Sugarloaf Sidecountry

Not your typical resort experience.

Because places worth visiting are worth the effort it takes to get there.

What is sidecountry?

Wild and remote like backcountry, but maintained and patrolled like inbounds terrain, Sugarloaf's sidecountry terrain on Burnt Mountain and Brackett Basin is unlike anything you've experienced at any eastern resort. Here are some resources to get you started. 

Sidecountry Basics

Brackett Basin and Burnt Mountain offer over 650 acres of backcountry-style glades, including steeps, chutes, and cliffs, all comprising one of the most unique skiing adventures anywhere. It's probably unlike anything you've experienced before on the East Coast, so before you set out, here are some tips to help keep you safe on your adventure. 

  • This terrain is new to all of us. Even those who have ventured into this area before will not recognize the new landscape. Familiarize yourself with the Sugarloaf trail map before you enter, and use your first trip into Brackett Basin to familiarize yourself with the area.

  • If you're unfamiliar with Brackett Basin and Burnt Mountain, unsure if you're ready to try it out, or have any questions before you venture in, stop in at the Ski Patrol building on Spillway Crosscut and talk with a patroller.

  • There is a giant sign at the entrance to Brackett Basin with a safety message. Read it. Keep your eyes open for trail signs marking the different glades, and orange discs marking the ski area boundary.

  • The 3 & 3 Rule is simple: Never enter Brackett Basin with a group of fewer than 3 people, and never enter Brackett Basin after 3pm.

  • Make a plan with your group for where you will meet if you get separated. That way if you get lost and don't show up, your friends can notify Ski Patrol.

  • When you're in Brackett Basin, make mental notes of distinct landmarks as you pass them, and be aware of your location. If you should become lost, this will help you identify your location to Sugarloaf Ski Patrol.

  • The Sugarloaf ski area boundary is marked with brightly colored orange signs. When skiing or riding in Brackett Basin or on Burnt Mountain, you should actively look for these boundary markers. Skiing outside of Sugarloaf's boundary is strictly prohibited.

  • A cell phone will not save you in every situation, and there is no guarantee you will have service, but it can be a valuable tool if you ever need to call for help.

Uphill Access Guidelines

Sugarloaf embraces uphill skinning and snowshoeing, both in our Sidecountry terrain and within the our resort trail network. For the safety of our all guests, here are some do's and don'ts for uphill travel. 

  • Ski Patrol reserves the right to close the mountain to these activities at any time due to severe weather, dangerous surface conditions, or other factors. Also, Ski Patrol may, at any time, change the approved route of uphill travel based on mountain operations.

    Any changes to these policies due to weather, mountain operations, or other factors will be posted on a signboard located on the trail map sign at the bottom of the SuperQuad. All climbers should plan to check this board prior to setting out.  Ski Patrol will be at the bottom of Double Runner Chair from 6:45-7:00am to answer any questions.

  • All uphill skiers and riders are required to have a valid season pass or day ticket, and it must be visible. If you do not intend to ride a lift at any point during the day, you can purchase an Uphill Access day ticket for $10 at Guest Services.

    • The mountain opens to uphill travel at 7am, and to downhill traffic at 8:30am. Please note that no downhill traffic is permitted prior to 8:30 am. As always, downhill traffic is limited to open terrain only.
    • Ski Patrol clears the mountain of all guests and employees at the end of operating hours every day. If you are on the mountain at this time you will be asked to ski down.
    • After 8:30am, uphill travel is limited to Windrow and terrain west of Windrow from the base of the mountain to Bullwinkle's, and the Timberline trail from Bullwinkle's to Spillway Crosscut or the Summit. Please use the roped area on the east side of the Timberline trail when travelling up the steep pitch above Bullwinkle's. 
    • There is a designated uphill skin track to the west of Glancer, originating at the bottom of the trail and ending at Horseshoe. This is the suggested uphill route. (Look for signs.)
    • Bracket Basin and Burnt Mountain are also open to uphill traffic when they are designated as open by Ski Patrol.
    • Spillway Crosscut is closed to uphill traffic at all times.
    • Climbers who wish to skin above Spillway Crosscut are required to check in with Ski Patrol at the top of the Skyline lift.
    • When travelling uphill, please climb in single file and ensure that you are visible to downhill traffic at all times.
    • Uphill travel equipment is required to have metal edges, a restraining device or brakes, and an industry-approved binding. (AT skis, tele skis, splitboards, and snowhoes are all fine.)
    • Nordic equipment is not permitted above the Base Lodge.
    • Bicycles are not currently permitted on Sugarloaf's alpine trail network, except as part of designated, resort endorsed bicycle events.
  • Sorry, for the safety of pets and other guests, pets are not permitted on the mountain trail network during winter months above the base lodge.