We get it. Day tripping to a ski resort is a precise skill, which only the very dedicated do successfully. And when the resort is tucked high in the mountains of Maine as Sunday River is, it can seem like the journey is just too great to take on in one day. But alas, it’s totally doable. Here’s how:
1. Buy your tickets online in advance
What’s one way to guarantee that you get a deal at the ticket window? Buy your lift ticket ahead of time. You can save up to 30 percent by planning ahead, and it’ll make your ticket window transaction much smoother if you have your confirmation email too. Better yet, if you plan to visit us often, snag a season pass for direct-to-lift access after your first visit.
2. Have a packing system
Recently, we covered the best tips for skiing with kids as told by friends of Team Snow’s resident mom, Darcy. Some of these tips include a color-coordinated, always-packed ski bag system to save time on lost mittens and forgotten poles, while others simply state that being prepared with snacks and extras of everything is the way to keep your ski day running smoothly.
3. Don’t be the only licensed driver
Having a plan to split the drive with someone else is key for day trips. If you drive up, let the other person sleep so that they’ll be well rested when it comes time to drive home. This is also helpful for corralling kids and getting out on the slopes that much faster.
4. Pick your base lodge accordingly
Do you need to take lessons or grab rentals? Head to South Ridge. Are you coming up for your kid’s race? Head to Barker. Do you just want a base camp to leave your stuff and enjoy your bagged lunch? Go to White Cap. Our day trip guide has all you need to know about what amenities can be found at each lodge. And above all, get here before lifts open to score the best parking situation.
5. Carry a River Guide
Our handy dandy trail map will not only help you find out which peak best suits your needs, but it also has information on where to find ski patrol, how to get to base lodges, and more. But if you’re more mobile savvy, use the Mountain Report on your phone to stay in the know on trail conditions and lift statuses so you can get as much skiing and riding in as possible.
6. Leave lunch to us
One thing that’ll slow down any morning spent getting to the slope is packing a lunch and subsequently lugging a cooler filled with condiments and the like into the lodge. And with so many awesome on-mountain eateries, you definitely don’t have to worry about finding an option that works for you, your friends, or your family.
7. Hit the road on time
If the commute home has you stressed, just get to the mountain early enough so that you get a full-feeling day in, and get off of the slopes with plenty of daylight to spare. This can include skipping lunch and grabbing a filling dinner on the go from Best of Bethel winner The Good Food Store or just taking quick breaks here and there to rest your legs between laps. Alternately, you can ski for 12 full hours when we offer night skiing during the season; it’s a great way to get in a full day while avoiding traffic!
8. Skip apres-ski (or keep it light)
If you’re driving home, you definitely don’t want to overindulge. But if apres-ski is part of your ski day ritual, stop for one adult beverage on your way out, followed by water and a hearty snack to keep you in the clear. (Or invoke your previous designated driver arrangement from step 3.) Remember, picking up your go-to ingredients for a cocktail is a good way to enjoy apres-ski once you’ve made it to the comfort of your own home.
What are your tips for making the most of a day trip to Sunday River? Leave them in the comment section below for us!