“Sugarloaf is the best mountain in the East,” says one reader, “if you can deal with the temperatures and the ride.” Northwestern Maine’s behemoth roared back from last year’s notable top-10 absence, rewarded for its vast terrain offerings and “down-to-earth” New England vibe. With the East’s biggest skiable acreage, it’s No. 1 for Terrain Variety and No. 3 for Challenge. Te new Skyline quad and expanded Brackett Basin glades iced it. “Terrain for everyone. Great steeps and long runs. Phenomenal glades,” readers say. “You can lose yourself in the trees” but always get back to the lift for another quick lap, one reader notes. Dining, lodging, and nightlife revolve around a few-frills base village, but the ’Loaf’s “family-friendly” disposition and soul earn it a No. 4 ranking for Character. “No pretense or show, just downright fun. Worth the ride.”
What’s New >> A million bucks’ worth of snowmaking improvements on Log Jam, Upper Rumrunner, and lower Madonna Liftline. And 35 new sun-tracking solar panels will be enough to power the Village Lodge.
Bragging Rights >> Doc Dempsey’s or Madonna Liftline: as steep and tough as anything in the east. And check out the natural terrain park off lower Madonna Liftline: log slides, rock jumps, and such.
Family Experience >> The Winter adventure program caters to teens without condescending. Loosely structured skiing in the morning, then outdoorsy adventure—like canyoneering, survival training, and ice climbing—in the afternoon.