Sunday River, Maine: Rank 5 East, 1997


Sunday River is not the highest mountain in the East, but it may be the widest. What it lacks in vertical rise is more than compensated for by eight sprawling peaks and a surprising variety of trails spilling down 1,200 vertical feet. More important, SKI readers say owner Les Otten's original mountain delivers the best Grooming and Snow Quality in the East, and they rate Sunday River's lifts second only to Tremblant's. "This is the next best thing to the Rockies," one reader says. Cautions another: "Disappointed with the mountain and the challenge¿over-hyped." Sunday River's lodging is affordable, if not inspired. Nightlife improved with the Sunday River Brewery, but it's still quiet compared to Eastern après-ski standards set by Stowe and Killington. "This place falls asleep after 8 pm," one reader complains. Access is another concern: "It took an hour to get out on the access road on a Saturday," a reader says.

What's New A quad replaces the North Peak Triple; Sunday River addresses lodging critics with the Christmas opening of the 200-room Jordan Grand Hotel and Crown Club.
A Good Deal Ski Week Spectacular, five days of skiing and lodging, Sunday through Thursday, excluding holiday periods, $299/person; (800) 543-2SKI.
Medals Gold Snow Quality; Grooming; Terrain; Challenge; Service; Family Programs. Silver Value.
High/Low Rank Grooming (4), Lifts (4); Accessibility (65).
Don't Miss Drop the kids at the Bethel Station for movies and games and head for Mothers Restaurant on Main Street.
Reader Remarks "The skiing is great and nothing else matters." "Sometimes feels like K-Mart."