Last week Susan and I took a vacation up to Sunday River in Maine. We went skiing for 4 days, meeting up with a couple friends of ours. The trip was great and I got in a lot of good skiing. In fact, some of the trails were absolutely gorgeous. I spent most of the first morning at Jordan Bowl, skiing Lollapalooza, Excalibur, and Rogue Angel before skiing my way over to South Ridge to meet up with everyone. I skied a bunch off North Peak and did a run down American Express where I took a big spill, bruising my knee. I got up, brushed myself off, and headed back to the lodge to take a much needed rest.
On the second day, we both took a “Learn to Ride” snowboard lesson. It’s a 3 hour lesson that takes you from putting on your gear to making your first turns. I took a similar lesson about 12 years ago when I learned to ski. The only difference was that the ski lesson brought me down a real green trail at the end, teaching us how to load and unload on and off the lift. This lesson didn’t take us that far, but I was perfectly happy with that. My knee was still bruised from the previous day and the snowboard boots were downright uncomfortable. I have high arches on my feet and I have insoles in my ski boots to support my arches. The rental snowboard boots lacked any support and my feet were in serious pain. I made my way up and down the bunny slope pretty well for a beginner, but after the lesson, I decided I was done and turned in the board and boots in exchange for my skis. I never thought I’d say it, but my ski boots felt like slippers compared to the snowboard boots. After that, I did a couple runs down Barker, taking Lazy River and Ecstasy to Sunday Punch. I grew tired and decided to call it a day. Both knees, my butt, and my elbows were all bruised up from the snowboard lesson that morning. I used my elbows to land on because I didn’t want to screw up my wrists.
The third day saw the cloud return and the snow wasn’t as good as the previous day. I made a couple runs at Jordan Bowl before heading back to South Ridge to meet up with everyone. I decided to take it a bit easier that day after the rough day before. I made some runs with our friends, one of whom had just learned that day before venturing off with the more experienced of them. We headed up to Spruce and did Risky Business, which was in great shape that day. Then we did some trails on Barker. We had wanted to head over to White Cap, but got stuck because of racing and didn’t want to take the flat trail that is Roadrunner over there. When we got stuck, we had no choice but to take our first black diamond at the mountain. Monday Mourning is basically a straight shot down. It wasn’t bad and we both made it down the trail with relative ease. After taking another run down Barker with South Paw, which looked nice, but was all beat up and skied off, we headed in for the day.
Our last day was just me and Susan. She went out and did some green runs, and I skied over to Aurora to do Northern Lights. The snow was great that day and I should’ve done a few more or tried Airglow, but headed over to Spruce and Barker for a couple runs before making my way to White Cap down Roadrunner. I did a couple runs down there on Wildfire and Jibe, but didn’t make it up to the top for Salvation. My legs were just too tired to do that and then ski back. So I skied back and made my way down Lazy River back to the lodge and we called it a day.
It was a great trip and our first time staying at the Jordan Grand. I loved that hotel because it was very remote and I love the trails at Jordan Bowl. I’m not sure if we’ll stay there again because Susan preferred to start her day at South Ridge, taking the shuttle the first morning and the car the other 3. I didn’t mind skiing there and then skiing over to South Ridge. The road to the hotel is also a bit rough. It’s twisty and full of frost heaves. It also goes up about 1000 feet above the elevation of the rest of the base lodges. The room was fantastic and the view was gorgeous, especially when compared with our view of the parking lot when we stayed at the Grand Summit. The most convenient place was the Sunrise condos we stayed in last year. If we get a big enough group for the whole trip, we’ll likely stay there again, though the hotels are much much nicer.
The one thing I love about Sunday River is that just about everyone that works there is fantastic. It’s almost like Disney World for skiers. The mountain has something for all levels of skiing. They’ve got great snowmaking, making for a great season even when there’s no natural snow like this year.