It’s three hours from Boston and boasts impressive stats for an East Coast hill: eight peaks, 131 trails, and 2,340 vertical feet. Now here’s the kicker: It’s not in Vermont. But the skiing at Sunday River, Maine, rivals anything you’ll find in its Green Mountain neighbor, and the vibe is as classic New England as it comes. Plus, the mountain just received a $14 million upgrade from its eager new owner, Boyne USA Resorts. The centerpiece of the development is the chondola (a hybrid ride that intersperses lift chairs among gondola cars), which will ease access into the mountain’s marquee sections, Oz and Jordan Bowl. In 2010 the chondola will begin shuttling dinner crowds to North Peak lodge as well, after the warming hut upgrades its menu to fine dining. Also in the works are plans for new accommodations and further development of the resort’s pod system, which segments the mountain according to ability. “Sunday River isn’t the mom-and-pop joint it was in the ’80s,” says Portland native Nate Hicks, 29, who grew up skiing the area. “I don’t mind the tourists from New York and Massachusetts either—as long as they stay on their side of the mountain” (sundayriver.com).
Stay: Bethel’s Sudbury Inn (c. 1873) offers a quaint alternative to the resort’s two mega-hotels (doubles from $109; sudburyinn.com).
Petits Alps> Exchange rates got you down? Quebec’s Mont-Sainte-Anne isn’t quite Chamonix, but the seaside resort retains a certain Euro feel. Test out the newly cut glades (called Beauty and the Beast) on the north side of the mountain, then retire to the Château Mont-Sainte-Anne, whose redesigned penthouse suites come with oh-so-French glass-walled showers overlooking the living room—mon dieu! (doubles from $197; chateaumontsainteanne.com/en).
'Dack Attack> Not since the Lake Placid Olympics have skiers in upstate New York been this excited. Whiteface will debut new terrain on Lookout Mountain, adding four trails and 1,560 vertical feet of Adirondack steeps, bumps, and glades on the resort’s northeast face. A new triple chair will also open access to Porcupine Lodge, which dates back to 1949 and will be refurbished as a warming hut (whiteface.com).
Trick Time> Former Winter X Games host Mount Snow gets its adrenaline fix once again—this time with the Mountain Dew Action Sports Tour, which comes to Vermont January 8 through 11. To prep for the high-flying spectacle—which will feature top freestyle skiers and boarders (including Olympic medalist Kelly Clark)—the resort will transform its 95-acre Carinthia face into one massive terrain park. Bonus: Spectators get to sample the park after the pros take their shot (mountsnow.com).