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Loon South Peak Expansion

thebigo

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Did you happen to notice if they have cleared out Undercut yet ? Was hoping to ski it while still gladed, but I haven’t noticed it being open all year.
Noticed today they started logging the bottom of undercut at some point during the last week. Massive amount of work done over the last few months. South expansion is exactly what they need, parking nearly at capacity today but zero lift lines, busy but not overrun lodges, hill only felt congested at usual choke points.

Hopefully beyond walking boss is next but probably want a green off the top of south.

Today was decent after a terrible surface Friday, not a true spring skiing day but natural snow and warmer temps made for a much improved day. They could easily make may if it stays cold but 4/16 appears to be the end.
 

deadheadskier

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I wish someone would step up in NH for the weekend of 4/22. Pretty lame that every ski area in the state is done by 4/16. Traditionally Cat would have been open 4/22 weekend and possibly 4/29 if the snow was there.

I wish Boyne would flip the SR and Loon schedules given the Maine skiers have Sugarloaf going until 4/30. But, they've always run SR longer than Loon, so that likely doesn't happen. One would think that given Loon is over an hour closer to Boston, they potentially would draw more people than SR the weekend of 4/22.
 

thebigo

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Loon could contract to 7 bros/north and still offer a good product weekends into may, but think about it from Boyne perspective: only passholders showing up, passholders are more likely to book lodging at SR than loon, more likely still to book lodging at SL than SR. Passholders staying on mountain are more likely to drink and eat on mountain. SR has been blowing up my inbox almost daily with so called special lodging deals that best I can tell are the same price as the website - approaching $1000 all in for a one bedroom this weekend at the grand.
 

bigbob

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Noticed today they started logging the bottom of undercut at some point during the last week. Massive amount of work done over the last few months. South expansion is exactly what they need, parking nearly at capacity today but zero lift lines, busy but not overrun lodges, hill only felt congested at usual choke points.

Hopefully beyond walking boss is next but probably want a green off the top of south.

Today was decent after a terrible surface Friday, not a true spring skiing day but natural snow and warmer temps made for a much improved day. They could easily make may if it stays cold but 4/16 appears to be the end.
South needs a real lodge-built ASAP. The tent is getting tired and with limited seating after Cisco took it over it sucks for booting up. Loon is going to re do the Govenor's Lodge at some point, but this should be done after the South lodge is completed.
 

machski

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I am curious to see how this South expansion may change their South operating schedule. Drives me nuts that this week is still fully within March but no South Peak operations Mon-Thurs. Cannon still running Mittersill and Waterville still running Green. Granted, Green is not as separate as South at Loon, but Mittersill is a bit comparable, though without need of a second connector lift. If South becomes Loon's true beginner terrain area, will that cause them to keep South running more often and longer?
 

Tin Woodsman

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South needs a real lodge-built ASAP. The tent is getting tired and with limited seating after Cisco took it over it sucks for booting up. Loon is going to re do the Govenor's Lodge at some point, but this should be done after the South lodge is completed.

I am curious to see how this South expansion may change their South operating schedule. Drives me nuts that this week is still fully within March but no South Peak operations Mon-Thurs. Cannon still running Mittersill and Waterville still running Green. Granted, Green is not as separate as South at Loon, but Mittersill is a bit comparable, though without need of a second connector lift. If South becomes Loon's true beginner terrain area, will that cause them to keep South running more often and longer?

Both good points, and something that's been on my mind as well. South Peak is invariably a positive for the beginner experience at Loon, but there are a number of implications here. Are they going to adjust the operating posture at South to provide a more consistent experience for the beginner skiers they are trying to attract? What infrastructure will they place at that lift? Beginners by definition need more services - rentals, lessons, information/way finding and a place to warm up when they've hit their limit. Are they going to invest in skier services at that lift/lot complex? Will they instead do so at the current South Peak base? How do they get those beginners over to the heart of the mountain in West Basin? Will that be a base to base shuttle? A 3-4 lift crusade with a top to bottom run?

