SUNAPEE, A BIG LITTLE MOUNTAIN
by Paul Maraschiello

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I don't know why I always think that Mount Sunapee is a small New England ski resort. I've skied there a few times but on this visit, I cam to realize just how BIG the mountain at Sunapee is. After all, their longest trail is two miles long and the view is spectacular.



ACCOMMODATIONS
I was staying at the Dexter's Inn, a country resort-inn on a 20-acre estate, in the lovely and unhurried Lake Sunapee region, only minutes from Mount Sunapee. The inn features panoramic views of Mount Sunapee and the surrounding countryside and provides a private, peaceful and relaxing backdrop for a visit to this part of New Hampshire.



I had a loverly room with bath in this large, old rambling converted Victorian farmhouse. This lodge has: two tennis courts, a heated in-ground swimming pool (open early May to early October), recreation room featuring billiards, ping-pong, air hockey, foosball, darts, and kids' play room featuring videos, games, puzzles, stuffed animals, books and coloring books. They have a full-service commercial cross-country ski & snowshoe center operated by Norsk.



The home entertainment room featuring a large-screen, high-definition, surround-sound television and a living room featuring a fireplace and a library of books, magazines and newspapers. The tavern room featuring comfortable chairs and a fireplace and they have free wireless Internet access.



In the morning, I enjoyed the complementary breakfast of bacon and eggs (cooked to order), coffee, pastries, fruit, and juice. I even had a chance to use German I learned in college when I conversed with their European chef.



There are 10 guest bedrooms in the Main Inn each with private bath. Rooms vary in size, view, and type of bedding (e.g., king-size, double, twin beds). Each room is decorated differently, but all feature a consistent New England colonial feel. Each room can accommodate at least two guests and some can accommodate 3-4 guests. All 10 guest bedrooms in the Main Inn are located on the second floor.



In addition, there is an Annex with seven guest bedrooms each with private bath. There is also a two-bedroom, two-bathroom cottage, which sleeps up to 10 guests.



Rates are $100.00 - $165.00 per room plus tax. If you like the charm of a rustic New England lodge, book a reservation at Dexter's Inn. Call (800) 232-5571 and tell them that you found them in the Ski Bum News.



SKIING
I was there on a Wednesday, so the slopes were virtually empty. It was a typical winter day and the skiing was excellent. I spent the day skiing all the trails off the High Speed Quad that services the summit. There were steep expert trails open and some really nice Intermediate trails that seemed to go own forever. Upper Blast off was steep but easy to hold an edge. It offered just the right amount of challenge for early-season skiing. Chase Ledges, Upper Ridge and the other trails serviced by this chairlift were enough to keep me busy all day cruising down the well-groomed slopes.



The views of Lake Sunapee were great from the trail. I've sailed on that lake in the summer and had a blast but that's another story.



STATS
Slopes & Trails:
66 trails and slopes covering 233 skiable acres (18 miles of terrain)
17 easier trails, 32 more difficult trails, 17 most difficult trails
Summit elevation: 2,743 feet
Vertical drop: 1,510 feet (highest in southern New Hampshire)
Longest trail: Two miles (The Ridge Trail)
Three terrain parks, four mogul runs, nine glades

Terrain Parks:
Bob Skinner's 603 Terrain Park - 50+ S, M, L & XL features including airbag
Calypso Park - 5 small features on South Peak
Eastside Slope-style Park - 6 medium features all built out of snow

Lifts:
11, including 3 quad chairs (one high-speed), 2 triple chairs, 1 double chair, 5 surface lifts



This ski resort has been taken over from the State of New Hampshire by Tim and Diane Mueller, the owners of Okemo Mountain Resort in Vermont. After the lease to operate Mount Sunapee was acquired, millions of dollars in improvements were instituted. They replaced old Triple Chair with a high-speed quad, and the Sun Bowl lift was replaced with a quad chair lift. Snowmaking capacity was increased and a terrain park were created to enhance the skiing/riding experience.



The North Peak Lodge was replaced with the 24,000 square ft. Sunapee Lodge. Three new trails - Summit Glades, Lynx and Sunnyside Down - were added and snowmaking expanded. In 2000, the new Clipper Ship quad chair lift replaced the old Province Double chair lift, a 50-foot moving carpet was installed and the Ski Rental building was expanded, in addition to other notable improvements.



I always enjoy skiing at Mount Sunapee. It is a great mountain located just a few miles off Interstate 89 and less than an hours drive from the Manchester Airport. Over the years, I've found that this resort is the perfect place to ski if you book an early flight into Manchester, NH or a convenient place to ski on the day of a New England ski trip. If you are planning a day trip or a longer ski vacation, Mount Sunapee is a fun place to ski for the entire family. The view of the lake from the top of the mountain is spectacular and I can guarantee you will have a great time at this BIG little mountain.

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