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Sugarloaf Mountain Validates EV Charging as a Must-Have Resort Amenity with Recent Expansion

12/11/2023
Sugarloaf

Sustainability is baked into the Sugarloaf Mountain resort ethos. As a premier, year-round outdoor sporting destination located in Carrabassett Valley, Maine, this Boyne Resorts-owned property is committed to responsible environmental stewardship.

So when guest inquiries began cropping up about electric vehicle (EV) charging as an amenity on site, Sugarloaf management opted to test the waters with a pilot program. Resort leaders partnered with SWTCH to install a total of nine Level 2 charging stations in two locations on the property in 2022. These chargers build on the two Tesla charging stations and Level 1 wall outlets installed on site in years past.

This was the right move from both a sustainability and a service perspective.

Tom Butler

VP of Skier Services, Sugarloaf Mountain

“People coming here want to use their EVs,” says Sugarloaf VP of Skier Services Tom Butler. “And we want people to have an incentive to bring their EV when they visit. This was the right move from both a sustainability and a service perspective. We want guests to know that there’s a place for your car here.”

 

sugarloaf mountain lot E-2
Skier’s charging up their EV while they hit the slopes

Fulfilling a Long-Term Commitment

In 2021, Sugarloaf joined other Boyne Resorts properties on a sustainability initiative called “ForeverProject.” This effort pledges a reduction in environmental impact in all areas of resort operations, and net zero emissions by 2030. In pursuit of these goals, Sugarloaf has identified key actions to take, including harnessing new opportunities such as “on-road vehicle electrification.” Facilitating EV charging, then, fits perfectly within those goals.

And the resort has seen that guest interest in EV charging as an amenity has grown quickly over time. “Five years ago, no one was asking for this,” shares Butler. “But once we started seeing the demand rise, we realized how real this opportunity was. EVs and the need for EV charging is not going away.”

To help address guest interest in a measured way, Sugarloaf staff identified SWTCH as a partner for installation and maintenance. They were impressed by the company’s “surprisingly affordable” offerings, which allowed the resort to pilot a handful of charging stations to build the case for further investment. SWTCH’s networked charging technology is easily scalable, which will make future installations of additional charging stations simple for Sugarloaf.

“We decided to start small and get some data, and scale up from there,” Butler explains. “There aren’t enough chargers to totally satisfy everyone yet, but this helps us build towards that.”

Guests that visit from around New England are now able to drive their EVs to site, safe in the knowledge they have a place to charge up. “Once visitors knew we had EV chargers, they started driving their EV up here,” confirms Butler. “You can plug your car in when you arrive in the morning, go have fun, and then at the end of the day, you’ve got plenty of charge to get home.”

Even Sugarloaf locals have started using the chargers, too.

EV Charging a Clear Win-Win-Win

Currently, Sugarloaf charges a fee for drivers to use the charging stations, enough to cover the electricity cost as well as a nominal fee to help recoup the installation and on-going operational costs. That’s been productive, but Butler and his team strongly believe that this installation project is about more than making a quick buck.

“We don’t want to get rich off this,” shares Butler. “We want people to have an incentive to bring their EV when they visit. People want to feel okay about bringing their EV to the mountain and not getting stuck without a charge to make it back, and we want them to, as well. It’s good money — enough to recoup our costs — and we’re doing good in the world, too.”

That’s a mission that’s harmonious with Sugarloaf’s customers and locals. The state of Maine is known in the region and across the country as a sustainability leader. Earlier this year, Maine was ranked fourth greenest state in the nation by Consumer Affairs, with New England peers Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and New York — states where many Sugarloaf visitors hail from — ranking highly, as well.

Growing Sustainably for Years to Come

The first chargers were installed at Sugarloaf in November 2022, and have seen steady usage throughout their inaugural season. The upcoming winter ski season will serve as another milestone to assess how well the chargers may suit the facility’s current and future needs.

For Sugarloaf, EV charging clearly illustrates to guests, community members, and staff that the resort holds an ongoing commitment to the environment. “Charging is very visible,” shares Butler. “When I come into work, I see the chargers. My kids see the chargers. They want to know why we’re not putting more charging stations in yet!”

“There was never a question of why we should invest in EV charging as an amenity,” concludes Butler. “It was always a matter of, ‘How do we do this?’ and ‘How do we do this reasonably?’ This solution is good for everybody.”

If you’re also keen to bring this must-have amenity to your property, get in touch with SWTCH to learn more about the process, costs, and available incentives in your area.

maine-golf course
Set of SWTCH chargers in the parking lot of the Sugarloaf Golf Course for summer visitors.

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