SUNNY SUNAPEE

by Cynthia Hale

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I decided to take the editor of the Ski Bum News up on his standing offer to be part one of his ski adventures in exchange for picking him up at the airport. Paul is always looking for company on his ski trips, so contact him and SKI FOR FREE (editor@SkiBumNews.com ). Who would have thought that he would talk me into becoming a writer for the Ski Bum News.

New Year's Day 2002. A beautiful sunny day, we are driving down I-89 heading to Sunapee Ski Resort. Sunapee is conveniently located an hour away from the Manchester AIrport. This meant we could get a relaxed day of skiing in before heading to the airport where I will be dropping Paul off for his flight back to Washington, DC. Going south on I-89 we take Exit 14A onto Route 11 and then turn onto Route 103B which winds around, up and down through beautiful countryside.

Cresting a hill, there in front in all its splendor, is a spectacular view of Sunapee. Over the past three seasons $12 million has been invested in making Sunapee the wonderful, enjoyable and fun resort it has become. There is the beautiful new Lodge in natural wood and logs, vaulting three stories to a dramatic skylight. It is light and airy with views of the slopes. It also boasts a variety of delicious foods, homemade soups and cappuccino bar. We enjoyed a delicious turkey wrap, and onion rings. If you enjoy onion rings, they make delectable ones! There is also a cappuccino bar that has coffees and hot chocolate along with biscotti, cookies, fudge, and other tempting sweets.

The first floor is for restaurant customers but if you brown bag it, the second floor is reserved for you. There are views of the slopes from both levels. The lodge is a wonderful place to take a break from skiing. One issue I have with resorts is the condition of the common areas and the restrooms. I can report that both are kept neat and clean. The other terrific adaptation they made was the stairs are easy to go up and down in ski boots! Clearly they put a lot of thought into the design of the lodge. Well done!

The Spruce Lodge is where the day care, first aid, guest services, children's programs, Learning Center, ticket window and ski and snow board rentals are located. There is also a lounge/bar and cafeteria. A big plus is the cubicles provided for putting your shoes, and other assorted stuff. This leaves the area under the tables clear for feet. There are locked lockers available also.

The staff is friendly, and eager to help. Sam assisted me in the rental department. She was knowledgeable and cheerful. I rented the performance skis, Rossignol Ladies Bandits. They were a good ski and made my day of skiing an enjoyable experience. They have skis and snowboards to accommodate any level of skier/boarder. You can rent the entire package, or any part.

Sunapee has 60 slopes and trails for your skiing pleasure, and they boast the best view from the top. There are awesome views of Lake Sunapee from several different trails. I took advantage of the views to take a short break from skiing. There are 220 skiable acres accessible by 9 chairs, including a high-speed detachable quad. New Year's Day there were blissfully no lines, so we tried out many different runs before lunch. Between the fast chairs and the long runs, you can get a lot of skiing in during one day.

We enjoyed skiing long runs down from the top. You can ski a variety of runs from difficult to easy on the way down. One of my favorites was Upper Blast Off. There were small bumps on some of the runs, which gave me practice for larger ones later in the season. Mother Nature hasn't been cooperative in New England, but Sunapee has expanded the pumping station, installed larger pipes and added 30 new HKD tower guns so there was lots of snow to ski on.

Sunapee has many great offerings for everyone from families to students.

For families……..children under six ski for free. There is a special beginners area, South Peak, which has four lifts including a quad chair lift. There are nine beginner trails and one novice trail. Young adults from 13-18 have special rates and there is a state approved Mother Goose Day Care, available for children 12 months through age 5, located in Spruce Lodge. There are combination packages that include day care and a private one hour ski lesson. There are full and half-day programs. Lunch is provided with the full day program.

The Cutting Edge Learning Center offers programs for all levels of skiing taught by highly qualified teaching professionals. For the beginner (ages 13+) there is the "Get into Skiing/Snowboarding" that includes everything you need, a 1 ˝ hour group lesson, rental equipment and unlimited use of the South Peak area for the day.

