By John Christie
The sign at the entrance to Brackett Basin, phase one of a new terrain expansion at Sugarloaf, is the first signal you’re about to do a whole different kind of skiing.
“Skiing and snowboarding in Sugarloaf Mountain’s gladed terrain requires good judgment and personal awareness,” begins the sign. Along with warnings about challenging terrain and being sure to enter the glades with other skiers, the sign warns that most of the terrain is left in its natural state, and unmarked hazards include “cliffs, rocks, fallen trees and avalanche hazards.”
It’s not exactly “abandon hope all ye who enter here,” but it is a good sign that Sugarloaf’s new experts-only terrain is serious business.
Opened for the first time on January 19th, Brackett Basin is the first phase of a three-part plan to expand Sugarloaf’s terrain over the next decade. When completed, phase one will offer 270 acres of tree skiing along Sugarloaf’s eastern boundary, dropping skiers from the bottom of the snowfields all the way to the base of the mountain.
In the next 10 years, Sugarloaf will expand its skiable terrain to neighboring Burnt Mountain. By 2020, the Carrabassett Valley resort promises a second above-treeline summit for skiers and some 655 acres of glades. The new terrain will be “sidecountry” skiing, with access from Sugarloaf’s lifts differentiating it from true back country.