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Loon: Dec 7, 2008

MichaelJ

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Date(s) Skied: Sunday, December 7, 2008

Resort or Ski Area: Loon Mountain

Conditions: Packed Powder, Man Made

Trip Report:
I spent the night at Carter Notch Hut at 3288', hiked out the 3.8 miles in the morning, and booked it over to Loon, meeting my partner there just past noon, where we picked up half-day tickets. It was in the 20's with a light snow falling. Guns were blasting everywhere, but not on any open trails except at a few junctions and down at the bases, which was great for keeping the highest-traffic areas in good shape. Virtually no lines at any chairlifts; longest wait was about 5 minutes for our first gondola ride and it only got quicker after that.

First run was off the Kanc quad and was a disappointment. I believe it was Blue Ox that I was on, and it was pretty badly scraped most of the way. No big piles, either; just scraped patches. I kept going from edge to edge trying to find where the snow had ended up and just couldn't get a consistent run.

Then we rode back up Kanc and this time took Grand Junction to Lower Bear Claw. That was pretty darn good, green-ness notwithstanding. Cohesive snow, edgeable, fairly even. From there we went up the Gondola. Exodus through the entire length of Bear Claw back to the bottom was another good ride, not challenging but consistent enough to get good practice and revive muscle memory.

Next run we took the steep drop off the back of the Gondola (unnamed?) then onto Haulback which is kind of a sucky, narrow traverse. I just don't like trails like that. There was a bit of fun to be had by riding high when crossing Flume and cutting a few hard turns in the fresh blow back onto Haulback. Lower Walking Boss was the gem of the day. Chopped up but smooth, not sticky, not scraped, really nice to duck down on and get some speed and turns. Brookway was another narrow get-you-there green with some bad scrapes. We did this loop a bunch of times, it was a lot of fun.

On the fourth, the sky was grey and the light really flat; it was after 3, so we decided on the way down to stop and take the North Peak Express up. On top the wind was gusting pretty well, but Sunset was the best run all day. The wind was blowing right into it, packing the snow tight, and we had a nice blast down before following Bear Claw around again to Grand Junction and back to the Governor's Lodge and the car.

We finished the day with delicious hot soup at Half-Baked & Fully Brewed in Lincoln.

This was my first time at Loon. I liked it. It's a nice mountain and I do want to go back. But I realize that it's a complete mob scene on the weekends in high season, so I'll have to return on a weekday when it approximates the nice, fairly empty trails we had on Sunday.

With the guns going the way they are, and reports that Upper Walking Boss just opened, I think Loon is doing really well with their "early-season product". :)
 

davidhowland14

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I'm a fan of Loon as well. I agree, that steep drop off the back of the gondi is fun until you get dumped out onto the narrow cat track. Crashed into a snowboarder there once last winter.

Weekends, just avoid the gondi, ski South peak and North Peak. GO into the woods. You'll avoid the crowds.
 

MichaelJ

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Tell me more about the glades at Loon. The forecast 1-2' of snow for the Whites when this storm blows cold has me tempted. I see Scaler, Mike's Way, and Bucksaw on the map. What are they like? I'm guessing nobody has skied Undercut yet. :)
 

davidhowland14

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most of the on trail glades at loon didn't impress me. I just ducked into the woods on established side trails, and some places I made my own paths. I ended up in a river drainage at one point, which was steep, tight woods, some almost chut-ish aspects, and untouched snow.



see the trees area on North peak between sunset and haulback? That's where we were. I bet after a couple feet (I hadn't heard that forecast, frickin sweet) those woods'll be real good.



 

MichaelJ

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Sweet!
Well, the forecast is constantly wavering, who gets the rain, who gets the snow, and who gets the crap in between, but if I can hit Loon on a non-weekend after a dump, I'll seek those trees!
 

Johnskiismore

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Undercut is fun, I did it last season. To get some really nice tree skiing you can either go on the front face of North Peak, or trek over to Black Mountain from North Peak.

It was funny skiing down haulback yesterday and looking up at where some of the 'trails' come out, and I couldn't believe somebody did the middle trail! We have (now had) a decent natural base but not that much! I was like :eek:
 

MichaelJ

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Undercut looks nice. I know about Black; I've hiked along the herd path on my way to Scar Ridge. I also believe I know where the front face of North Loon is, having hiked a herd path to its summit.

Looks like Friday won't be a good driving day, so Loon will have to wait for me for another midweek storm opportunity...
 

davidhowland14

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If you continue down the front face of loon past haul back, that drainage area between haulback and cant dog is fun too. Some places you might have a slight hike up back to the trail, but otherwise it's fun.
 

Johnskiismore

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Damage wasn't bad, at least snow got packed down. A few areas git thin, I just got off of the mountain:flag:

But, it is snowing right now, and the snowmakers appear to be getting rewady for battle as well!:snow:
 
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