State of the Mountain: Heading into the Holidays

What a wild week it has been for the northeastern ski industry. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or really big umbrella), you’re likely fully aware of the monsoon-like event that rolled through the northeast last week. Flooding, washouts, and everything else that comes with multiple inches of rainfall combined with an already frozen and snowy ground left many of us once again scrambling to rebound. Some ski areas saw significant damage to their infrastructure. Sugarbush, luckily, did not. The rain did, however, do a number of on our snowpack. Over the last week we’ve been in full bounce back mode. So consider thesis of this blog post: recovery.

Mountain Operations

Let’s focus on the positives. While we did close most of our natural terrain, the hard work of our snowmaking team has left us with a strong number of trails and acreage considering the recent rain event. In fact Sugarbush is at or near the top in trail count, total acreage, and even park features compared to the competition.

Now with Mt. Ellen up and running for it’s 60th Anniversary Season (congrats to all who came out yesterday and got their free hats and cowbells!), we have 41 open trails and 217 acres of terrain as of Saturday morning. Snowmaking has been hard at work with a dual strategy of expanding and refreshing. But remember how I said we didn’t see any infrastructure damage? That’s only partially true. The flooding actually caused the Mad River to flood into our Lincoln Peak Snowmaking Pond a bit, leaving in its wake a significant amount of silt. That silt can do serious damage to our snowmaking infrastructure over time, but it’s a cost we’ve been incurring in order to keep improving the on-mountain product. We’re not currently able to run at full capacity because of this, but we’re doing everything we can to make as much snow as possible.

At Lincoln Peak, snowmakers have been finishing up Organgrinder and have touched up parts of Jester, Lower Organgrinder, Coffee Run, Murphy’s Glades, Birdland, Easy Rider, and the base area. They have now shifted efforts towards Snowball, Lower Snowball, Spring Fling, and Racer’s Edge. At Mt. Ellen they’ve been focused on Rim Run, Lower Elbow, and Straight Shot and are now moving to Sugar Run with Northstar likely the next stop after that. All scheduled lifts are also operating normally with the exception of North Ridge, which is still receiving repairs after multiple lightning strikes this summer. We hope the lift can reopen next week, but keep an eye on the snow report for updates there.


To complement the on-mountain product, our events team has loaded up a ton of parties, activities, live music, and other experiences to keep you and the whole family entertained through the holidays. You’ll find things like stargazing, magicians, fireworks, dancing, après bands and more. Scroll through the events calendar and you won’t be disappointed. You can also grab a holiday flyer from Guest Services at either mountain to see a full list of events of hours.

New Offerings

On top of that we’re also excited about several other new or improved offerings we have. At the Sugarbush Health & Recreation Center, we’ve installed three new “Sim Suites”: sports simulators packed with over 30 games from golf to soccer to zombie dodgeball. I got to try them out a couple days ago and they’re an absolute blast. You can rent these by the hour and drinks and snacks are available for purchase. Learn more and reserve your timeslots here. Or you can learn more from

this blog post.

Additionally, our new container bar has landed in the Lincoln Peak Courtyard. Johnny and crew are out there slinging drinks and dogs throughout the holidays, so come check out the new space while soaking in a few sunny rays. The Umbrella Bar, which was previously in that location has now been moved to the Gate House Upper Patio. You’ll also probably notice that The Lunch Box is a new food truck. So what happened to the old one? Well, we brought it up to Walt’s at the Glen House over at Mt. Ellen and turned it into that building’s kitchen. That upgrade allows us to now expand the menu offerings up at Walt’s, which alongside the renovations the lodge received, has it being a must visit location while over there.

We’ve also made the decision to begin locking that building when the restaurant isn’t open, downstairs included, as we were often finding it in a poor state when left open after hours. So plan accordingly when skiing that if the restaurant isn’t open you’ll need to head to the base for bathrooms or to warmup.

Finally, you’ll notice a number of new displays around both mountains. Check out the 60th Anniversary installations like the two big posters outside of the Mt. Ellen Base Lodge or the 60th wrap of the Inverness Quad. The Gate House Lodge has a new display from our #MySugarbush Campaign lining the stairs up to the cafeteria with content you all submitted to us. The Rumble’s Bistro and Bar Lobby now has a gorgeous display of artwork from one of our incredible partners in Mad River Valley Arts.

All in all it’s been impressive to see our team put the mountain back together after such a reckless rain storm just in time for the holidays. We will continue to refresh and expand terrain as snowmaking temperatures allow, and hopefully we’ll see some natural snowfall to pair with it. In the meantime, enjoy yourselves out there, be courteous to your fellow guests and staff, and enjoy one of the many new events and offerings we have this season.

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