March 12, 2013

Skiing in Maine: Sugarloaf shows another exciting side to adventurers

By Josh Christie

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The new area has a nice mix of steep pitches and lower-angle terrain that left us able to switch between hunting thrills and a mellow cruise. Mixed in among the glades are clear skidder roads, not terribly steep, but wide open and deep with powder.

In a blog post boosting the new area, Sugarloaf noted that "located over a mile away from Sugarloaf-proper, and the Eastern Territory may never get skied out." It's easy to believe. When we popped onto Snowbrook at the end of our Eastern Odyssey, we found it had been over an hour since we started into Brackett. When the expansion is complete, Sugarloaf will have doubled in size.

While Brackett Basin and the Eastern Territory are in-bounds -- and, thus, patrolled by the resort's ski patrol department -- they offer some risks beyond the typical ski trip. As fun as it is (and it is fun), the terrain is difficult to patrol, massive, and chock full of chutes, stumps, cliffs and other hazards. Sugarloaf has been proactive with education about these risks; a sign at the entrance to Brackett, warnings on the trail map, and a special section of the Sugarloaf website all offer basic safety rules known as "Brackett Basics."

The skiing in Maine right now is as good as I've seen it in 20 years and with deep natural snow blanketing New England, the time is ripe for adventurous skiers to check out the wild world of the sidecountry.

Josh Christie is a freelance writer and lifetime outdoors enthusiast. He shares column space in Outdoors with his father, John Christie. Josh can be reached at:


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