When Sunday River is 100 percent open, the mountain offers 870 acres of skiable terrain in the form of cut and maintained trails. But what you might not realize is that the resort’s boundary-to-boundary policy allows skiers and snowboarders to explore Sunday River’s vast 2,000-acre property, and like anything, there are rules and responsibilities for safe and fun boundary-to-boundary shredding.
Ultimately, if you pass by a set of tracks heading into the woods, you’re free to follow them, so long as there is not a “Ski Area Boundary,” or “Closed,” sign hanging on a length of fluorescent orange rope across them. This also means that the snowy line you’ve seen from the lift is fair game. Here’s the catch: boundary-to-boundary skiers and snowboarders who do not respect patrol ropes can find themselves sitting in the lodge with a clipped ticket or season pass. And because these areas are not maintained or monitored by ski patrol, recipients of rescue missions will be charged for these efforts.
So, how do you ski and ride safely in off-piste areas? Here are our recommendations:
- Never ski beyond your ability.
- Keep pole straps off when entering the woods. This lowers the likelihood of snagging a pole, and, by proxy, your arm, on branches and other obstacles.
- Keep your goggles on to protect your eyes from low-hanging branches.
- Always ski or ride with a buddy, or at the very least, stay within earshot of your buddy at all times.
- Have a designated meeting place in case you get separated from your buddy.
- Note the time you enter the woods and have a general idea for how long it should take to reach the bottom. If you or your buddy does not make it out of the woods within that time frame, be ready to alert patrol.
- Know your location at all times. Note the trail you drop in from and always have a trail map on hand.
- Make sure your cell phone is charged and you know the phone numbers for your buddy, ski patrol (207-824-5350), and a reliable third party who could be counted on to relay important information to authorities if needed.
- Tell a third party where you plan on skiing before you drop in.
- Bring one more layer than you think you need. You can always take layers off, and it’s better to have them and not need them than to need them and not have them.
- Have a high-calorie snack in your pocket if possible. Bonus points for having water on-hand.
It might sound crazy, but the best time you can have is a safe one. Sunday River ski patrollers are happy to answer any questions you might have about boundary-to-boundary access, though they might not share their favorite stashes.