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.



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Quick Take

  • "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

  • 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.

Who should use this program?

Individuals who are interested in training for both strength AND size (muscle hypertrophy).

Individuals who are currently eating sufficient calories/carbohydrates. If you are currently cutting calories and carbohydrates for the purposes of fat loss, this program may prove too much for you. Those newer to fitness (0-3 years) cutting with a small calorie deficit (<300) should be OK, but those cutting with moderately high calorie deficits (500+) may find the program too difficult due a lack of energy.

Am I too advanced to use this program?

This program is designed for individuals who consider themselves to be beginners or intermediates. Although advanced lifters can still benefit from Hybrid 5, if you are an advanced competitive powerlifter you may want to look into something more advanced and customized, like working 1on1 with a powerlifting coach.

An advanced lifter is generally classified as someone who has been training properly for 5+ years and can easily squat 2X their bodyweight, bench 1.5X their bodyweight, and deadlift 2.5X their bodyweight.

How long is this program?

Each Round is composed of 8 days with 6 workouts.

Each Cycle is composed of 5 Rounds.

Therefore, each individual Cycle lasts 8 x 5 = 40 days.

The program can be run as long as you want but it is recommended that you stick with it for at least 4-6 Cycles to avoid "program hopping".

Can it be done at home? What equipment is needed to use this program?

This program requires typical gym equipment found in most commercial gyms.

At the very least, a full weight set is required (Barbell with an assortment of weighted plates).

This is mandatory to perform the main 4 lifts in the program:
-Bench Press
-Overhead Press

If your home gym has the necessary equipment to perform these main lifts, you should be OK!

How many training days per week is this program? What is the split?

The intermediate version of the program follows a Push/Pull/Legs split with 6 training days over an 8-day microcycle (Round).

The beginner version of the program follows a full-body, 3 workouts/week split.

That being said, if this clashes with your schedule you are encouraged to introduce additional rest days as you see fit. This will have a small impact on your overall progress and will only increase recovery time - which is a good thing!

Does this program include a diet plan?

This program is primarily based around training.

However, there is a section included which gives the reader a brief outline (~2 pages) of how he/she should be eating while running this program to generate optimal results.

How much experience do you need to use this program?

If you are a full beginner (<6 months of training experience), it is recommended that you use the beginner version included with Hybrid 5.

If you are a "late beginner", that is you have been training consistently for 6-12 months and you feel you have a good understanding of how to perform the main compound lifts with proper form - you MAY graduate to the intermediate version IF YOU FEEL READY!

If you still feel awkward with the main compound lifts and are not 100% sure in your ability to execute these exercises properly, it is recommended that you stick with the beginner version using lighter weights and spend a considerable amount of time practising PROPER FORM as opposed to purely focusing on getting stronger.

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