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VIDEO: Major Expansion Getting Under Way at Maine's Popular Sugarloaf Ski Resort

Mon February 20, 2023 - Northeast Edition #7

Sugarloaf, the popular ski area in west-central Maine's Carrabassett Valley, is starting work on what is being called the largest development project on the resort's properties in 25 years, Mainebiz reported Feb. 16.

An estimated $104 million expansion of Sugarloaf's West Mountain is designed to increase the resort's skiable acreage by 10 percent. Logging already is under way for a new lift and an additional 12 alpine trails covering 120 acres.

The picturesque ski area, which is owned by Michigan-based Boyne Resorts, has received a provisional notification from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to start logging on the 450-acre West Mountain site. It also has received approvals from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection.

Sugarloaf officials said the expansion will be ready by the latter half of the 2023-24 season.

Sugarloaf General Manager Karl Strand called the expansion "a transformative project."

"This is the most significant development project at Sugarloaf since the SuperQuad was built in the mid-1990s," he said.

Sugarloaf Expansion to Include High-Speed Chairlift

For many ski areas, there is a growing premium on getting people to the top in an efficient way, Mainebiz noted.

Sugarloaf officials hope they have found a better way to get snow enthusiasts up its slopes more quickly and safely.

The added trails will be served by a new Bucksaw Express high-speed chairlift. The quad lift will transport skiers and snowboarders from the base near West Mountain Road up to Bullwinkle's Restaurant.

The Bucksaw Express, built by the Austrian company Doppelmayr, is a high-speed detachable quad that will span 6,574 ft., and rise 1,433 vertical feet up the mountain. In addition, it will feature a 775-hp engine capable of running at an expected speed of 1,000 ft. per minute and serve a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour. According to Sugarloaf, the estimated ride time on the new lift is six minutes, 53 seconds.

The new trails will mix beginner and intermediate terrain; in all, the West Mountain will have some 300 acres of developed trails and glades.

Work on the ski trails will last into the middle of this year, Sugarloaf announced. Snowmaking infrastructure will be installed on most of the new trails this summer, with the remaining infrastructure to be installed in summer 2024.

New Ski-In/Ski-Out Homes Planned

But Sugarloaf's West Mountain expansion would not be complete without housing, Mainebiz noted.

The project approvals also clear the way for residential real estate development on the mountain, and the resort expects to soon begin the sales process of the first residential lots. The new development will be the first opportunity for buyers to design their own ski-in/ski-out home at Sugarloaf in nearly 20 years, according to the resort.

The proposed development could include up to 224 new housing units, with a mix of single-family lots, duplex townhomes and condominiums.

West Mountain's new properties will be developed and listed exclusively by Mountainside Real Estate, the official realty agency of Sugarloaf.

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