The River, as it’s known to the locals, has 8 separate peaks. Together they offer some very diverse terrain. The resort is host to some wild events like the Red Bull Frozen Rush. 1,000 hp trophy trucks race on snow, right next to the trail in a head to head format. Sunday River also hosts night riding, live music and plenty of aprés food and drinks. It may appear to be a well rounded family resort at first glance. But deep down this mountain is tied closely to the core of the action sport community.
- ACCESS: From Portland International Jetport / Logan International Airport, take I-95 North to exit 63 in Gray, ME. From there take ME-26 N for 52 miles to Bethel, ME and then follow US-2 E 7 miles to the resort
- SEASON: Early November – Late April
- NUMBER OF LIFTS: 15 lifts including 4 high speed quads and 1 high speed “Chondola” which has a mix of gondola pods and 6-pack chairs on it
- TICKET PRICES: Adult (Mon-Thurs): $89, (Wknd/Holiday): $105, Teen (Mon-Thurs): $70, (Wknd/Holiday): $79, JR/SR (Mon-Thurs): $60, (Wknd/Holiday): $69
- PARK FACILITIES: 35 acres of freestyle dedicated terrain, is divided up into 6 terrain parks of all levels and one 18-foot Halfpipe
- TOP FEATURES: Most variety of terrain available in Maine, Night Shredding, host to international action sports events like Red Bull Frozen Rush and The Dumont Cup
You’re going to have a long day if you want to ride everything.
With 3 different base areas, just picking a place to start can be tough. Let alone choosing between 8 peaks and 135 trails. The variety is everything. Over on Whitecap you will find the steeps like White Heat. On Aurora peak you can find some dreamy glades. Oz Peak has some natural tree riding which can be accessed off the trail known as Kansas.
North peak and Barker are where you’ll find the terrain parks and wide open blue trails. And finally, Spruce Peak, Locke Mountain and Jordan Bowl will give you some long winded advanced terrain that is full of surprises.
6 Parks and an 18ft Pipe make for some excellent freestyle training grounds.
The Main Park at SR is T-72. This Park usually features 2 lines of jibs, followed by 3 large jumps with a side of Halfpipe. After those your heart will be racing! Keep it together as you dive into the jib field on the bottom half of the trail. This park is usually open for the heart of the season. It’s host to the biggest and baddest park riding that Maine has to offer.
In early winter and late spring, you will find most of the parks underneath the Barker high-speed quad. The winding trails on Barker make lapping these two parks really fun. When it’s early season you have rocks, trees and other side hits to keep you entertained on your way to the park.
When it’s springtime, you have all those elements with more speed on your way down to rocking chair park. Once in Rocking chair you can show off for your buddies on the lift above. All while riding a medium jump line and a few solid boxes and rails.
Nighttime is the Right Time.
Night boarding is offered on 8 trails serviced by two lifts: The Chondola and the South Ridge Express. Both lifts start at the South Ridge Base Area and lead up North Peak. The Whoville medium terrain park area stays open til 8pm as well as 7 other trails which offer blue and green level trails. The night operations tickets are offered on Holidays and weekends throughout the season and come with a $35 pricetag.
Getting a bit thirsty after 12 hrs of riding? Head to the Foggy Goggle!
“Home of the longest aprés ski party in the East” is the tagline featured for the Foggy Goggle on Sunday River’s website. Great beer and live music provided by the Bud Light Music Series, this is definitely the first stop for a drink. Located on the third floor of the South Ridge Lodge, you’ll be able to treat yourself to some great food and atmosphere while you watch the action on the resort from the deck or window.
Looking for a food on mountain? Check out Maine-ly Meatballs at the base of Jordan bowl. It’s a combo of a few lifts and trails to get there but totally worth it for some excellent meatballs. On the other side of the resort you can find Peak Dining at the top of the Chondola. This spot offers year round lift access dining at 2,100 ft. with loads of good options. And if you’re looking for a mid-day bloody mary then bring $4 to the Whitecap Base Lodge and find the Shipyard Brew Haus.
If you’re after fine dining, check out Camp. Located in the Grand Summit Hotel, Camp has a large menu with “comfort food and Maine specialties with a sophisticated twist”. Conversely, if you are looking for a budget option, there is always the trusty Mountain Grocer right off the parking lot at South Ridge, THEY’VE GOT THE CHEAPEST BEER ON THE MOUNTAIN!
Make a weekend of it, IF YOU DARE!
The beauty of SR is certainly best realised without heaps of crowds everywhere. Unfortunately, it’s a very popular spot on weekends and holidays. So if you’re going to make a weekend trip up from Massachusetts, just be ready to sit in line… in your car on 95, then in the parking lot, then when you get in the lodge, then again at the lift.
Maybe avoid the weekends here if you are traveling from afar. A calm, sunny, weekday morning with no lift lines and a couple friends really is an amazing experience at The River.