Birthday turns when said birth date is in October always comes as a pleasant treat. The trick involved with Birthday turns at Sunday River today was navigating the patches on Lower Sunday Punch. At times it was questionable whether today offered more tricks or treats? But the smile on my face while making turns down Upper Sunday Punch gave credence to the treat side of the saying.
For the third weekend in a row, Sunday River continues to offer the only lift serviced skiing in New England. After a deluge last weekend and more rain and warm temperatures this past week, no new snow making has been added to Sunday River’s dwindling product. T2 is hanging tough with nearly edge to edge skiing and a still impressive base with exception of the turn to the Lock Mountain Triple mid-station. Sunday Punch was much more variable to say the least.
Upper Sunday Punch started out hairy but opened up nicely past the first pitch. Conditions were variable but turning space was more than adequate. Things narrow down slightly as the trail continues and the snow eventually runs out as Upper turns to Lower Sunday Punch. From here your options are limited. Take your skis off and hike to the next patch until you give up or ski the grass. I chose the latter and easily slided down the grass to link almost every single patch save for the last two which got rather rocky. Depending upon your tolerance for said patch skiing, the down hike could be as short as 200 yards or as long as 500 yards.
Crowds were significant today at the mid-station due to most skiers and riders not being tolerant of patch skiing and down hiking. Which was fine by me as I walked on every chair while folks at the mid-station looked to be waiting at least 15 minutes, if not more. The crowd was largely college aged with many kids picking up their season passes today. Perhaps two thirds or more of the guests were college age. Many of the patch skiers that made it all the way to the bottom were the college crowd which, despite my birthday being today, made me feel younger than I really should given that I am still crazy enough to ski 300 yards of more grass than snow.
While I appreciate Ma Nature offering up significant cold and snow making temperatures a few weeks ago to allow for birthday turns, I would much rather not have had birthday turns and be heading into an arctic like start to November. Sunday River will not make next weekend if the rain and warm temperatures continue and without snow making, Sunday Punch is officially done until snow making temperatures return.