Weekend at Loon Mountain NH 3/4-3/5

Don't know what it is about this place,  but it grabbed me a long time ago and is still there.  Thinking back about it, it probably started back as a kid when my folks took us to the NY Ski Show at the coliseum in Columbus Circle.  I collected brochures and I remember my brother and I filled out coupons in the Loon brochure, sent them in, and Loon sent us back a poster size trail map (picture no names).  That poster lived on my wall as a kid and was probably stared at more then any.  Just for perspective Loon at that time consisted of the 4 Passenger gondola, Seven Brothers, Little Sister and East Basin double chairs (all Hall lifts for you lift junkies, SB and LS even had the wood slats).  If I recall correctly they all were a kind of Burnt Orange color like the ski area Logo.

The old gondola cabin and ski area logo (burnt orange color scheme)

My dad finally took us there and while I don't really remember anything particular about that first visit, (except I liked it) there was a subsequent one I do remember.  I went to visit my brother at Dartmouth and he had heard through some source that Loon had the best conditions in New Hampshire at the time, so off we went.  Well that source may have been right as we (I) had a spectacular day and discovered one of my favorite places which I will discuss later. Lucky for me my wife really likes the place too so the trip (or 2) that we make each season has become an annual event.

Watching the forecast all week it was apparent to me that Lincoln was going to be above the big storm so I kept my expectations in check.  The big issue for us was getting there if we traveled Friday as originally planned, so I called in work booked a cheap room at the Days Inn near Franconia Notch and drove into the early am getting up there before anything hit.  

I had hopes of maybe scoring another ski day but they were dashed upon waking up to rain Friday.  My work left me alone but the wifes got a hold of her and so she worked till we had to get out of 1 room and then we did some shopping to kill time till we could get into the place we booked. (they were great and lets us get in early PM). Also took a drive past the ski area up the Kancamagus towards the pass.  Was raining at the ski area base (about 900') but as we climbed toward the pass it turned to snow.  We ended up turning around at Discovery Trail Head about 1500' in the snow.  (we could have made it up but thought better of it).  Yea we probably could have been ok skiing up  at North Peak but by that time cocktails and the jacuzzi at the hotel were calling louder then the slopes so thats what won.

Saturday March 3.

Nice little coffee maker in the room made getting up and out early easy and we arrived at the mountain at 7:30, 1/2 hour before opening.  Good parking, no ticket line, stepped on to the gondola at about 8:05.


Good parking spot 

First 3 runs were fast gondola cruisers. Picked Rock and Flying Fox were fast.  When I say fast I mean frozen and fast.  The temperature was right around freezing, but the top of the mountain was pretty much frozen up solid. The beautiful thing was the sun was making an appearance and on the 3rd run T2B down Speakeasy we found the bottom half softening and decided the right move was to stay down on Kanc quad.  It was as we had several just beautiful runs over in that area.


Frozen and fast Upper Picked Rock early am


Flying Fox


Pickaroon actually not too bad


Lower Northstar about 9:30 am starting to soften and really skiing nice


Blue sky becoming more and more as the the day progressed  :)]

About 11'ish we decided to hit the summit again and hit the gondola.  Lines were nothing but reasonable and we made it to the summit in good time and decided to go for Angel Street.  My wife loves steep groomers and usually Angel Street is just that.  Unfortunately it was not so friendly that run.  I would describe it as chunky and it while she handled it just fine it spooked her ever so slightly so when we got down to Camp III we took a break for the facilities and a cup of coffee.

About a 1/2 hour later we went back out and hit North Peak, Walking Boss was in great shape and we really enjoyed that run, Flume was decent too but a little slicker.  There were some seeded bumps at the bottom of Flume but they were roped off (No closed signs though) so I didn't try them.  Found out later they were for a kids competition Sunday so I'm glad I didn't.



