Sunday River Resort’s Chondola Addition

The popular Sunday River Resort near Bethel in Maine, USA, is planning to spend $14 million on upgrades in preparation for the 2008/2009 snow skiing season. A highlight of the upgrade program is the installation of the region’s first chondola lift, which promises to take snow skiing convenience to a whole new level.

This chairlift/gondola combination, one of only four in North America, consists of a high-speed detachable six-person chairlift with gondola cabins at regular intervals. The chondola will transport skiers and snowboarders from the South Ridge Base Area to the summit of North Peak. Six of Sunday River’s eight peaks are accessible from the North Peak chondola drop off point. One of the chief benefits of the proposed new chondola is that a trip which currently requires two lift rides by skiers and snowboarders will be reduced to one.

The chondola, which is being manufactured by Doppelmayr CTEC, will play an essential role in the planned expansion of Sunday River’s four-season resort facilities, as well as opening up foot passenger access to the mid-mountain Peak Lodge. Sunday River Resort, which was previously owned by the American Skiing Company, now falls under the management of Boyne Resorts – a family owned, Michigan-based Corporation, which is America’s third largest resort network. Seen by the Sunday River Resort management as much more than just a ski lift, it is believed that the chondola will transform how Sunday River interacts with guests in all four seasons – to the benefit of all concerned.

In addition to the installation of the chondola, plans for Sunday River Resort include cutting new trails from the summit of North Peak and a significant upgrade of snowmaking equipment, with the goal of doubling the amount of snow being made, while reducing energy usage. A further $1.4 million is to be invested in hotels and resort condos.

Preliminary planning to offer 12-hour skiing on South Ridge and North Peak is progressing well, also with the possibility of being available in the 2008/2009 snow skiing season. Dana Bullen, the general manager of Sunday River Resort is confident that the planned upgrades, and the new chondola, will contribute significantly to establishing the ski resort as New England’s “resort on the move”.