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The Sugarbush South base area in 2005
Sugarbush Resort
Warren, Vermont
Status: Open
First Season:1958-59
Vertical Drop:2600 feet
Standing Lifts:5 high speed quads, 3 quads, 2 triples, 3 doubles, surface lifts
Past Lifts:
Left: The Sugarbush South base area in 2005
Recent NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News:
11/14/2017: RFID Ski Pass Technology Growing in Popularity
10/1/2017: Lift Construction Continues as October Arrives
9/3/2017: Construction Ramps Up as Ski Season Nears
4/18/2017: Doppelmayr to Install New Sugarbush Chairlifts
SkiNewEngland.net Profile

The Tale of Two Mountains

Located deep in the Green Mountains, Sugarbush is one of the largest ski areas in New England by most measurements. The northern peak, Mt. Ellen, is one of the highest peaks in Vermont at 4,083 feet in elevation. While today Sugarbush is composed of two ski areas connected by a transport chairlift, it was originally two separate entities.

The Original Sugarbush

Sugarbush in the early 1980s
Sugarbush in the early 1980s

Sugarbush Valley ski area was initially developed on 3,975 foot Lincoln Peak for the 1958-59 season by the Sugarbush Valley Corporation. With a T-Bar and a 9,300 foot gondola covering 2,400 vertical feet, the new ski area immediately made a splash, advertising the longest lift in the continent and the greatest vertical rise in the east. The ski area debuted on Christmas Day that season with former Mad River Glen General Manager Jack Murphy in charge and part of an ownership team that also included Damon and Sarah Gadd.

The Legendary Castlerock Area Opens

While some ownership groups spend their funds up front and then settle into stagnation, Sugarbush kept the ball rolling as it headed into its sophomore season. A new Carlevaro & Savio double chairlift was installed on a peak located between Nancy Hanks Peak and Cutts Peak. Called Castlerock, the new complex quickly developed a reputation for excellent expert skiing.

The Valley House Double was installed for the following season, serving three new trails. In addition, the access road to the ski area was rebuilt.

With scores of celebrities vacationing at the resort in the 1960s, Sugarbush earned the nickname Mascara Mountain.

A Competitor Opens Next Door

Upper FIS at Sugarbush North in the early 1980s
Upper FIS at Sugarbush North in the early 1980s

Sugarbush's next big expansion took place in 1963 when the new Gatehouse Area debuted. Served by a double chairlift, the new area took stress off the gondola, while also helping work the ski area closer to a new real estate development.

Also that year, Glen Ellen ski area debuted on nearby Mt. Ellen. Taking a not so subtle jab at Sugarbush's greatest vertical rise slogan, Glen Ellen claimed the "Greatest Vertical Descent in East" via its network of double chairlifts.

1967-68 saw a massive growth in snowmaking capacity, as well as the expansion of the base lodge. During the winter of 1969-70, a young college student named Winthrop Smith skied in the Sugarbush Valley for the first time. He would return.

Sugarbush and Glen Ellen Become One

In 1977, the Gadds sold Sugarbush for a reported $4.2 million to Roy Cohen, president of coin-operated-laundry-equipment supplier Solon Automated Services. Shortly thereafter, circa the fall of 1978, Solon Automated Services purchased Glen Ellen ski area for a reported $2.4 million and renamed it Sugarbush North. By the turn of the decade, the enormous resort was recording nearly a half million skier visits per year. Initially connected only by shuttle service, the United States Forest Service endorsed a massive expansion campaign in 1982 which would have connected the two areas. The full extent of this proposal was never achieved.

Following the 1982-83 season, ARA Services Inc. (the food services company which later became Aramark) purchased Solon Automated Services, with Cohen initially remaining as Sugarbush's CEO. The aging but still famous Sugarbush gondola was removed following the 1983-84 season, replaced with two new Poma triple chairlifts.