Modern conveniences are great but can be a thorn as well.  3rd trip up North Peak the cell phone rang and the seasonal renters of the family place down in Florida had a issue so we did a T2B run down to the lodge were my wife had to go off (put a charge on her dead phone first) and take care of some business.  So I took off for some solo time.

That trip I mentioned earlier with my brother had taught me about my favorite place on Loon Mountain and I headed right for it.  The East Basin.  The woods were unfortunately out of play this weekend but the natural bumps were not.  The sun was out bathing the slopes and a few people were starting to take runs down the Triple Trouble, Big Dipper Combo.  I was one of them. 


The East Basin


Bottom of Big Dipper. Use this picture to note some of the sketchiness (On left there)


The Triple Trouble, Big Dipper Combo

Had a blast doing each one twice.  There was some sketchiness on both runs at certain points.  A couple of spots where it was better to take the tops of the bumps instead of the troughs,  but it was wonderful to be out there bashing away in the full on sun.  I love March skiing and those are two of my favorite runs anywhere.  Nothing better



Views up and down Triple Trouble.

Finally got the text that the work was done, so I headed down to the base to see the wife.


Pickaroon down to the base.  

I only show it because it was the last run of the day.  She didn't mention that the ski boots were off and the wine was in hand and she was holding down a good spot on the deck.  

Apres Ski

One of the things I like about Loon so much is the facilities there.  Camp III is in my opinion a beautiful facility and has a great deck for sitting out on and soaking up the sun with beautiful views of the Surrounding White Mountains.



Camp III

The wife had staked out a nice spot on the deck in front of Paul Bunyon Room in the Octagon Lodge.  Great deck, great location, and great place and good crowd.  Unfortunately for me I'm not a beer drinker (prefer hard spirits) but I got by with a Twisted Tea and enjoyed the scene.  I understand there is a regular bar in the other lodge however on a beautiful spring like day who wants to be inside.



The Apres scene in front of the Octagon Lodge

Lincoln, NH

This to me is an underrated ski town. hardly mentioned anywhere.  We stayed at the Lodge at Lincoln Station.  Not cheap but not that out of control either.  We had a nice room with a King size bed, large TV, fridge and as mentioned before the all important coffee maker. Because we are basically empty nesters at this point and we both enjoy Loon one of our criteria is to try to arrange for lodging with a Jacuzzi tub even if we have to pay slightly more for it.  This place had a nice facility with pool and hot tube attached.  Friday we had a nice tub before people were arriving for the weekend.  Saturday we were lucky enough to get in and out before the hoards of kids came and took over.  Overall very happy with this arrangement.  


Lodge at Lincoln Station (South Peak Trails in back ground)

Another great thing was that with in walking (or crawling if needed) distance from the Lodge is Gordi's.  Probably the biggest tourist trap eatery in Lincoln,  but I like it.  I particularly like the bar areas and all the skiing decorations they have.  The bar staff was nice and we met a couple very nice people there who were Loon regulars and had short but delightful conversations with them.



Don't know why the size is different here but if you look hard at the poster on the far left of the picture there is a " K2 Wants You" Uncle Sam poster.  Another one that adorned my walls as a youth and what I was trying to capture.  The little pub there is kind of like a little museum to me.  Really cool.

Only thing that bummed us out was we spied a little Ice Cream shop riding into town and thought, Oh that would be neat.  So we took off on a hike to get some after dinner Saturday. Of course what dopes buy ice cream at a stand in New Hampshire in the middle of winter? Wrong season, had to settle for Price Chopper and the hotel room after a good laugh at ourselves.

356 x 266 - 23K
352 x 266 - 19K
359 x 267 - 22K
287 x 215 - 15K
358 x 266 - 17K
287 x 215 - 11K
234 x 172 - 9K


  • Thanks for the report.  I'm a fan of Loon as well.  Love Triple Trouble, Dipper and some off map stuff in that area. Mountain gets no respect, but skis nice when all the glades and side country are in play.
  • Part II

    Sunday March 4th

    After such a good Saturday, the taste of spring, woke up Sunday to what appeared to be blue sky's again but the Weatherman on MUR warned us (Judge I think is the name) and Ma Nature and the White Mountains said that this is the northeast and "No sun for you".  

