Loon Mountain Review and Photos

Loon official web site

March 2005

With more than 2000 feet vertical, Loon is one of New Hampshire major ski resorts. Most of my friends like Loon and prefer it to other New Hampshire ski resorts. I surveyed them asking 'why'. The outcome of the survey is: first - convenience of the gondola, second - better terrain.

Loon is not on my favorites list though. In my experience, Loon is the most crowded ski resort. I agree that it is nice to ride on a gondola rather than on a chair when it is snowy or windy but you also have to account for a lot of waiting time there unless it is a midweek, and I do not go to Loon in the midle of a week. Well, if your ski trip is also a date, then long waiting time is not a problem in all. Otherwise, too bad. Even buying lift tickets usually took me longer at Loon. The parking lot at the resort may fill up quickly and may be full as early at 10am. Driving back to a remote parking lot and riding a shuttle from there takes a while.

The location of Loon is ideal for a weekend trip from the Boston metro area. That is a major reason for the crowds at Loon. It is located close to interstate 93 and thus is easily accessible without driving by local roads. There are many orginized tours to Loon. Loon offers corporate vouchers exchangable for lift tickets through numerous partners. Some stores offer discounts for Loon as well. This marketing campaign works well and contributes to more skiers at Loon. One corollary of this is: if you buy lift tickets at a window at Loon, you are paying too much.

Loon is located within the Lincoln town borders. There are plenty of hotels/motels/condos within a few minutes from the ski resort. It is possible to find places to suit any taste and budget. The same thing is with restaurants, pubs, etc. A shuttle bus connect the ski resort with many lodging establishments in Lincoln.

In my opinion, Loon has the highest percentage of skiers attempting to explore the terrain they are not skillful enough for. Many at Loon prefer to use the gondola. The way down from it to the base of Loon is a collection of narrow blue or green trails. Accordingly, these narrow trails are almost always packed with skiers and riders of all ability levels including first timers.

Somehow Loon attracks young skiers and snowboarders. It seems to me that approaching others as close as possible is entartainment for teenagers at Loon. Many times I was approached by youngsters at close distance. I had to make quick moves to avoid the collision despite the other party pursuing the collision course. It looked like the youngsters enjoyed watching me managing the emergency. Being hit in the back is also quite common at Loon in my experience.

Loon has two base lodges - Octagon and Adams. They are connected by an old-fashioned steam train (see its photo below). It is quite an attraction for kids. The least crowded lodge is the Camp III lodge though. It is located at the base of North Peak. If you do not like the rush of lunch hour at ski resort lodges, head to the Camp III lodge. Usually, it is ok even at 12:00 - 12:30.

The bulk of Loon terrain is located above the Octagon and Adams lodges. Most of slopes there are overrated: blue is like green, black is like blue. I guess this also contributes to Loon's attractiveness. Once you are capable of skiing blue slopes, you kind of belong to the club and can discuss skiing with friends or at any social event. And this is easy to achieve if you are a beginner and try to ski blue slopes at Loon.

I like wide slopes without moguls, and so my picks there are: Upper Rumrunner continuing to Coolidge Street, Rampasture, Seven Brothers. Upper Rumrunner is steeper than the other two, Seven Brothers is more flat, and Rampasture is somewhere in between. Unfortunately, Upper Rumrunner and Coolidge Street are often closed to public due to racing events. Besides, these slopes except Seven Brothers are accessible via Kancamagus Quad lift, which is usually busiest. I happened to experience a half an hour wait there - no kidding. I guess it should be close to the Guinness world record, shouldn't it? Seven Brothers is served by a triple chair lift that is usually less busy than the other lifts going from the base of Loon.

North Peak is the place of the best terrain at Loon in my view. Both Flume and Walking Boss are wide slopes which are steep enough not to be boring for most skiers. When they are groomed, they are awesome. They may be all ice too, in which event one has to be a racer to enjoy skiing there. Since the traffic is heavy at these slopes too, they become icy quickly. I wished they were always groomed nightly and provided with artificial snow as soon as it becomes necessary. The recently installed hi-speed lift serving North Peak makes this part of the mountain even more attractive.

The East Basin terrain could be called classic New England one - steep and narrow. The steepest trail pieces can be found there. This part of the mountain may happen to be at least partially closed in the beginning of a season till there is enough natural snow.

Gov. Adams Base Lodge Kancamagus High Speed Quad
Gondola is Loon's major attration Slopeside Condominiums
Octagon Base Lodge
This steam train is a transportation between the two base lodges White Mountains as the background
On the slopes

New Hampshire Skiing

Video Clips       NH Skiing Quiz       Hi-Tech Ropeways at NH Ski Resorts

Waterville Valley Photos     Mount Sunapee Photos     Attitash Photos     Wildcat Photos     Bretton Woods Photos     Cannon Photos     Gunstock Photos     Cranmore Photos     Crotched Mountain Photos

Another New England skiing destination: Sunday River

See also Park City including
2004 World Superpipe Championship Photos         Park City Mountain Photos         The Canyons Photos         Deer Valley Photos

And Tyrol Skiing including
Kitzbuhel Photos         Stubai Glacier         Axamer Lizum Photos

Copyright (c) 2003, 2005 Alexander Sakharov