side, glades tangled hundreds of acres deep. Sugarloaf is the most remote major ski area in the Northeast. It’s worth the drive. A complex and interesting mountain, a true destination, an Ikon Pass anchor from day one.
But Boyne being Boyne, that’s not good enough. Three years ago, the Sugarloaf owner announced a 450-acre expansion for what is already the third-largest of the company’s 10 resorts. West Mountain would fill the vast woodlands between Windrow and the West Mountain Double chairlift, introducing more beginner and intermediate terrain, opening up a second potential base area, and adding more parking and on-mountain housing. It would be the centerpiece of the resort’s 2030 plan, served by a “high-speed, high-capacity lift.”
Today, Sugarloaf released a firm expansion timeline, along with trail and lift names and details on the real estate development. The basics:
The chairlift will be a 1,433-vertical-foot, 6,574-foot-long Doppelmayr high-speed quad with a 6:53 estimated ride time that loads below the current base area and unloads at Bullwinkle’s Restaurant. It will be dubbed “Bucksaw Express,” revitalizing the name of Sugarloaf’s first chairlift, Bucksaw, a Stadeli double that ran along the Windrow trail (skier’s left of Super Quad), from 1969 to 2015. This lift served Big Sky for 25 years as Swift Current, and will be completely rebuilt in the fashion of Loon’s old Kanc quad, which now serves that resort’s Seven Brothers line.
Sugarloaf will shorten the West Mountain double from its current to vertical rise of 1,275 feet to 565 feet. It will run 4,080 feet and empty onto a new trail called Yarder.
The expansion will add a dozen new trails, all with a lumberjack/logging theme. The trailmap is slightly different from the conceptual map that Sugarloaf released with their initial announcement.
The target opening date for the lift and new trails is February 2024, with logging beginning this month and lift installation taking place over the summer.
The real estate development, which will eventually include up to 224 new ski-in, ski-out housing units in the form of condos, duplex townhomes, and single-family lots, will begin with the sale of 20 lots early this year.
Here’s what the whole thing will look like:
And here, for context, is Sugarloaf’s current trailmap:
West Mountain is perhaps the most significant ski area expansion in New England since Sugarloaf itself opened the Brackett Basin and Burnt Mountain terrain a dozen-ish years ago (Waterville Valley’s 2016 Green Peak expansion will be an eventual gateway to the village on the other side of the mountain, and Black Mountain of Maine has clandestinely become one of the state’s largest ski areas with low key glade-by-glade buildouts). The new terrain pod underscores parent company Boyne’s commitment to ratcheting up the ski experience portfolio-wide, as it should relieve the frequently overburdened Super Quad and set that lift up for near-term replacement.
Here’s a bit more about the West Mountain expansion and what it means for Sugarloaf, the mountain’s skiers, and Boyne Resorts:
Below the paid subscriber jump: a full breakdown of Sugarloaf’s West Mountain project, surprise ski area comebacks in North Dakota and New Hampshire, what I saw in a week touring the Mid-Atlantic during a rain-out, and much more.