    Once again got there early, good parking, tickets, early gondola ride.

    Those fast and frozen groomers from Saturday morning reappeared and this time there was nor relief in sight.  We employed a similar strategy to the day before with a summit gondola run but quickly ran down to Kanc quad.  Everything skied fast and frozen with the trio of Blue Ox, Rampasture and Coolidge Street being the best.  



    Down and Up Blue Ox (run of the day Sunday)

    Got to admit, with no prospects for any bumps (and little sore from the bumps the day before anyway) we put in just a morning before packing it in and heading back home.

    Still it was a wonderful weekend at a place I really enjoy.  I realize its not every one's cup of tea and seen it get bashed by many. But `for me it was a major factor in my purchase of Max Pass the last 2 seasons and will be a major factor of my upcoming purchase of Ikon pass.  I glad they see it as iconic enough for the pass.  

    Still got more tickets so if there is still good life there after my western trip I may try to make it back up.  A spring weekend in East Basin would tick the season score back up a few notches.  Can't give up yet.


    Lake Hopatcong, NJ
    359 x 267 - 14K
    355 x 269 - 12K
  • Very nice detailed report Alex, no mention of chocolate chip cookies or brownies! Lol( I think that's what she had for the first snowjournal "south" ski day Dec'08)

    I need to get back to NH with my brother one of these years. Loon , Waterville, Att,Black, Cranmore and hopefully Tenny are on the to do list. Still living off the memories of Gunstock, Wildcat, BWoods, and Cannon.

    Looking forward to your western reports
  • Direct from Down under⛷⛷⛷
    320 x 240 - 56K
  • Are they still planning to build the gondi across the river to South Peak?
  • TomWhite said:

    Are they still planning to build the gondi across the river to South Peak?

    Yes, it's in the plans, but won't happen until Loon expands S. Peak toward town.  New lifts and a beginner area and lodge are approved, but Noone is putting up the $$.  The gondola will be short, terminating at the new terrain.
  • Thanks. They also need to replace/update their gondi.
  • This is a really awesome report!  Sorry we missed you in Lincoln.  We were battling the storm in SE Mass.

    My early ski years were very much the same as yours....totally enamoured with Loon.  It was one of the first areas I skied and I immediately adopted it as "my mountain".  My parents didn't ski, but even in my early teens I would organize bus trips or convince older kids to drive.  I would always plan it around Loon.  I have a some hilarious memories of trying to chat up teenage girls on the little train!

    Loon remained my go-to into my early twenties before transitioning to Cannon.  A which point I started to have some stupid, macho distaste for the place.  Now that I'm old, a tiny bit wiser, and have a place in Lincoln I love Loon for what it is. Which is everything you described.  There have been a lot of days when I leave Cannon in the early afternoon and go directly to Loon for an Apres beer!  It's so much more of a fun ski scene. 

    For next season we are buying the Bronze+ pass so that we can some nice midweek and Sundays at Loon.  In all these years it will be my first season pass at Loon. I'm really looking forward to it.  Especially after your report....
  • edited March 6
    Thanks for the report.  My wife and I will be there at the end of the month, so I'm hoping for plentiful spring storms.  I worked there during the '95-'96 season and haven't been back since.  We are calling it our "Down Memory Lane" tour.
  • edited March 6
    My second fav after Wildcat in NH. 1st time was December “68” Christmas vacation it was 12 below and it was still great. They have a great Sunday PM tick $47. My favorites trail there is Speakeasy it’s just a super narrow, windy, intermediate trail and it just exemplifies NE skiing. Oh ya, really super report!!!!
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