For kids there are programs such as Snowstars, ages 4-7, and Mountain Explorers, ages 8-12.

For those who have time during the week there are weekday programs. For seniors there is the Senior Cruisers that offers both social interaction and instruction. This is offered ten Wednesdays during the season from 10 AM to 12 PM.

The Women's Program is offered on eight Tuesdays throughout the season. This program is designed by women for women that concentrates on both the physical and mental aspects of the sport whether it is skiing or boarding. You may choose to take all eight sessions or come on a weekly basis. The program runs from 10 AM to 12 PM.

For over 40 years, Mount Sunapee has offered a race program. There are both competitive and recreational programs in alpine, snowboard, and freestyle. The TGIF Race League is hosted by Mount Sunapee where locals come and show their skiing and riding skills, followed by an après-ski party.

There are many savings packages offered by Mount Sunapee.

The Mount Sunapee/Okemo Midweek Super Pass. For a little more than the cost of five daily lift tickets you can ski/ride midweek Monday -Friday, non-holiday periods. The pass is direct to lift at both areas.

Mount Sunapee Cares and Shares: On December 7, 2001 and April 7, 2002 you can ski or ride for just $20 when you bring three non-perishable food items. These items benefit needy families and food shelters during holiday season. Now there is a resort that cares!

For New Hampshire residents there is New Hampshire 2-for-1 Day. Every Wednesday, excluding holiday periods, two residents can ski or ride for just $46. Make sure to bring proof of residency.

For those of us who live outside the great state of New Hampshire, Mount Sunapee has a deal for us too. Out-of-State 2-for-1 Day: two out-of-staters can ski for $46 on Thursday, not including holiday periods. Bring proof of residency.

Sunapee has great deals for college students. The Bretton Woods/ Okemo/Sunapee College Card for $49. This includes your first day of skiing or riding. You receive 50% off full-day lift tickets and 50% off recreational ski rentals Monday- Friday and $10 off full-day tickets during the weekends and holiday periods. Please remember to bring you ID with you. The College Season Pass allows you to choose one of two different passes. The Cannon-Gunstock-Sunapee Pass or the Sunapee/Okemo Pass.

Ladies, for you, there is Ladies' Day every Tuesday, excluding holiday periods. For $32 you can ski or ride all day and this includes a delicious complimentary luncheon buffet in the Goosefeather's Pub. An added bonus is day care is offered at half-price. This sounds like a deal.

Mt. Sunapee is the base for the New England Handicapped Sports Association, which offers ski programs for skiers with physical and mental challenges. I have seen this program in operation in Vermont and it is a wonderful program that gives everyone the opportunity to enjoy skiing.

Here are some special events offered at Sunapee in 2002: February 2 is "Take Your Daughter to the Slopes Day" The mission of the day is to become the catalyst in expanding women's involvement with all snow sports.

February 9: the Third Annual Mount Sunapee Snow Bowl. This black-tie fundraiser supports the Mount Sunapee Challenge that provides funds for educational and charitable endeavors. This is an evening of dinning, dancing and auctions.

March 9: "Dr. Suess" Sno Sculpture Day: Snow sculptures are all designed to the theme of "Dr. Suess". There is an Après- Ski Party.

April 6: 11th Annual Intragalactic Cardboard Sled Race. The most intricate and professionally designed sleds. This sounds like a don't miss!

Mount Sunapee is a terrific resort close enough to Boston, Manchester, Concord or Nashua for a day of skiing or there are many places to stay in the area if you are looking to take a vacation. For those of us living in Vermont, we get the benefit of being able to take advantage of both Sunapee and Okemo with the Sunapee/Okemo Flex Card. You receive 25% off weekend and holiday periods, 50% off midweek full-day, full-price lift tickets, along with other benefits. Sunapee is a jewel in the mountains and is sure to delight those who take advantage of this resort. I for one will return for another day of sunny skiing at Sunapee, and recommend it for those who enjoy no lines, long and varied trails, friendly staff and spectacular views!

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