What to Know Before You Go

Beginner's Guide at Sunday River

If you've always wanted to learn to ski or snowboard but are not sure how to get started, you've come to the right place. We have everything you need to know to get ready for your first day on the slopes so you can enjoy the sport with confidence.

All You'll Need

Planning Your Trip

Jordan Hotel

Where to Stay

On-Mountain Accommodations

There are three lodging properties at Sunday River—the Grand Summit and Jordan Hotels, and the Snow Cap Inn—and a number of lodging options in the area.


How to Learn

SnowSports School Lessons

Lessons are strongly recommended for your first time on snow. Your instructor serves as your mountain guide and gets you geared up and ready to go. 

Skier on corduroy

How to Go

Lift Tickets

If you are not participating in a lesson, you will need to purchase a lift ticket. The Beginner Lift Ticket offers access green terrain only, while an All-Mountain Ticket allows you to go anywhere on the resort. 

Base lodge

Where to Get Gear

Rental Equipment

If you are not participating in lessons, Sunday River offers rental equipment at the South Ridge Lodge. You may reserve equipment online ahead of time. Sunday River also offers clothing rentals through an online provider. 

Snowmaking over South Ridge

When to Come

Hours of Operation

Come as much as you can from November to April! Sunday River typically opens for the season around Halloween. However, the beginner terrain required for a positive learning experience is open from around Thanksgiving until mid-April. The SnowSports School is open for private lessons when beginner terrain is available and for group lessons from early December to late March. 

Nachos and beer at Foggy Goggle

Where to Eat

Refuel and Recharge

Sunday River has many on-mountain dining options from grab-and-go to full sit-down meals. At South Ridge, you have the widest selection of food, like the Foggy Goggle, South Ridge Food Court, Cilantro Burrito, Cho Sun, Coffee Hound, and the Mountain Grocer. 

Be Prepared

What to Wear & Bring

  • Wearing layers keeps you warmer because it lets you adjust your clothing if the temperature changes as the day goes on. It's also a good idea to wear moisture-wicking clothing to stay dry and comfortable. Your outermost layer should be wind and water-resistant, including your pants. Clothing such as jeans or sweatpants just don't cut it as an outer layer, and are only going to guarantee you'll be wet and cold.

  • One pair of quality wicking socks will keep your feet nice and warm. More isn't always better when it comes to your feet, so don't bother wearing a second pair of socks. Instead, bring an extra pair to change into if yours get wet.

  • Keep your hands warm, dry, and protected with a good pair of waterproof gloves or mittens. This is a must-have.

  • Knit hats may look cool, but we highly recommend a helmet specifically made for skiing or snowboarding. With the latest styles, they look just as cool as beanies, they're safer for your skull, and they are warmer than a hat. The best helmet is the one that fits. If you need help with the fit, ask a Team Member at Sunday River Sports, or a rental shop tech or your SnowSports School instructor to explain it to you. 

  • To protect your eyes from wind, snow, and the sun, we recommend wearing goggles or sunglasses.

  • Sun, snow, and wind — enough said. You definitely want to protect your skin. SPF 30 or higher is suggested.

  • Many people keep their ski and snowboard gear in one handy bag and use it every time they head to the mountains. You don't need to wear it while you're skiing or snowboarding.

    • Pocket tissues are optional, but your nose may run a little in the cold.
    • An ID and wallet stored in a secure, zipper pocket.
    • An energy bar to have as a little pocket snack to keep you energized.
    • A trail map or the Sunday River App on your smartphone to help you find your "happy place" trail for the day.
    • A water bottle to stay hydrated! Drink plenty of water before and after your day on the slopes. Sunday River has water bottle refill stations throughout the lodges.

Need winter clothes or forget something?  We've got you covered. Sunday River Sports at South Ridge Lodge offers a wide selection of apparel and equipment for sale, or you can rent premium ski and snowboard apparel specifically for your trip through our partner Arrive.

getting here

Traveling to the Slopes