Slope-Side Story

Boston-based newlyweds recreate childhood memories and craft plenty of new ones on the West side of Sugarloaf.



Boston-based newlyweds recreate childhood memories and craft plenty of new ones on the west side of Sugarloaf.

Issue: December 2019

By: Katy Kelleher
Photography by: Heidi Kirn

They met on the mountain.
Unfortunately, when Meghan McCluskey and Simon Giroux first set eyes on each other, they were both in other relationships. It wasn’t a rom-com meet-cute, Meghan explains. They didn’t know at first sight, but they figured it out over time. “We were just neighbors,” she says. “But we discovered that we lived within a mile of each other in Cambridge, so we were neighbors there, too.” At first, nothing happened—they just filed away the information and continued with their lives. Then in 2017 they met again. Meghan was trying to grow her local social circle, so she invited Simon for a drink at the Rack with a few of her friends. “He had broken up with his girlfriend, and when I heard that, I thought, ‘Well, we might hit it off,’” she says.

The elegant gray house was kept in pristine condition by the previous owners. The deck looks out toward Mount Bigelow.

Meghan, now Meghan Giroux, relays this story while I chew a slice of breakfast pizza at the couple’s Carrabassett Valley kitchen island. Nearby, Simon is boiling water for the French press. Meghan explains that, after that fateful beer in 2017, they began dating. Eventually they moved in together in Cambridge, sold their neighboring Sugarloaf condos, and moved in together at Sugarloaf. In the fall of 2019 they made it all very official at a wedding ceremony at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams. While their home base is a few hours away, their Sugarloaf home is quickly becoming their favorite place to spend quality time as a couple. Plus, Simon says, “I wouldn’t ski anywhere else.”

That’s not exactly true. Every year they make one trip out west, and they do sometimes trek north to Simon’s homeland of Quebec. But when it comes to the East Coast, Sugarloaf is it for the Girouxes. It’s where they met, it’s where they vacation, it’s where they bring friends from Boston and Canada, and above all, it’s where they ski. It’s the terrain, Simon explains, and the people that keep him coming back. “The people who come here all really like it—it’s not a one-day thing,” he says. “Most people I meet on the mountain are either locals or homeowners.” They’re serious about skiing, like he is. And, should he bring visitors who are a little less enthusiastic about black diamond trails, there’s still plenty for them to do. “The variety is great,” he says. Meghan chimes in, “I do the blues, and he does absolutely everything else.”

“We’ve been trying to fill the house with as much local stuff as we can.”

As the more serious skier, Simon tends to get up early and catch first tracks (Narrow Gauge is his favorite trail) while Meghan spends a bit more time at the house. Fortunately, their house is well suited to lounging. Instead of sharing a condo on the east side of the mountain where they met, they wanted a bigger place so they could entertain friends and family. (“West mountain is quieter,” Meghan adds. “And we have such great views.”) The house sleeps 14 people and has an open living room and dining area on the second floor—with windows that look out toward Bigelow and Cranberry Mountains—that are perfect for parties. “I was born in Montreal, and we had a home nearby on the mountain,” Simon reveals. “I’m basically trying to recreate the life I had when I was very young. Since I was three years old, I’ve been skiing—every weekend, every Christmas, all holidays. I was skiing all the time.”

Simon is the one who spotted the gray house, which is conveniently located on the ski-way. “It wasn’t for sale at the time,” he says, “but we asked Sam Punderson, our agent at Mountainside Real Estate, and he called the owners. When we saw it, we fell in love.” For him, the biggest selling point was the tuning room located on the first floor. He also loved the spacious mudroom, with plenty of space to store cold-weather clothes, and the garage, where he can hang his snowshoes. “We were out of space at the condo,” he says. Meghan’s favorite part of the house is her bedroom window. “I love to wake up and look out and watch it snow,” she says. 

Since Maine has played such a large role in their life as a couple, they wanted to pay tribute to the state in their art and furnishings. “We’ve been trying to fill the house with as much local stuff as we can,” says Meghan. They purchased their big, neutral living room couches from nearby Birchwood Interiors, as well as the rugged coffee table, which is made from reclaimed barn wood. On the couch sits a throw pillow by Maine Flag Company next to a classic striped blanket by Woolrich that Meghan picked up at Down-hill Supply Company. In the past few years, they have collected several pieces by nature photographer John Orcutt, and one long-exposure image of a starry night sky by Jamie Walter. (Simon’s also an amateur stargazer, as evidenced by the telescope that stands by the big living room window.) Although they eat many of their meals around the granite-topped kitchen island, when they sit down for a more formal dinner they do so at a stately oak table crafted by Rowe Station Woodworks in New Gloucester. “They make everything by hand,” says Meghan. “They helped us pick out the color and drove two hours to deliver it. It’s perfect.”

Above the stone fireplace sits the beginnings of Simon’s model gondola collection, as well as a pair of skis that once belonged to his grandfather. “He used those when he was a kid,” Simon says. “Those are the real deal.”

When they merged households, Simon and Meghan decided to keep the large furnishings neutral to provide a soft backdrop for their more quirky and colorful items. In addition to Maine-bought goods, the home is scattered with little nods to the couple’s travels, including Simon’s Russian nesting dolls (a recent souvenir from a business trip to Moscow) and Meghan’s framed pop art prints, which are from various American museum collections. “We really didn’t have to change anything when we moved in,” Meghan says. “The people who owned it before us were unbelievably meticulous. We probably did more damage in the first week than in their 15 years owning it.” She’s joking—the place still looks pristine—but she’s dead serious when asked about whether they’ll keep this place for the long haul. “Until we can’t do the stairs any-more, until our knees give out, we’ll be here,” she says with a smile. Her new husband looks at her and riffs, “Or we’ll get an elevator.”

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