Loon Mountain, located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, bills itself as the busiest resort in New Hampshire. The resort has 370 acres of skiing available over three peaks: North, Loon, and South. North Peak has the highest lift serviced elevation at 3050 feet, while base elevation is 950 feet. The resulting vertical drop of 2100 feet is the tenth highest in New England. Annual snowfall over the past ten years has averaged out to 163 inches (4.1 meters) per year. However, in cases of lean weeks, 600 snow guns at Loon provide the resort with over 99 percent coverage of the slopes.
The Trails and Lifts
The lift system at Loon is capable of moving 15,152 skiers per hour up the mountain. There are twelve total lifts, with one multi passenger gondola, three high-speed quads, one standard quad, a triple, three doubles, and three surface lifts. There are 61 named trails at Loon, including eight glades and six freestyle parks (including a Superpipe and a minipipe). The freestyle parks were voted the best in New Hampshire, so be prepared to see many skiers going hard and going big.
Some of the best features of the terrain parks are the jibs you’ll find at the 32TF section, where down rails progression is the name of the game. Red Bull has branded some sweet rails for an amazing jib line on the Street Cred course, or watch for the signature blue rails to pop up in the main park. The parks don’t stay static either. Loon is constantly changing them up so that the line you learn one week will be entirely different the next. After all, learning to cope is half of what freestyling is about.
There is something for everyone at Loon, no matter how sharp your skills. You’ll find designated family zones around the park, with trails meant to be learned and explored safely. Enforced slow zones help, as the single and double blacks never cross a slow zone. Most intermediate trails are inside the family zone as well, although there are several cruisers that are the exception, such as Boom Run, and the aptly named Cruiser. Experts will find that the two outside peaks will be their playgrounds. North Peak has glades and some steeps that will curl your hair back. South Peak has an insane glad with Undercut and Ripsaw, a double black steep that will keep you coming back.
The Rest of It
Let’s be frank. If you’re looking for an out of the way secret ski spot, Loon isn’t one of those. Weekends are crazy busy, but the lift lines are never that long. If you’re traveling as a family, Loon has many things for everyone to enjoy outside of skiing. Some of these treats include a 700-foot zip line across a raging river, or snowshoeing through gorgeous trails with spectacular views, and even lift served snow tubes for all ages. For the after-hours apres-ski atmosphere, Loon again excels. Families and younger crowds should check out the Paul Bunyan for good food and a great view of the Superpipe. For something a little more upscale, check out Babe’s. The Blue Ox is also home to the Briefcase Race after party, which can last long into the night. So, no matter what your taste, skill level, or desire, Loon has something for you to make this vacation great.