Jan. 12—CARRABASSETT VALLEY — Logging is expected to begin immediately on Sugarloaf's West Mountain expansion after the company received provisional notification from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
The notification allows for harvesting to begin in certain areas of the 450-acre West Mountain expansion, according to a news release.
Maine Department of Environmental Protection gave approval for Boyne Resorts' project in late December. The project still needs final overall approval, Sugarloaf spokesman Ethan Austin said Thursday.
The multi-year project, with a total estimated cost of $104 million, is part of the Sugarloaf 2030 master plan that includes new trails for all abilities, adding and upgrading lifts, skier services infrastructure, roads, bridges, parking lots, condominiums, duplex-style townhomes and single-family lots.
The expansion is to be funded with a combination of corporate revenue and financing through Sugarloaf's parent company, Boyne Resorts, as well as through the sale of the proposed single-family house lots.
The centerpiece of the new development will be the new "Bucksaw Express" chairlift — a Doppelmayr high-speed detachable quad that will transport skiers and riders from its base near West Mountain Road up to Bullwinkle's restaurant, according to the release. The development also includes 12 new alpine trails covering roughly 120 acres, which will increase Sugarloaf's total skiable acreage by nearly 10%.
The new chairlift will span 6,574 feet and rise 1,433 vertical feet. It will feature a 775-horsepower motor with an expected operating speed of 1,000 feet per minute, and will have a capacity of 2,400 skiers per hour. Estimated ride time on the new lift is 6 minutes and 53 seconds, according to Sugarloaf.
"Logging to clear the new trails and lift line will begin immediately, with all expected to open during the latter half of the 2023-2024 season," according to the release.
"This is the most significant development project at Sugarloaf since the SuperQuad was built in the mid-1990s," Sugarloaf General Manager Karl Strand said in the release. "We're very excited to get to work on what will be a transformative project for the resort and our guests."
The new alpine trails will be a mix of beginner and intermediate terrain, creating a pod of beginner and family-friendly trails on West Mountain that will rival some entire ski areas in its size, with nearly 300 acres of developed trails and glades spanning 1,500 vertical feet. The new trails will be cut this winter and summer, and will open to the public with the new Bucksaw Express in 2024. Snowmaking infrastructure will be installed on a majority of the new trails this summer, with the remaining snowmaking infrastructure to be installed in summer of 2024.
The project approvals also clear the way for residential real estate development on West Mountain, and the resort expects to begin the sales process of the first residential lots in early 2023. The new development will represent the first opportunity for buyers to design their own ski-in/ski-out home at Sugarloaf in nearly 20 years.
While the first phase of real estate sales will include 20 lots, the development is ultimately expected to include up to 224 new housing units, with a mix of single-family lots, duplex townhomes, and condominium buildings.
West Mountain real estate will be developed and listed exclusively by Mountainside Real Estate, which is the official real estate agency of Sugarloaf.
The West Mountain expansion is the centerpiece of the Sugarloaf 2030 Road Map — an outline for development at the resort through the coming decade.
In addition to the West Mountain expansion, the road map includes a complete overhaul of the resort's snowmaking system to increase both capacity and efficiency, village upgrades and expansions, and upgrades to the resort's lift infrastructure.
For more information on the West Mountain expansion and the Sugarloaf 2030 Road Map, visit www.sugarloaf2030.com.