2016-17 Winter Updates's page header

2016-17 Winter Updates

Earlier this July, the Spruce Peak Triple top terminal experienced a foundation failure, which caused it to detach from the underlying bedrock to which it was secured. The Spruce Peak Triple chairlift is not used during the summer and no one was injured. An engineering study of the incident determined that the cause of the foundation detachment was the concrete grout used to anchor the terminal foundation's steel reinforcement bars to the bedrock. The study also concluded that the damage sustained to the top terminal, haul rope, and many of the lift's chairs would warrant a full replacement of the entire lift.

As of September 21, 2016, this incident will impact the resort and the 2016-17 winter season in two ways.

Based on the engineering study , we've decided to replace the top terminal of the Locke Mountain Triple and make additional modifications to that lift as safety precautions. The Locke Mountain Triple is the only other chairlift at Sunday River engineered and installed around the same time as the Spruce Peak Triple. We expect all work to be done and the lift to be open for skiing by Thanksgiving, and have adjusted our plans for opening the resort this season to start with top-to-bottom skiing on Aurora Peak accessed by the Chondola.

Second, we began an engineering plan for a new Dopplemayr fixed-grip three-passenger chairlift to replace the Spruce Peak Triple. Our original goal was to have this new lift installed and open at some point this winter, but there are still a number of outstanding pieces that need to happen before the lift itself can even be manufactured. After a hard look at possible construction timelines based on where we sit today, we must delay construction until after this winter. The silver lining is that had we installed this new lift during the winter season, we would have been forced to close down a significant amount of ski terrain on and around Spruce Peak. We may have lost the Spruce Peak Triple for this season, but we refuse to lose its skiable terrain too.

What does this mean for the winter season? The terrain on Spruce Peak will still remain open for skiing, and we remain committed to snowmaking and grooming on these trails. Guests will be able to access Spruce Peak by riding the Aurora Peak Quad and skiing Borealis to Sirius, from which point a short hike around the shoulder of Spruce Peak will allow access to Downdraft, American Express, Risky Business, and Gnarnia as conditions allow.

Detailed updates on opening plans and winter operations will be posted on the Mountain Report as we head into the season.

We also remain committed to a new Spruce Peak Triple and will keep you updated on when construction for this new lift will start. 

For more detailed information on the Spruce Peak Triple incident that occurred in July:

July 20 Press Release
July 12 Press Release

Frequently Asked Questions:

Will the Spruce Peak terrain stay open? Yes, the trails on Spruce Peak will open as conditions allow.  

Will you make snow on Spruce Peak? Yes, we will make snow on Spruce Peak to open its trails, though we may focus on different lift-serviced terrain first depending on weather conditions.

Will the terrain on Spruce Peak be groomed? Yes, our grooming team will put stripes on American Express and Risky Business as always, and will leave Downdraft untouched more often than not.  

How do I access terrain on Spruce Peak? The terrain on Spruce Peak can be accessed by taking the Aurora Quad to the top of Aurora Peak. Take a left off of the chairlift onto Borealis. When you come to the intersection of Sirius and Aludra, take a right on Sirius for a short hike to Spruce Peak.

Where is the old equipment going?  We are working with a company to remove the old Spruce Peak Triple. This company will be removing and taking the entire lift. 

Will there be lift towers on the trail? No, the lift towers and will be removed before terrain opens on Spruce Peak.  

When will the new chairlift go in? As of right now, our plan is to install the new Spruce Peak Triple for the 2017-18 season.  

What chairlift(s) do I need to ride to access Spruce Peak? From Barker Mountain, take the Barker Mountain Express to Three Mile Trail. This will access Lower Risky Business. From there, ski down Second Mile to Sensation to access the Aurora Quad. From South Ridge, take the Chondola to the top of North Peak. From there, ski down Paradigm or Sensation to access the Aurora Quad. From Jordan or Oz, take the Jordan Bowl Express or the Oz Quad to the Kansas trail. From there take Northern Lights or Airglow to access the Aurora Quad.

What is the hike like? The hike is short with a modest elevation gain. We suggest getting controlled speed on Borealis to make the turn up to Sirius to shorten the walk, which should only take a few minutes.

How will this affect lift lines? On weekends we plan to run the Oz Quad, the Quantum Leap Triple, and the Locke Mountain Triple as conditions allow to help with skier flow around the mountain. Midweek, we don't expect lift lines to be affected due to the lower number of skiers on the mountain.

Is there lift-accessed terrain that is comparable to that on Spruce Peak?
You will find long, groomed terrain like that on Spruce Peak on Excalibur, Rogue Angel, and Lollapalooza in Jordan Bowl, Northern Lights in Aurora, and Tempest, Wildfire, Jibe, Moonstruck, and Starlight on White Cap.