Sunday River resort has announced a new capital development plan, Sunday River 2030, detailing improvement projects they plan to complete over the next ten years. Some project highlights include a new real estate development on Merrill Hill, new RFID technology for chairlift access, and infrastructure advances like improved snowmaking and chairlifts.
“This is such an all-encompassing plan,” said resort president and general manager, Dana Bullen. “It’ll touch every single guest that we have here, every single team member—whether you come here once in the summer for a conference or you’re a loyalist who skis fifty days a year.”
Bullen also mentioned that Sunday River’s highest concentration of season ticket holders hail from the North Shore.
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The initiative is broken down into four phases. First steps include base lodge upgrades and building an observation tower on North Peak, short-term projects feature a new SnowSports School Center, mid-term goals include a new hydrotherapy spa in the White Cap base area and a mountain coaster for summer fun, and long-term projects include a new restaurant at the summit of Jordan Bowl—not to mention all the chairlift replacements and renovations, snowmaking advancements, conference space upgrades, and more.
Bullen said that he’s most excited about the new Merrill Hill real estate development. “It’ll be our most sought-after real estate, at the highest end of the market. You’ve never seen anything like it.” Bullen said they’re already accruing a list of folks who are interested in the condos, and will hopefully start officially taking reservations in the summer.
When asked whether ticket prices will increase because of these new developments, Bullen said that while ticket prices at all resorts tend to go up incrementally over time, those increases have a lot more to do with costs like repairs, resources, and labor compensation increases.
Sunday River will install their dual-frequency radio frequency identification (RFID) technology ahead of next winter’s ski season. While RFID technology has been in use at ski resorts around the world for years, Sunday River’s sister resorts, Big Sky in Montana and Loon in New Hampshire, debuted the world’s first dual-frequency systems last year, which can read both long- and short-range frequencies.
Instead of staff scanning guests’ lift tickets individually, guests purchase a card that goes in their jacket pocket and is scanned by the RFID gate system, allowing guests chairlift access. Guests approach the gate, the card is scanned, and they’re on their way onto the lift. It saves guests the hassle of scrambling for their paper ticket at each lift, and creates less waste because cards can be reloaded.
The Sunday River 2030 plan includes a sustainability pillar; the resort is aiming for a net zero carbon footprint by 2030. Bullen said that this aspect is crucial to Boyne Resorts, Sunday River’s parent company, and they’ll be working closely with Boyne to develop sustainability plans. “Firstly, we want to focus most of our energy into the efficiency of our snowmaking,” said Bullen. “We want to find ways make it better for the environment.” The resort has also hired a sustainability expert.