Following the 1985-86 season, ARA Food Services sold Sugarbush to Claneil Enterprises (a holding company for heirs of Tylenol creator MacNeil Laboratories Inc.) for a reported $14.5 million. Claneil embarked upon the next big lift infrastructure change for the 1990-91 season, as three aging double chairlifts at Sugarbush North were replaced with new Poma quad chairlifts. The Green Mountain Express was Sugarbush's first high speed detachable chairlift.

Enter Les Otten

In October of 1994, Les Otten's LBO Resort Enterprises Corp. purchased Sugarbush for a reported $9.1 million. Following that season, massive changes were about to take place.

For the 1995-96 season, a staggering four new quad chairlifts were installed at Sugarbush, three of them detachables. Perhaps the most eye-catching of the new lifts was the 11,000 foot Slide Brook Express chairlift, which allowed skiers to go from Sugarbush South to Sugarbush North in only a few short minutes, without having to take off their skis.

In addition to the Slide Brook, Sugarbush South saw the installation of its first detachable chairlifts, with the Gatehouse and Super Bravo quads providing high speed service to the lower portion of the mountain. Not only that, but a 63 million gallon snowmaking pond was constructed. Overall, Sugarbush received an estimated $17 million in improvements that year.

The following summer, LBO Resort Enterprises Corp. was rolled into American Skiing Company. Large scale capital investments were focused elsewhere.

Exit American Skiing Company

Construction of the new Lincoln Peak base area in 2006
Construction of the new Lincoln Peak base area in 2006

During the 2001 off season, American Skiing Company sold Sugarbush to Summit Ventures NE, Inc., headed by Win Smith (son of Merrill Lynch partner Winthrop H. Smith Sr.). The new ownership wasted no time in improving the area, as it replaced the legendary Castlerock double chairlift that same year.

The following season, an inconvenience on Sugarbush North was corrected. With the relocation of the Green Mountain Express in 1995, the bottom of the mountain was left without a high speed lift. To fix the skier flow, a new Green Mountain Express was installed for the 2002-2003 season, replacing its short lived fixed grip counterpart.

In 2005, the Lincoln Peak Village was commenced at Sugarbush South. Phase 1 was completed in 2006 at cost of $40 million and included Clay Brook Residences, Timbers Restaurant, and the Gate House Lodge.

In 2007, the Vermont EB-5 Regional Center was rechartered. Under the EB-5 program, a foreigner can invest $1 million in an approved United States business (which must then create jobs), in exchange for a green card. With the Northeast Kingdom labeled a Targeted Employment Area, the minimum investment is cut in half to $500,000, making participating rural businesses such as Sugarbush more attractive. Using this program, Sugarbush looked to find the second phase of its base area development.

The aging Valley House Double was replaced with a new quad in 2015, marking the first new chairlift at Sugarbush in over a dozen years. The replacement of old chairlifts continued in the spring of 2017, when Sugarbush announced the Village and Sunnyside doubles would be replaced with fixed grip quads.

NewEnglandSkiConditions.com Reports
Month Average Percent of Terrain Open
December13%    (2 reports)13 Open
January70%    (3 reports)70 Open
February75%    (5 reports)75 Open
March68%    (2 reports)68 Open
Recent Conditions Reports
Feb. 16, 2017 by nordicgal
Packed Powder, Frozen Granular
Mar. 16, 2016 by mrv1516
Spring Snow, Variable Conditions
Mar. 7, 2016 by mrv1516
Wet Powder, Variable Conditions
Feb. 26, 2016 by mrv1516
Powder, Variable Conditions
Feb. 23, 2016 by rocket21
Loose Granular, Packed Powder
Sugarbush Resort on NewEnglandSkiConditions.com

NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News
Recent Articles
RFID Ski Pass Technology Growing in Popularity - Nov. 14, 2017
Lift Construction Continues as October Arrives - Oct. 1, 2017
Construction Ramps Up as Ski Season Nears - Sep. 3, 2017
Doppelmayr to Install New Sugarbush Chairlifts - Apr. 18, 2017
Lift Construction Projects Already Underway - Apr. 9, 2017
Sugarbush to Install Two New Quad Chairlifts - Mar. 13, 2017
Vermont Construction Projects in Full Gear - Aug. 9, 2015
Sugarbush Announces Valley House Chairlift Replacement - Mar. 28, 2015
REPORT: Sugarbush Moving Ahead with Valley House Chairlift Replacement - Mar. 2, 2015
Lift Woes Still Affecting Sugarbush - Nov. 21, 2014
Sugarbush Resort NewEnglandSkiIndustry.com News Page

