With winter fast approaching, our glade cutting crew is ramping up production to cut and clear another new, yet to be named, glade within Brackett Basin.
The new glade will feature a steep, maintained pitch with cliffs, rock drops, and other natural features scattered within its boundaries.
Led by Assistant Ski Patrol Director Roddy Ehrlenbach, a five-man team armed with their chainsaws will clear a 300’ wide path through about 10 acres of previously untouched terrain.
You will be able to access the new glade from the Golden Road in Brackett Basin; the terrain will run down the fall line east of the existing Sweeper Glade. Skiers and Riders will then be filtered back into lower Brackett Basin, towards the Sweeper Bridge and the bottom of the King Pine chairlift.
The above map depicts where the new glade will be in correlation to the existing glades. The space between the pink lines represents the nearly 10 acres currently being developed.
The team will be firing on all cylinders over the next 4-5 weeks to complete the project before snow flies.
Stay tuned for more updates as the work progresses.
Following an incredible winter for us here at Sugarloaf that saw a record number of skier-visits and record revenues, today we released more details about projects we’re working on for this summer. The full details are available in the press release, which we’ll link to at the bottom of this post, but the highlights are this:
200 new Low-Energy HKD SV10 Impulse snowguns (the same model we installed with great success this past season).
A new 30-person outdoor hot tub at the Sugarloaf Mountain Hotel, funded by the Sugarloaf Condominium Center Association and Sugarloaf.
Continued glade cutting on Burnt Mountain, with a focus on expanding skiable terrain up into the higher elevations of Burnt.
A new 8-inch snowmaking line for Gondi Line
Widening of the West Mountain trail to allow race teams to utilize it for training
An expansive kitchen renovation for 45 North
Base Lodge upgrades, including the renovation of the Mountain Magic area, which we posted about earlier.
Construction has already begun on the hotel hot tub, and we’ll have more details on each of these things as the projects take shape.
The snow began on December 16, and by the time it ended two weeks later, we were buried underneath five feet of new snow and nearly 100 percent of the mountain was open, including all of Brackett Basin, plus the new Eastern Territory.
Brackett Basin has only been open for three season, but this is by far the earliest it has ever been open, and conditions in there are fantastic. Snow is deep, as you can see from the photos, and a shot of rain and freezing rain in the middle of these storms actually helped to pack down the base a great deal.
It’s promising to be a great season in the Burnt Mountain and Brackett Basin wilderness, and as always, we encourage everyone to explore responsibly. Be sure to check out our Brackett Basics for tips on how to stay safe, and if you have any questions before venturing in to Brackett Basin, stop in at the patrol building at the top of Skyline to chat with Ski Patrol.
We took a trip up into the Burnt Mountain wilderness this week to check out the progress the the glade crew is making in the Eastern Territory. The new terrain encompasses a fairly large area on the lower reaches of the northern face of Burnt Mountain that was all mechanically logged last winter, meaning the crew has been cutting back smaller trees and brush to make the area skiable.
Most of the area is moderate to low angle, with several steeper sections mixed in that will certainly make for some entertaining runs. The largest section of the Eastern Territory features a long ridge line with fairly steep drops on either side, which will provide ample area for fresh lines. Either side of the ridge will funnel you back out toward the resort, coming out at either the bottom of Whiffletree or Snubber.
There are also some pretty cool features hidden in there that the crew has uncovered, the best of which is probably a long ledge that, according to the crew, is about 200 feet long and 18-20 feet tall at its highest points (see the first photo at the top of the post).
Like the name suggests, and as we wrote earlier, skiers who venture out to this new area are in for an adventure. To access it (for now, at least) you’ll traverse out across the golden road and hook up with the existing Burnt Mountain hiking trail, which will take you directly into the heart of the terrain. Down the road, this whole area will primarily serve as a runout for skiers descending from the higher, steeper reaches of Burnt Mountain itself, but for now it’s sure to be a fun adventure in its own right.
If you consulted the Sugarloaf trail map last winter, you more than likely found yourself drooling over the prospect of the vaguely and enticingly named “Eastern Territory.”
While it wasn’t ready for skier traffic last winter, our glade crew is busy right now cutting brush and extending the Golden Road to this as-yet untracked area to take you further into the Burnt Mountain wilderness than ever before come wintertime.
As its name implies, the Eastern Territory encompasses a pretty massive area on the eastern side of Brackett Brook (Brackett Basin’s namesake). Much of it has been mechanically logged over the past two winters, making it a mix of gladed areas and skidder roads on moderate to low angle terrain. The area itself is huge, meaning fresh tracks will last for days. Add to that the fact that it’s located over a mile away from Sugarloaf-proper, and the Eastern Territory may never get skied out. Also as the name suggests, the Eastern Territory is wild and untamed; Sugarloafers who make the journey out there are in for an adventure.
To access the Eastern Territory, you’ll enter Brackett Basin at the gate, traverse out to the Golden Road, and then follow it until you encounter the current Burnt Mt hiking trail, which will take you directly into the heart of the new territory. At the bottom, the terrain will funnel you out to Snowbrook, and the base of the Snubber lift. Along the way, you’ll be treated to views of the mountain that few Sugarloafers have seen before, like this one:
The glade crew will be working over the coming months to knock down brush and improve terrain in the Eastern Territory, extending and widening the Golden Road, and improving the entrance and and initial traverse into Brackett Basin.
We’ll be headed up with them at various times to check out the progress, so be sure to follow along for updates.
For a great look inside the new and improved Brackett Basin, plus some informative words from glade crew members Roddy and Dave, check out this incredible video by local videographer Joel Osgood.
At the beginning of the season we asked Joel to put together a few videos for us this season, (you may remember his edit of our summer projects, or his look into what makes a Sugarloafer tick) one of which was a look inside Brackett Basin. He rounded up some of the best skiers around and blew us away with the final product.
Well it took a bit longer than we expected, but after nearly a foot of new snow last Friday, a bigger, better, badder Brackett Basin finally opened for the season on Saturday, February 25. Powder was ample, and with so many new areas and new lines to explore, fresh turns were still available two days later for the heartiest adventurers.
That Friday storm was followed up by 19 more inches of snow this week, including 16 yesterday, and the powder harvest was on. Waist deep drifts of blower pow greeted the first of us to venture in yesterday morning, and these photos are the result.
The cutting and thinning that the crew did last summer is immediately evident to anyone who skied in Brackett last season. The new “Golden Road” makes traversing out to Birler, Edger, and Sweeper much easier, and the new lines offer a great variety of styles, including some steep, narrow, old-school chutes.
This week ESPN.com took a look at the year in freeskiing and boiled it boiled it down to the ten biggest stories, and our Brackett Basin expansion landed us at number 7. Not bad, especially when you consider that other top stories included freeskiing’s inclusion in the Olympics and a first descent of the 20,320-foot south face of Denali.
We picked up our first measurable snow of the season last night, with six inches or so of fresh fluff covering the mountain. We LOVE snow around here, but it can add a challenge when crews are trying to finish up offseason projects. The weather is forecast to return to some more seasonable temps for the rest of the week, however, which will allow the glade crew to keep cutting in Brackett Basin, and the Skyline crew to finish hanging chairs and prepare for the load test in a couple of weeks. The season is almost here!