Loon NH : April 8
I was starting my weekend at Bush, but didn’t know what was going to be my Sunday destination? Was it going to be a Bush-River weekend or a Bush-Back? Sunday River offered the most open terrain while Saddleback offered cheap skiing for other ski area season pass holders ($29) and had been on my “to-ski” list for some time. The geography of driving complicated matters, time driving to SR from Sugarbush was roughly the same as if I left from Montreal and I’m not even talking about getting to Saddleback. Other ski areas still open were Sugarloaf and Jay. After the season I was having, I decided that I wasn’t to over extended myself and settled for another I have never skied: Loon Mountain, New Hampshire. They reported 26 open trails, but were also selling their lift tickets at $61, however passholders from other areas got to pay only $49. I would probably save the difference in gas alone.
So Loon it is…
I wasn’t in a great rush to get to the mountain as the surface were probably going to be fairly firm first thing in the morning. After a late start from Riverland and driving a few minutes on the Interstate, I noticed I had forgotten my lunch. To make matters worst, I took the wrong exit…twice!!! I probably lost one hour and arrived in the Loon lot at 11am. A Loon lot on a mad year. Believe it if you can!!! A place where people aren’t ashamed to have a McCain/Palin bumper sticker and a state of mind where Loon, where a concealed handgun isn’t a big deal. Live Free or Die?
Making snow in late March and closing midweek on April 10. Did I mentioned it was snowing lightly? These are all part of the Looniness found on this Easter Sunday.
Eat lunch and headed to get my lift ticket at 11:30am. After paying $49 with my pass, I overheard that midday tickets were only $25 on Sunday afternoon starting at noon. What? Can I get a refund and wait? While waiting, I was informed by a couple from Sherbrooke, Québec that this deal is on every Sundays throughout the season. A great deal considering the fast lifts; wonder how many runs I can get in between noon and 3:40pm at last gondy? I hoped on the 4-passenger gondy and skied pretty much non-stop until the slow beginner lift closed at 4pm. Managed to ski all 26 open runs and rode 3 of the 4 open lifts. 17 runs, 8500 meters for $25 is a pretty good deal, almost as good has the 10000 meters for $1 at neighbouring Waterville Valley back in 2007.
Although there were a number of ski runs open, it was pretty late season coverage. Soft corn on the flatter bottom and firm and solid on the steeper North Peak. There were a number of British skiers, I was informed that the hill had 1700 the previous Wednesday which is pretty impressive this time of the year. That is the main reason why they are extending the season unil Tuesday, for the Brits.
The open terrain was better at Loon than Bush, however Sugarbush offered a steep Stein. Loon offer variety. I had less than 4 hours to explore. Started skiing on skier right off the main side then did the opposite before heading to the North Peak. Basically they were 2 open options down the Upper mountain before the options spread-out on the flatter lower half of the face.
Soft snow mixed with Thin cover was the menu of the day. Trails like Blue Ox which dipped and twisted down was fun offered that type of coverage which seemed to be overlooked compared to its neighbour which had more traffic. The park was a busy area with Seven brothers next to the beginner lift; all the Brits I suppose?
North Peak was firm if not downright icy and the ally of bumps on Lower Flume didn’t look to inviting today. I did a few runs here, but it didn’t take long until I had seen it all. The open options with the North Peak Express Quad were Walking Boss, Sunset-Haulback to Lower Flume or the longer tour around the Loon Peak.
I looked at my watch at the end of the day and tried to time it right. Gondy then NP quad then back to the gondy. I got at the bottom at 3:40pm, but the rope was already up and had missed the last gondy. I settled for 2 runs on the beginner quad for some last low angle soft turns.
The Loon that I skied today was a mainly an intermediate mountain which is probably accurate as a ski resort, however I liked to come back to checkout some of the soft steeper stuff off the main summit or the longer sustainable pitch runs on the South Peak.
Loon NH – April 2012