Sugarbush Resort

Infobox ski area
name = Sugarbush Resort
picture = mtellen.jpg
caption = Sugarbush's Mt. Ellen area
location = Warren, Vermont, US (2 miles ESE), Waitsfield (4 miles E)
nearest_city = Burlington, Vermont
lat_d = 44.135098
long_d = -72.885962
top_elevation = 4083 ft (1244 m)
base_elevation = 1483 ft (452 m)
vertical_elevation = 2600 ft (790 m)
skiable_area = 508 acres (2.06 km²)
number_trails = 111
miles_of_trails = 53
longest_run =
liftsystem = 16 chairs: 5 highspeed quads, 2 fixed grip quads, 2 triples, 4 doubles and 3 surface lifts
fast_quadchair = 5
quadchair = 2
triplechair = 2
doublechair = 4
uphill capacity = 25,463
snowfall = 262 in (6.7 m)
external_link = [ Sugarbush Resort Home Page] |

Sugarbush Resort is a ski resort located in the Mad River Valley in Warren, Vermont. It is one of the largest ski resorts in New England. The resort encompasses 4000 total acres (16 km²), 508 acres (2.06 km²) skiable, 53 miles (85 km) of trails, and 16 ski lifts. Sugarbush has 111 ski trails, 11 additional marked wooded area, sustantial off-piste skiing and riding, a summit elevation of 4083 ft (1,244.5 m), and a vertical drop of 2600 ft (790 m).


Sugarbush was opened on December 25, 1958, by Damon and Sara Gadd and Jack Murphy. In 1977, the Gadds sold the resort to Roy Cohen, who invested millions expanding it. Cohen purchased the Glen Ellen Ski Area (Mount Ellen) in 1979 and annexed it to Sugarbush. ARA Services purchased the resort in 1983, replacing the original gondola with the Sugar Bravo and Heaven's Gate triple chair lifts, effectively increasing uphill capacity from 450 skiers per hour to 1800. Claneil Enterprises bought the resort in 1984 and transformed it into a four-season resort, purchasing adjacent tennis courts, restaurants, condominiums, and a golf course. Claneil improved the chairlift system by installing three new lifts on Mount Ellen. The American Skiing Company purchased Sugarbush in 1995 and installed seven new lifts, increased snowmaking by 300%, and built a sixty-three million gallon reservoir for snowmaking. During this period, Mount Ellen and the main part of Sugarbush were connected by the Slide Brook Express two-way quad chairlift; when it was installed was the world's fastest chairlift, and is still the world's longest detachable chairlift. [ cite web
url =
title =
author = Sugarbush Resort: Where We've Been
date = 2007
accessdate = 2007-1-1

When the American Skiing Company bought Sugarbush, the Original Green Mountain Express (GMX) chair at Mount Ellen was moved to replace the aging North Ridge Double. Then the GMX was replaced with a new fixed grip quad from Doppelmayer that ran up to the base of Cliffs to encourage use of the new North Ridge Express and the Slide Brook Express. This lift became known as the "Slug" because many considered it slow and impractical. Current Sugarbush owner Summit Ventures replaced this chair with a Poma high speed quad which runs the full length of the original GMX (up to the Glen House), and "the Slug" is now Jay Peak's Metro Quad. Also, the North Lynx Triple was formerly the Sugarbravo triple chair, and was moved to the North Lynx peak to replace a platter lift when the Super Bravo detachable quad was installed. The Castlerock double was also recently repaced with another double following the same chair spacing specs as the original lift to maintain low crowds and the matchless Castlerock character.

Summit Ventures (Win Smith, Bob Ackland, and Adam Greshin) purchased the resort in 2001, and has since replaced and reconfigured some of the lifts, made further snowmaking improvements by adding new low energy nozzles to the system, and has most recently completed the $60 million Lincoln Peak Village [] , which includes the Claybrook luxury condiminium complex, a new convert|23000|sqft|m2|-2|sing=on Gate House lodge, and Timbers, a fine dining post-and-beam restaurant. The owners are avid skiers and can be seen on the mountain and are always available to meet and speak with guests. They have a passion for guest service. [ cite web
url =
title =
author = Lincoln Peak Village: Vision
date = 2007
accessdate = 2007-1-1

Despite rumors that the resort was going to replace the Valley House Double chair with a high speed quad, this is not true. According to resort president, Win Smith, the plans for the high speed quad accidentally appeared in Claybrook brochures, however are not actually in the current plans. The resort has no plans to add any further high speed chairs. The intent, rather, is to keep lift capacity approximately the same to maintain the current uphill/downhill capacity relationship in an effort to avoid over-crowding. This makes Sugarbush somewhat unique because the owners are focused on the quality of the product rather than the quantity of the tickets sold. [ cite web
url =
title =
author = Win Smith on Alpine Zone's Ski Area Challenge 2006
date = 2006
accessdate = 2007-1-1

Skiing at Sugarbush

Sugarbush has two distinct mountain areas separated by Slide Brook Basin. The south side of Sugarbush, Lincoln Peak, is the resort's main mountain area. Most of the resort real estate is located at Lincoln Peak, including the new Claybrook condominiums and hotel. Lincoln Peak boasts 2,400 vertical feet and a summit elevation of convert|3975|ft|m|1. 72 of Sugarbush's 111 runs are on the Lincoln Peak side. Also at Lincoln Peak are several other smaller peaks: Gadd Peak, Castlerock Peak, and North Lynx Peak.


Castlerock Peak is known to have some of the most challenging terrain in the east with its steep, narrow, winding, New England-style runs. It is also the only peak of Sugarbush that does not utilize snowmaking, however there are several runs such as Domino or Lower Bridland that also do not incorporate snowmaking.

