Sunday River Resort Overview

Sam Handy               May 2020

With 870 acres of skiable terrain spread across 8 peaks, Sunday River rounds out the four largest resorts east of the Rockies (a bit larger than Aspen Mountain). More than half of this expansive acreage is covered by a fleet of 2,000+ snow guns, creating some of the most reliable conditions in the Northeast. Beginners can cut their teeth on gentle, perfectly groomed slopes while more advanced riders can chase the adrenaline of the steeps, natural terrain and trees. Each peak offers great terrain variety, and getting around is a breeze.

 

The resort features three base areas  South Ridge, Barker Mountain and White Cap. Though the resort lacks a true "village" feel, all of the amenities you'd expect (lodging, food, shops & rentals) are spread amongst these areas. Nearby Bethel (5-10 minutes drive) has consistently held a top ranking for a ski town in America by USA Today. The mountain is ~1.5 hours driving from Portland and 3 hours from Boston a car is essential. Make sure to pack layers, being so far north means more reliable snow, but comes with chillier conditions than other well-known New England resorts. Sunday River is a Boyne resort, part of the New England Pass and the Ikon Pass offers 5 or 7 days.

RESORT FEATURES

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CONDITIONS

Quick Take

 LET'S GO 
INSIDER TIPS
  • "If you can see it, ski it," Sunday River has tons of hidden tree runs to discover. Keep an eye out for entrances off of the side of many trails for these unmarked adventures

  • On a powder day, head to Oz as quickly as you can to score freshies on some of the coolest natural terrain in New England

  • Parking at South Ridge can fill up quickly. For a closer spot, try heading to the Barker Mountain or White Cap base lodges

  • Using the Ikon Pass here will be a breeze in 2020, as Sunday River is busy installing RFID technology at all of their lifts. Now pass holders can skip the ticket line and head straight to the mountain.

  • Beer your thing? How about donuts? Head to Sunday River Brewing Co. for a match made in heaven

HESITATIONS
  • Relatively remote/harder to reach location. Sunday River is at least a 1.5 hour drive from the nearest notable urban center —Portland, ME

  • Sunday River lacks a true, cohesive, pedestrian-friendly mountain village, though there are plenty of options for food and lodging spread between the base area and nearby Bethel

  • The après scene here is good fun, but you won't find a late-night party scene with a younger crowd

  • Despite being harder to reach, the mountain can become crowded, particularly on holiday weekends

  • Sunday River offers a snow guarantee. Impressive snow-making and grooming capabilities enable the resort to consistently have the most open terrain in the east. If you're not satisfied, turn in your ticket for a credit for another day

  • Boundary-to-boundary policy enables experts to explore the entire mountain (expands terrain from 870 to 2,000 acres)

  • It's easy for groups of varying ability to stay together. Each chair lift services a tremendous variety of terrain 

  • There is a wide variety of accommodations between the mountain base (where we like the Grand Summit and Jordan hotels) and nearby Bethel (try the Bethel Inn) as well as plenty of condos and Airbnbs

  • For a unique experience, reserve a spot for the First Tracks Breakfast and take a guided tour of the slopes before the resort opens, followed by a gourmet breakfast at the Mountain Room

 

Getting To & Around

Sunday River is an easy drive from Portland (~1.5 hours) and longer but still easy from Boston (~3.25 hours) via I-95 and Route 26. Having a car is essential to get to the resort and navigate the surrounding area.

Getting To


Closest Major City: Boston, MA

  • Distance: ~180 miles North
  • Travel Time: ~ 3 hours, 10 minutes drive
Closest Town: Bethel, ME
  • ~7 miles, ~12 minute drive​
Portland, ME: ~75 miles, ~1 hour, 40 minues drive




Neighboring Resorts


Sunday River is part of the Mahoosuc Mountain range. Closet Neighbors on the Ikon Pass ​/New England Pass

  • ​Loon Mountain, NH (79 miles, ~1.5 hours)
  • Sugarloaf Mountain, ME (~88 miles, ~2 hours)
Closet Neighbors on the Epic Pass
  • Wildcat Mountain, NH (~38 miles, ~45 minutes)
  • Attitash Mountain, NH (~53 miles, ~1 hour, 10 minutes)
Other Nearby Resorts (within ~1 hour driving)
  • Shawnee Peak, ME (~40 miles, ~55 minutes)
  • ​Bretton Woods, NH (~58 miles, ~1 hour, 15 minutes)




Travel by Plane


Closest major commercial airport: BOS (Boston Logan International Airport)

  • ~175 miles South, ~3 hours, 15 minutes
Regional airport: PWM (Portland International Jetport)
  • ~75 miles South East, ~1 hour, 35 minutes
Private planes can fly to Bethel Regional Airport
  • 6 miles, ~10 minutes




Travel by Bus


Sunday Rivers offers free shuttles around the Base Area and to the sourrounding lodges. Shuttles will not make stops that are not on the predetermined routes The Mountain Explorer connects Sunday River and the town of Bethel with convenient stops in Bethel and along Sunday River Road. See schedule here .




Travel by Car


We prefer to have a car here, its an easy drive from the greater Boston area and Portland and parking is abundant and free Pros: Much greater flexiblity for restaurants, lodging and visiting nearby resorts Cons: None (though a car wash will be needed) ​Ride shares: (e.g., Uber, Lyft) are not reliable here





The Lay of the Land

Coming soon - easy navigation with all of the key spots highlighted 

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