Expansion History
Project
Season
Castlerock
Open
1959-60
Gatehouse
Open
1963-64
North Lynx Peak
Open
1971-72

Image Gallery
1959-60 Eastern Ski Map1960-61 Eastern Ski Map1961-62 Eastern Ski Map1962-63 Eastern Ski Map1964-65 Eastern Ski Map1965-66 Eastern Ski Map
View All Images in Sugarbush Resort Image Gallery


Lifts
Click on lift name for information and photos
Standing Lifts
Installed
The Castlerock Double in 2005
Castlerock Double
Poma
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
2001-02
Gatehouse Express in 2006
Gatehouse Express
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
1995-96
The bottom terminal (2015)
GMVS Poma
Hall-Poma
Platter
1980s
Installation of the GMVS T-Bar in 2011
GMVS T-Bar
Doppelmayr
T-Bar
2011-12
The Green Mountain Express in 2004
Green Mountain Express
Leitner-Poma
Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
2002-03
The Heaven's Gate Triple in 2004
Heaven's Gate Triple
Poma
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1984-85
The Inverness Quad in 2006
Inverness Quad
Poma
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
1990-91
The North Lynx Triple in 2005
North Lynx Triple
Poma
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1995-96
The bottom terminal (2016)
North Ridge Express
Poma
Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
1995-96
The Slide Brook Express in 2004
Slide Brook Express
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
1995-96
The bottom terminal (2016)
Summit Quad
Poma
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
1990-91
Sunny D Quad
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
2017-18
The Super Bravo Express Quad in 2004
Super Bravo Express
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
1995-96
The bottom terminal (2016)
Valley House Quad
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
2015-16
Village Quad
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
2017-18

Past Lifts
Seasons
Castlerock Double
Carlevaro & Savio
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1959-60
-
2000-01
Gatehouse Double
Carlevaro & Savio
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1963-64
-
1994-95
The lift line circa the early 1970s
Gondola
Carlevaro & Savio
Gondola - 3 Person
1958-59
-
1983-84
Green Mountain Express
Poma
Chairlift - Quad - Detachable
1990-91
-
1994-95
Green Mountain Quad
Doppelmayr
Chairlift - Quad - Fixed
1995-96
-
2001-02
North Link Poma
Heron-Poma
Platter
1971-72
-
1994-95
North Ridge Double
Poma
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1981-82
-
1994-95
Spring Fling Triple
Borvig
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1977-78
-
2000-01
The bottom terminal (2015)
Sunshine Double
Stadeli
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1963-64
-
2016-17
Super Bravo Triple
Poma
Chairlift - Triple - Fixed
1984-85
-
1994-95
T-Bar
Hall
T-Bar
1958-59
-
1970s
Tranquilizer Poma Lift

Platter
1970s
-
1980s
The Valley House Double in 2004
Valley House Double
Carlevaro & Savio-Poma
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1960-61
-
2014-15
The Village Double in 2002
Village Double
Carlevaro & Savio-Poma
Chairlift - Double - Fixed
1964-65
-
2016-17

Maps
1963-64 Sugarbush Valley Trail Map1964-65 Sugarbush Valley Trail Map1967-68 Sugarbush Valley Trail Map1981-82 Sugarbush Trail Map1999-00 Sugarbush Trail Map2009-10 Sugarbush trail map
View All Sugarbush Resort Trail Maps

