S is for Sugarloaf

My favorite place to ski.  That’s the old lodge back (that us old-timers still miss) in 1979 or so.  Sure, there are more glamorous mountains, but the Loaf is home to me.  From 1978 to 1993 I spent winter/spring vacations at Sugarloafers Ski Camp.  Camp was a series of 1 week sessions covering the various school vacations.  One at Christmas, one in February and two weeks back-to-back in March.  I can’t tell you how many sessions I attended.  At first it was once a year, then twice a year, and then several years of World Tours (all 4 weeks).

Meet Donnie our bus driver.  Donnie drove for every single trip I was ever on.  The buses would start down in the Philly area and make stops along the east coast,  New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire, picking up campers and staff along the way.

The bus ride was long (8-10 hours), but a blast.  By the time we reached Kingfield you knew everybody.  This was especially helpful when I was counselor, since it gave me a chance to get a read on, and develop a relationship with, the kids.  At times a group of us would drive up together to get in an extra day of skiing and there was always something from those sessions.  It would take me that extra day or two to get in to the groove so to speak.

Most of the drives up were in March, that way we could take advantage of the camper free weekend and enjoy the traditionally excellent spring snow at the Loaf (most of their snowfall is in March).  The ski groups at Camp ran from A (beginner) to F (expert).  One March weekend when a bunch of us were staying over, it snowed.  And snowed.  And snowed.  Light, fluffy powder.  Stuff we NEVER EVER get on the east coast.  Especially in Maine.  Especially at the Loaf, where I learned to carve a turn on blue ice* on the Narrow Gauge headwall.  And (most miraculous of all) there was no wind.

Meet Group G.  We skied everywhere that weekend.  First tracks every morning.  First tracks all weekend since no one was there.  We jumped off of waterfalls and rocks in the woods.  We skied the trees and glades, they didn’t officially exist back then, but we skied them anyway.  Too. Much. Fun.

But the point of camp was the kids, the campers.  We skied about 5 hours a day including a 2 hour lesson.  We always skied as a group.  There was always at least one senior staff member with the group.  It was our job to keep it fun, upbeat, entertaining, and challenging.  Looking back it was a week of creative team building and self-affirmation.  Maybe that’s why we all got addicted.

Heck, I even knit a Lopi sweater or two over the years.  Those bus rides were great knitting time.


Sunrise at Sugarloafer’s Ski Camp, New Year’s Day, Kingfield, ME

12/31/2009 – Attention all former Sugarloafers – please leave a comment or send me an e-mail if you find this.  Would love to hear from you.  We are also planning a reunion/GGD birthday celebration for this spring, so please get in touch.

12/28/2010  ATTENTION SUGARLOAFERS! – Another mini-reunion is in the works for April 1st up at the Loaf.  To get in touch, leave a comment here, or join our Facebook group (just search for Sugarloafers Ski Camp).  Hope to see you there!

*blue ice – snow that has been compacted into ice due to repeated grooming trips of the snow cats.  It has a bluish tinge to it.


~ by Kat on October 3, 2006.

2 Responses to “S is for Sugarloaf”

  1. Sounds like fun, even tho I don’t ski. 🙂

  2. Ski camp! That’s so cool. I wish my mom had heard of it when I was growing up.

    Thanks for the definition of blue ice. I’ve never heard the term, but that’s exactly what it is.

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