Editor's note: Today The Rochester Voice begins a two-part series on the Sunday River experience. Sunday River in Newry, Maine, is one of the largest ski area in the Northeast, comprising eight peaks and nearly 140 trails. Today we will take a look at the resort's ski school. Tomorrow we will report on Sunday River's premier lodging option, the magnificent Grand Summit Hotel.
NEWRY, Maine - Five-year-old Rylee Noel of Alton, N.H., was hesitant about getting a private ski lesson at Sunday River on Tuesday, saying she preferred to learn from her mom.
But after skiing several times and being unable to turn without falling down she finally agreed.
And after a two-hour stint with ski instructor Becca Rodriguez, it was like night and day, with Rylee actually challenging her mom to go down an intermediate mogul-filled trail on the South Slopes of Sunday River's massive trail system.
|Ski instructor Becca Rodriguez gives 5-year-old Rylee Noel of Alton, N.H., pointers during a private lesson at Sunday River on Tuesday.
"She went around the moguls and never fell down," said mom Sara Thorp, who normally tries to avoid all moguls at all times. "It was incredible."
After a couple of runs on the bunny slope Rylee and Becca were on the South Ridge Express chairlift and coming down wide beginner slopes like Broadway.
We watched as Becca would ski backward a few yards downhill of Rylee and give her pointers in real time.
Rylee was like a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge Sara had been trying to teach her for two years.
After the lesson we skied on beginner trails and slopes in the area of the South Ridge Express including the Mixing Bowl, Northway, Ridge Run, Double Refraction and Spectra, which included a fun run through a tunnel!
After a long morning of multiple runs with few if any lift lines, we headed in for a bite to eat and were happy to see there were no lines for lunch either.
While we skied nearly all the beginner trails in the area of the South Ridge, there are scores more trails to be conquered at Sunday River, which comprises multiple trail systems including those at Jordan Bowl (lots of double-diamonds) Aurora Peak (some novice), Spruce Peak (some double diamond, some novice), Barker Mountain (some novice, some double diamond), Locke Mountain (Some diamond, some intermediate) and White Cap (some double diamond, some intermediate).
Sunday River's expansive trail system is spread out over almost 900 skiable acres and 139 trails.
On Tuesday Rylee's being OK with skiing turned into a what will surely be a lifetime passion after the private lesson.
No doubt some day she'll conquer White Heat, one of Sunday River's many notable double diamonds.
On the way home from Sunday River on Wednesday we asked Rylee if she'd like to take another private lesson.
"Yep," she said in the blink of an eye.
Sunday River's Snowsports School provides a wide range of lesson options including group, small group and private lessons.
Becca told The Voice she's seen youngsters as young as 2 ½ come out and have a great time.
Sunday River is located in Newry, Maine, a little over two hours from the Greater Rochester area.
For more info on Sunday River and their ski school, including half-day first experience lessons, click here.
To view an interactive trail map click here.