Year by Year History
Adult Weekend Full Day Lift Ticket; Adult Full Price Unlimited Season Pass
2010s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2017-18$124.002017-18 Ticket Price Graph$1149.002017-18 Season Pass Price Graph9.3 daysNovember 162017-18 Skier Visit Graph
2016-17$97.002016-17 Ticket Price Graph$1779.002016-17 Season Pass Price Graph18.3 daysNovember 23May 12016-17 Skier Visit Graph
2015-16$95.002015-16 Ticket Price Graph$1729.002015-16 Season Pass Price Graph18.2 daysNovember 26May 12015-16 Skier Visit Graph
2014-15$91.002014-15 Ticket Price Graph$1679.002014-15 Season Pass Price Graph18.5 daysNovember 22May 32014-15 Skier Visit Graph
2013-14$89.002013-14 Ticket Price Graph$1629.002013-14 Season Pass Price Graph18.3 daysNovember 22May 42013-14 Skier Visit Graph
2012-13$89.002012-13 Ticket Price Graph$1599.002012-13 Season Pass Price Graph18.0 daysNovember 17May 42012-13 Skier Visit Graph
2011-12$88.002011-12 Ticket Price Graph$1569.002011-12 Season Pass Price Graph17.8 daysNovember 24April 82011-12 Skier Visit Graph
2010-11$84.002010-11 Ticket Price Graph$1499.002010-11 Season Pass Price Graph17.8 daysNovember 25May 12010-11 Skier Visit Graph
2009-10$82.002009-10 Ticket Price Graph$1469.002009-10 Season Pass Price Graph17.9 daysDecember 6April 182009-10 Skier Visit Graph
2000s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
2008-09$72.002008-09 Ticket Price Graph$1399.002008-09 Season Pass Price Graph19.4 daysMay 32008-09 Skier Visit Graph
2007-08$69.002007-08 Ticket Price Graph$1399.002007-08 Season Pass Price Graph20.3 daysNovember 17May 42007-08 Skier Visit Graph
2006-07$66.002006-07 Ticket Price Graph$1259.002006-07 Season Pass Price Graph19.1 daysMay 62006-07 Skier Visit Graph
2005-06$63.002005-06 Ticket Price Graph$1319.002005-06 Season Pass Price Graph20.9 daysApril 302005-06 Skier Visit Graph
2004-052004-05 Ticket Price Graph2004-05 Season Pass Price GraphApril 222004-05 Skier Visit Graph
2003-042003-04 Ticket Price Graph2003-04 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 30April 172003-04 Skier Visit Graph
2002-03$57.002002-03 Ticket Price Graph$1350.002002-03 Season Pass Price Graph23.7 daysNovember 202002-03 Skier Visit Graph
2001-02$55.002001-02 Ticket Price Graph2001-02 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 23April 142001-02 Skier Visit Graph
2000-01$55.002000-01 Ticket Price Graph2000-01 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 20April 29359,0002000-01 Skier Visit Graph
1999-001999-00 Ticket Price Graph1999-00 Season Pass Price GraphApril 23352,0001999-00 Skier Visit Graph
1990s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1998-991998-99 Ticket Price Graph$1299.001998-99 Season Pass Price GraphMay 2368,0001998-99 Skier Visit Graph
1997-98$47.001997-98 Ticket Price Graph1997-98 Season Pass Price Graph388,0001997-98 Skier Visit Graph
1994-95$42.001994-95 Ticket Price Graph1994-95 Season Pass Price Graph1994-95 Skier Visit Graph
1992-93$29.001992-93 Ticket Price Graph1992-93 Season Pass Price Graph1992-93 Skier Visit Graph
1991-92$38.001991-92 Ticket Price Graph1991-92 Season Pass Price Graph1991-92 Skier Visit Graph
1990-91$36.001990-91 Ticket Price Graph1990-91 Season Pass Price Graph1990-91 Skier Visit Graph
1989-90$35.001989-90 Ticket Price Graph1989-90 Season Pass Price Graph1989-90 Skier Visit Graph
1980s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1988-89$33.001988-89 Ticket Price Graph1988-89 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 24April 241988-89 Skier Visit Graph
1987-88$32.001987-88 Ticket Price Graph1987-88 Season Pass Price Graph1987-88 Skier Visit Graph
1984-85$26.001984-85 Ticket Price Graph1984-85 Season Pass Price Graph1984-85 Skier Visit Graph
1983-841983-84 Ticket Price Graph1983-84 Season Pass Price GraphMay 221983-84 Skier Visit Graph