Mt. Ellen

To the north, and separate from Lincoln Peak, is Sugarbush's other mountain area called Mt. Ellen. Mt. Ellen's top elevation is 4,083 feet (tied for third highest in the state with Camel's Hump), and has one of the largest continuous vertical drops in Vermont at convert|2600|ft|m|-1. Several states and southern Quebec are visible from the summit of Mt. Ellen. Formerly an independent resort (founded by Walt Elliot in the early 1960s), the trails at Mt. Ellen have a different feel than those at Lincoln Peak, and are often less crowded. Mt. Ellen is where many of the locals prefer to ski due to its variety of terrain and lack of overcrowding. Mt. Ellen is also reputed for its New England terrain, and is known for having Sugarbush's steepest run, FIS. Mt. Ellen also has a secondary peak, Inverness Peak, which is home to the Green Mountain Valley School's (GMVS) racing slope, Inverness.

Mt. Ellen is also home to Sugarbush's terrain park and half pipe. For the 06/07 season, Sugarbush partnered with California-based Superparx to create a terrain park, with professionally built and designed rails, bonks, wall rides, a half pipe, and progression hits, with 10 to convert|45|ft|m|1|sing=on tables. Although some terrain features can be found all over Sugarbush, the primary terrain parks are behind the base lodge at Mt. Ellen and on Mt. Ellen's Riemergasse trail. The half pipe is located on the Riemergasse trail which is named after deceased partner Joe Riemer, who was an avid fan of The Mad River Valley and Sugarbush.

Snow at Sugarbush

Sugarbush receives an annual average of convert|262|in|m of snow, but this past winter of 2006/2007 it received convert|314|in|m during the 150 days it was open. Sugarbush has appromimately 70% snowmaking capacity, but some areas are intentionally devoid of snowmaking systems. The resort is renowned for its high quality man-made snow, and combines technology from Ratnik, HKD, SR, and several others to make some of the finest snow possible.

Sugarbush and the Environment

The resort recently switched much of its snowmaking equipment to low energy nozzles (125+ new nozzles). These combine a more efficient use of air and water to use less energy while spraying a better product. Sugarbush's Mt. Ellen was also the first resort to operate all of its grooming equipment on environmentally friendly bio-diesel. The entire resort now runs all of its diesel equipment on bio-diesel. [ cite web
url =
title =
author = Sugarbush Resort: ENVIRONMENT
date = 2007
accessdate = 2007-1-1

The Slide Brook

The area between Lincoln Peak and Mt. Ellen is called the Slide Brook Basin. This wooded wilderness area is comprised of over 1000 acres (4 km²) and is skiable only with a guided tour and is for expert skiers only. This is some of the best off-piste skiing anywhere and it is rumored that locals and experienced Sugarbush veterans frequent it when the snow is right. The owners have even been spotted in there.

Mountain Stats

The Mountains:

* Mount Ellen: 4,083'
* Lincoln Peak: 3,975'
* Castlerock Peak: 3,812'
* North Lynx Peak: 3,300'
* Gadd Peak: 3,150'
* Inverness Peak: 2,750'


* Valley House (LP)
* Gate House (LP)
* Mount Ellen Base Lodge (ME)
* Allyn's Lodge (LP)
* Glen House (ME)


*4,000 acres (16 km²) total
*508 acres skiable
*53 miles of trails
*11 wooded areas
*4,083 summit elevation
*1,483 base elevation
*2,600 vertical drop
*262" annual snowfall
*68% snowmaking coverage


*16 total lifts:*Quads: 7 (5 are high speed detachable):*Triples: 2:*Doubles: 4:*Surface Lifts: 3
*Uphill Capacity: 25,463


[ cite web
url =
title =
author = Sugarbush Resort
date = 2007
accessdate = 2007-1-1

Off Season at Sugarbush

Sugarbush has a full-featured health and racquet club, known as the SHARC (pronounced "shark"). The SHARC has three indoor tennis courts, four outdoor clay courts, two outdoor hard courts, one racquetball court, two squash courts, a weight room, indoor and outdoor pools and hottubs, steam rooms, massage rooms, a rock gym, and a dance/exercise floor. Private tennis lessons and group clinics are available, as are year-round group fitness events.

Sugarbush also has a renowned 18-hole par 71 Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course, known for its mountainous topography. It has a pro shop, and offers professionally instructed lessons and clinics. This year PGA champion Ron Philo, Jr. begins his inaugural season as Director of Golf at Sugarbush and Head Golf Professional. He has six exemption to play on the PGA Tour and has already competed in the Byron Nelson and Wachovia Tournaments. Ron is known as one of the finest golf instructors in the USA.

Sugarbush is also available for hiking and biking, with mountain terrain for any ability level. The Bravo lift will run on Wednesdays and weekends from late June through Columbus Day weekend and lift accessed Mountain Biking and Disc Golf will be available as will a convert|600|ft|m|-1|sing=on Zip Line.

In the fall, the Lincoln Peak offers Foliage Lift Rides on Wednesdays and weekends through Columbus Day.

Sugarbush is one of the most scenic and authentic mountain valleys in the Northeast and is near the two beautiful historic villages of Warren and Waitfield. It is only an hour from Burlington and Hanover, NH. Only two and one-half hours from Montreal, three hours from Boston and five hours from New York City. It is really a four season delight.

External links

* [ The resort website]
* [ Sugarbush History Website (not affiliated/endorsed by Sugarbush Resort)]
* [ 3dSkiMap of Sugarbush Resort (South)]
* [ 3dSkiMap of Sugarbush Resort (North)]



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