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Sugarloaf, Maine

Date: February 28 – March 2, 2008
Trip Leader: Dianne Furrer
Trip Assistant: John Kelly

The Sugarloaf trip was off and running on Friday, February 28 with 31 participants.   The first group of participants met at the Avaya parking lot in Lincroft about 11:30AM.   Since the group was small, we loaded quickly and headed to AT&T in Piscataway to pick up the rest.  We only waited a few extra minutes for the two couples who were lost (probably at the wrong AT&T Knightsbridge Rd.) to get directions and find the right lot.  As we traveled north, the bus driver made an unexpected (for us) stop in Bergen County to top off the gas tank before crossing the border to the higher prices.  Due to the early departure time, several people took advantage of the stop to buy sandwiches and pizza from the convenience store collocated with the gas station.  Once back on the bus, participants returned their gear to the designated common gear seats and relaxed.  We were again on our way. 

Trying to please all types of viewers, we had wide variety (described by one participant as eclectic) of movies to view on the bus.  Unfortunately, the video setup fed the DVD signal through the VCR to the monitors.  Therefore some of the DVDs were “scrambled” and unviewable.  Because participants as well as trip leaders brought movies, we were able to easily replace them with others that did operate in that configuration.  The trip up was uneventful for most participants; however, those in the front were entertained by other drivers and their antics on the road.  We had a late dinner stop due to the some road construction and the uncertainty of the availability of food at the rest areas.

We arrived at the Sugarloaf Inn in time to unpack and settle in before midnight.  The room packets, including the lift tickets were waiting for us at the front desk.  Due to the late hour, while one person from each room checked in, leaving a credit card impression as a security deposit against damages, others volunteered to unload the bus.  Since the Inn is located slopeside, the ski lockers and access to the slope is up a flight of stairs.  A few participants who had not read the pretrip information were surprised to find out that, like many Inns, this has no elevators.  Everyone pitched in to help those who packed more than others. 

The Sugarloaf Inn has both a breakfast “café” as well as a bar and the Shipyard Brew Haus restaurant.  Many people gathered at breakfast to make plans for the day.  After breakfast, some headed downstairs to the lobby to pickup the shuttle to the main lodge area to rent skis.  Others headed to the ski room to gear up and take the short walk out the back deck to the SawDuster lift.  Those who truly wanted ski out, left the back deck and skied down the mountain to the next lift.  An adult lesson was offered as part of the package.  Many people, even the ski instructors in our group taking a break from their respective mountains, took advantage of these lessons.  Others took advantage of the daily morning mountain tours.  Participants lunched at various places and took advantage of afternoon lessons or the great powder and remained on the slopes until late afternoon.   A few people came back early to use the health center hot tub.

HSC hosted a “meet and greet” get together Friday in Dianne and Rebecca’s room.  (Many thanks to Rebecca for being a great sport since she roomed with the trip leader.)  As more than 80% of the group stopped by for the festivities, it was discovered that many of the participants enjoy “hot” foods like habanera and jalapeño cheeses.  About two hours later, the party broke up as people headed off to dinner.  Many of the participants regrouped downstairs at the hotel bar and restaurant for group dinners.   There we ran into the “missing couple” who had napped through the party.  Some ventured out to the night life; some closed down the hotel bar; others hung out in their rooms swapping stories of the ski lessons and the trails with the best powder; and the last group took advantage of the quiet lounge to talk and hang out.  Saturday was a similar ski day to Friday.  With the rave reviews of the lessons, even more people took advantage of them.    Since the hotel food was so good, many people ate dinner there both nights. 

The weather was “iffy” in a positive ski way… possibly 3” to several feet of snow expected overnight.    We were unsure if the bus would be able to get to the hotel by 8AM for packing the bus.  Therefore, we had a minor change in plans.  The hotel was able to accommodate extra changing rooms as well as a lockup in the lobby for people to stow their gear.  All worked out… The bus made it.  The hotel gave us an extra changing room.  (A special thanks to those whose rooms were designated by the hotel as the changing rooms.)  About half the group chose to ski Sunday morning while others decided to “hang out” and relax.   This gave us time to see the true character of the Inn.  There are multiple types of rooms, each  decorated to have its own personality and to accommodate a variety of guests – singles to families.  Many of us had lunch at the Shipyard Brew Haus restaurant and were surprised to see the number of non hotel guests who skied down to the restaurant for lunch.  We are happy to report that everyone showed up for a timely departure.  There were no accidents or injuries on the trip J (just  a few people with sinus infections L).

Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on your view, we received minimal snow Saturday night and had a relatively uneventful trip home.  We saw more movies with an unplanned theme – 2 with Harrison Ford and 2 with Peter Sellers.  The reviews were mixed… some people enjoyed watching old Star Wars and Indiana Jones movies (to get ready for the Indy movie released this summer); others either enjoyed or hated Dr. StrangeLove and the original Lady Killers.  Unfortunately, the DVD system rejected Roger Rabbit and Ever After.   We stopped twice; once at a relatively new rest area for a dinner of fast food.  We had an additional stop at another rest area for restrooms, and despite the cold, many had ice cream from the vending machines!  Since the luggage was segregated by pickup location when we loaded, unloading at Piscataway was quick and painless.  The final leg to Lincroft was so fast that we were unable to finish viewing Star Wars.  We unpacked quickly so that everyone was home for a good night’s sleep before work on Monday.  John and I would like to thank everyone for being such a great group and making it a memorable trip for all.


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