1982-83$23.001982-83 Ticket Price Graph1982-83 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 151982-83 Skier Visit Graph
1981-82$21.001981-82 Ticket Price Graph1981-82 Season Pass Price GraphMay 241981-82 Skier Visit Graph
1980-811980-81 Ticket Price Graph1980-81 Season Pass Price Graph450,0001980-81 Skier Visit Graph
1979-80$17.001979-80 Ticket Price Graph1979-80 Season Pass Price Graph1979-80 Skier Visit Graph
1970s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1978-79$16.001978-79 Ticket Price Graph1978-79 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 261978-79 Skier Visit Graph
1977-781977-78 Ticket Price Graph1977-78 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 281977-78 Skier Visit Graph
1976-77$13.001976-77 Ticket Price Graph1976-77 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 201976-77 Skier Visit Graph
1975-76$12.001975-76 Ticket Price Graph1975-76 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 291975-76 Skier Visit Graph
1974-751974-75 Ticket Price Graph1974-75 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 301974-75 Skier Visit Graph
1971-72$10.001971-72 Ticket Price Graph1971-72 Season Pass Price Graph1971-72 Skier Visit Graph
1969-70$9.501969-70 Ticket Price Graph1969-70 Season Pass Price GraphOctober 251969-70 Skier Visit Graph
1960s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1968-69$7.001968-69 Ticket Price Graph1968-69 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 71968-69 Skier Visit Graph
1967-68$7.001967-68 Ticket Price Graph1967-68 Season Pass Price Graph1967-68 Skier Visit Graph
1966-67$8.001966-67 Ticket Price Graph$150.001966-67 Season Pass Price Graph18.8 days1966-67 Skier Visit Graph
1965-661965-66 Ticket Price Graph1965-66 Season Pass Price GraphNovember 201965-66 Skier Visit Graph
1964-65$7.001964-65 Ticket Price Graph1964-65 Season Pass Price Graph1964-65 Skier Visit Graph
1963-64$6.501963-64 Ticket Price Graph1963-64 Season Pass Price Graph1963-64 Skier Visit Graph
1962-63$6.501962-63 Ticket Price Graph1962-63 Season Pass Price Graph1962-63 Skier Visit Graph
1961-621961-62 Ticket Price Graph1961-62 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 2April 231961-62 Skier Visit Graph
1959-60$6.501959-60 Ticket Price Graph1959-60 Season Pass Price Graph1959-60 Skier Visit Graph
1950s Ticket Price Season Pass Price
Pass Payback
Opening Day
Closing Day
Skier Visits
1958-59$5.501958-59 Ticket Price Graph1958-59 Season Pass Price GraphDecember 251958-59 Skier Visit Graph

Visitor Memories
"I remember my amazing mother, Esther J. Shropshire, teaching skiing to hundreds and hundreds of children at the Valley Day Care in the Village. Nice added feature for a daycare! She was riddled with arthritis, yet when she skied, she was so graceful and elegant - you would never even imagine she had any joint stiffness.What a powerful memory to retain from many years ago. (1976 was the year she started teaching there.)"
Cherwyn Ambuter, Aug. 11, 2015
"I remember a family trip to Sugarbush in February 1971 when I broke my leg on the second day of what was to be week long trip. My Dad and I were coming down Middle Earth after lunch and were about halfway down when I turned poorly in some heavy snow and broke my tibia. I remember it seemed like the ski patrol got to me so fast. The ride down on their sled seemed forever. Then I was off to a local doctor's and had a full cast put on and we drove home the next day getting into a pretty bad snowstorm. I felt badly to cut my sister out of a ski holiday ... I skied Sugarbush, Glen Ellen and Mad River for years after ...Best,Danny"
DT Teaze, Dec. 29, 2013
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External Links
  • Sugarbush Resort - official site
  • Mt. Ellen - FranklinSites.com Hiking Guide
  • Last updated: April 30, 2017

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