CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Sugarloaf on Tuesday announced its plan to install 300 new energy-efficient snowmaking machines, which should help avoid a repeat of this past winter, when historically low snowfall totals kept some skiers from hitting the slopes.
The $1 million project recently was awarded a $300,000 grant from Efficiency Maine and is expected to be finished in time for next season, according to Ethan Austin, communications manager at Sugarloaf.
With the improved snowmaking operation, Sugarloaf is confident it will be able to prevent poor snowfall totals from harming not only its own business but dozens of others that rely on the thousands of tourists who visit the resort each year, Austin said.
When there isn’t enough snow to open some of Sugarloaf’s trails at times, especially during the vital Christmas vacation week early in the season, the entire region’s economy tends to suffer, he said.
Austin didn’t have exact figures for how much the numbers of skiers were down this winter, but he said during some weeks, including Christmas vacation, the drop was significant.
Sugarloaf normally has 40 to 60 trails open by Christmas, he said. This season there were just 10 trails open.
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