Snowcat skiing at Sugarloaf tops list of what’s new at New England’s resorts

MONTPELIER, Vermont — From the return of the women’s World Cup in Killington to the debut of snowcat skiing for adventurous skiers and riders at Sugarloaf in Maine, resorts are offering a variety of events and upgrades to draw skiers and riders this season.

Here’s a look at what to expect.

CAT SKIING

For the adventurous expert skier and rider, Maine’s Sugarloaf is debuting its snowcat-serviced skiing and riding in “sidecountry” terrain this season. Snowcat snow-grooming machines with passenger seating will deliver skiers and riders up Burnt Mountain, home to steep terrain and powder. The resort says this season, cat rides will be offered on weekends and vacation weeks only. The price, on top of a lift ticket or season’s pass, ranges from $20 to $30 for a cat ride depending on the time of day.

In a news release, Sugarloaf said it recently purchased a new 12-passenger snow cat, which it will use along with an existing cat to transport skiers to the top of the Androscoggin Glade from the Log Yard, located below the bottom terminal of the King Pine chairlift. The new glade on Burnt Mountain adds 100 acres of terrain to explore.

“Since its opening, our sidecountry terrain has become a fan favorite among Sugarloafers,” according to Crusher Wilkinson, Sugarloaf VP of Mountain Operations. “The new Burnt Mountain Cat Skiing will not only enhance the skiing and riding experience, but also make the terrain more accessible to our guests.”

WORLD CUP SKIING

For a second year in a row, the women’s World Cup is returning to Killington in Vermont with slalom and giant slalom races Thanksgiving weekend. Scheduled racers included defending World Cup champion Michaela Shiffrin as well as Resi Stiegler of the U.S. and Petra Vlhova of Slovakia.

HIGH-TECH TICKETS

Say goodbye to the paper lift ticket attached to a jacket by a wire hanger. More resorts have swapped them out for high-tech tickets and passes with radio-frequency identification that allow skiers and riders to carry them in jacket pockets and pass quickly through gates to board lifts.

Big ski areas that have already adopted the technology say it cuts down on fraud, reduces lift lines and helps them track use of lifts and trails as well lost skiers. This season Sugarbush and Smugglers’ Notch in Vermont and Waterville Valley, Mount Sunapee Resort and Gunstock Mountain Resort in New Hampshire will be using RFID technology.

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