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Loon 1/19/21

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,549
Points
48
Location
Spencer, MA
Resort or Ski Area
Loon Mountain
Date
Jan 19, 2021
Snow Conditions
  1. Packed Powder
Was sick for a couple weeks starting right on Christmas (not Covid) and between that and the generally shitty weather, today was my first day in 4 weeks. I followed the weekend storm closely and I have to say, with the travel restrictions in VT and Maine, trying to find good snow in New Hampshire is f*cking frustrating. It sucked reading the epic reports from places like Magic while almost every NH area was like "eh...we got a foot but still no natural terrain". My original plan was to go to Cannon today, but with them not really opening much I decided on Loon as I have 5 days there instead of 2 and they have a glade open! Figured Cannon is getting close to opening the good stuff and with a favorable forecast, I'll save those 2 days.

Arrived shortly before noon to what is my absolute favorite parking lot and base area in New England...South Peak. For one thing, you get to park about 30 feet from the lift (and on a level footing) which brings back old Mid-Burke vibes before the hotel. Also, that "lodge" is so basic but has everything you need and never crowded, while the main base is almost always a total zoo. I personally hope Loon puts off "finishing" South Peak a few more decades.

In addition to those things, South Peak is home to IMO the best terrain at Loon. While most of the stuff on the main peak is full of crossovers, merges, and beginners flailing around, here you get some nice long groomers with decent pitch, and you never have to wait in line. Unfortunately, with the recent storm being very elevational, the snow was not too great on this side. First run down Cruiser revealed a lot of icy and scraped off areas. Ripsaw started skiing similar, but I quickly discovered the ungroomed stuff on the right side was skiing much better as long as you could avoid the occasional rock. Seems like the stuff at the lower elevations had some really wet snow or mixed with rain as they were more solid than I expected.

Headed across the resort to North Peak to see if the higher elevations were skiing any better, and they were indeed! Walking Boss was a bit of a scraped mess with all the traffic it gets, but Upper Flume had beautiful packed powder. After the Haulback crossover it got a bit more slick, but there was a large area of ungroomed natural snow on the right side which had some fun bump lines and a few crappy spots, but a nice diversion. I also took a ton of runs over to the one open glade, Skidder. Sunset was in nice shape, then crossing Big Dipper on Cant Dog was a sheet of ice and not fun. Luckily no one was skiing Angel Street from the top because you had no choice but to slide way out onto it after flying down the ice above it. But, making it to Skidder was a nice reward. Coverage was better than I expected, and pretty soft to boot. It's a very short glade, but fun to romp through and it was nice to finally get in the woods this year. I lost a pole and had to take my skis off to go get it and ended up sinking to my waist so hopefully we'll get that one more storm soon to get everything else open.

At 2:30, I headed down to the main base and found no real line at the Gondy, so took a few top to bottom cruiser runs. Picked Rock, Flying Fox, and Blue Ox all had nice packed powder, probably the best groomers on the mountain that I skied today. Upper Northstar was closed, in fact other than Skidder and a couple ungroomed sides (such as Flume and Ripsaw), there is no ungroomed terrain 2 days after 15". Have I mentioned how much I miss Vermont?

Around 3:30 I crossed back to South and finished up with a couple more Ripsaw runs. Overall a fun day but I'm already going groomer crazy. I need some glades, natural liftlines, and hairy natural trails in my life. There's plenty of them 2 hours away, but unfortunately as a working stiff I have no way of quarantining for 14 days. So I guess by some miracle NH is going to have to actually get more than 15" in a month. Excited to get back to Cannon and to finally try Black Mountain when the coverage finally comes.
 

Edd

Well-known member
Joined
Nov 8, 2006
Messages
5,503
Points
48
Location
Newmarket, NH
BW has a handful of natural runs open, if you can tolerate the pitch. Staying overnight up here. Was skiing some ankle-deep snow yesterday.
 

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,549
Points
48
Location
Spencer, MA
I've actually really wanted to get back to BW since they put the T-Bar in. The lack of pitch doesn't bother me there because the expansive low angle glades are a blast and almost relaxing to ski. I feel like if I went there when I was a kid it would've been far and away my favorite resort, but only made it there ince while in college.

Unfortunately, the $99 price tag is a bit much this year. I'm already getting way less value out of my Ikon pass than I would have liked. One trip west will pay for it but it kinda sucks that Loon is the only place in the east I'm "allowed" to go to on the pass. Looking forward to my Indy days at Cannon and Black (and maybe will check out Pats if they get some woods open).
 

Bumpsis

Active member
Joined
Mar 25, 2004
Messages
1,026
Points
38
Location
Boston, MA
Unfortunately, the $99 price tag is a bit much this year. I'm already getting way less value out of my Ikon pass than I would have liked. One trip west will pay for it but it kinda sucks that Loon is the only place in the east I'm "allowed" to go to on the pass.
This is precisely the reason why I decided to push my Ikon pass to next season unless Maine becomes a bit easier with regards to COVID restrictions. Normally, I would get my 5 days + at Sugarloaf and something close to that at Sunday River, cherry pick some days at SugarBush and possibly go out west. Loon is my least favorite place to ski. Not a bad mountain, just can't take the crowds. You would have to pay me to be there on a weekend. But when I do venture out there (midweek) South Peak is also my choice set of trails when I'm there. But, not this season.
 

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,549
Points
48
Location
Spencer, MA
Yup, weekdays only for me at Loon. I try to avoid the Gondy until late day, but everything else is usually ski on midweek.
 
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