Winter seems months away, but it’s still being celebrated in the western mountains where Sugarloaf and Saddleback had historic seasons.

Sunday River closed two weeks ago on April 24, but marked the second year in a row of offering six months of skiing, the longest season on the East Coast.

Sugarloaf ran the lifts for the last time Monday to mark the latest closing since 1997, when die-hard skiers took turns until Memorial Day.

Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin said according to local historians this year is the second-latest season in the ski area’s 60-year history.

The combination of 186 inches of continual snowfall and frigid weather allowed many ski areas to prolong the season.

Jay Peak in Vermont changed its closing date to today, taking the “last to close” title in the East this year from Sugarloaf, which had it the past three years.

However, unlike the past three years, Austin said skiers and riders Monday enjoyed a final run all the way to the Superquad.

“It really was only two weeks ago that it started to melt. All through April it was cold. The last week of April we had the snowfields open,” Austin said.

Saddleback historically closes the second week of April, but extended the season so that it could run the lifts in May, closing on May 1.

It was the first time in 25 years the lifts were open in May at Saddleback.

The 276 inches of snow were the most Saddleback had since 1996, when 289 inches fell, said JoAnne Taylor, Saddleback marketing director.

“We probably could have been operating one more week. We still have snow. But our goal was to make it to May 1,” Taylor said.


Staff Writer Deirdre Fleming can be contacted at 791-6452 or at: [email protected]