Seems like this complex is awkwardly situated out on its own until/unless they make meaningful investments in South Peak base infrastructure and, longer-term, improved connectivity between the two sides of the resort.
 

thebigo

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thebigo

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Both good points, and something that's been on my mind as well. South Peak is invariably a positive for the beginner experience at Loon, but there are a number of implications here. Are they going to adjust the operating posture at South to provide a more consistent experience for the beginner skiers they are trying to attract? What infrastructure will they place at that lift? Beginners by definition need more services - rentals, lessons, information/way finding and a place to warm up when they've hit their limit. Are they going to invest in skier services at that lift/lot complex? Will they instead do so at the current South Peak base? How do they get those beginners over to the heart of the mountain in West Basin? Will that be a base to base shuttle? A 3-4 lift crusade with a top to bottom run?

Seems like this complex is awkwardly situated out on its own until/unless they make meaningful investments in South Peak base infrastructure and, longer-term, improved connectivity between the two sides of the resort.


in addition, LMRC would construct a 6,000 square foot base lodge, entirely on private land, near the existing overflow parking area.


Speculation is they move all beginner services over to the new south base.
Current south base stays a bar/apres type place and decent access point on busy days.
West basin gets redeveloped with a focus on real estate.
lincoln gets upgraded.
A beginner trail is cut form the top of south to the new lodge
Some sort of conveyance is added across the river, possibly reusing the gondola cabins when it is replaced?

Personally looking forward the north peak trail expansion and lift upgrade, sucks when north is down during storm and the only decent trees are either inaccessible or a slow double is required to lap.

From their website:

NEAR-TERM PROJECTS THRU 2025​

We are consistently listening to feedback and strive to improve our guest experience across the resort. As a result, we have prioritized the following innovations and upgrades throughout the resort:
  • A Reimagined West Basin
  • South Peak Expansion
  • Learning Center at South Peak
  • Continued Installation of Semi-Automated KLIK Hydrants
  • Upgrade Lincoln Express Quad
  • Summit Café Expansion
  • North Peak Trail Expansion
  • New Summer Attraction
 

Tin Woodsman

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Thanks for this. All of that sounds reasonable - let's see if/when those ideas get actioned.

I think you'll need to dial back your expectations w/r/t North Peak. Per the Loon episode on The Storm podcast, it sounds like there isn't going to be a significant expansion over there - for example nothing to the East of Walking Boss should really be expected. Might be some infill trails taking out existing mapped/unmapped glades but I wouldn't hold your breath for a step change improvement in that pod.
 

ceo

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Both good points, and something that's been on my mind as well. South Peak is invariably a positive for the beginner experience at Loon, but there are a number of implications here. Are they going to adjust the operating posture at South to provide a more consistent experience for the beginner skiers they are trying to attract? What infrastructure will they place at that lift? Beginners by definition need more services - rentals, lessons, information/way finding and a place to warm up when they've hit their limit. Are they going to invest in skier services at that lift/lot complex? Will they instead do so at the current South Peak base? How do they get those beginners over to the heart of the mountain in West Basin? Will that be a base to base shuttle? A 3-4 lift crusade with a top to bottom run?
Looking at the trail map, I'm struck by how few green-circle trails they currently have. Two short lifts at opposite ends of the base, each with one trail, plus one route from the top of the gondola and the runout from East Basin. No wonder they're putting some investment in their beginner terrain. So your answer for how they're going to get beginners to the main mountain is, they're not, because there's almost nothing for them over there.
 

xlr8r

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Loon has lacked proper learn to ski terrain. Once a beginner graduates from the magic carpet, the next step is snubber off the kissin cousin double, which has to zig zag down the mountain with sharp corners in order to maintain an easy grade. Bear claw is a great trail on its own, but all the trails accessed off of it plus going through grand junction make it a challenge for beginners. Just doing lower bear claw from 7 brothers is a decent beginner run, but even that is segregated from snubber, there is no way for beginners to ski back to the Governor Adams base, so beginners end up having to take the railroad between the 2 base areas. The new South Peak area will be a game changer for beginners at Loon. The question remains as to how long it will take for a proper lodge to be built there with ski school facilities. The GM spoke on the Storm podcast that in the future they will still have some ski school at Governor Adams base, but primarily it will move to South Peak. So I expect kissin cousin and snubber to remain as is.

The current tent at the bottom of Lincoln Express is now over 15 years old and has to be near the end of its service life, but they did just renovate it for Cisco. I think the original plan was to build big resort lodging development there, something like Jackson Gore at Okemo or Spruce Peak at Stowe. But with the collapse of real estate immediately after South was built, the lodging development never happened. The tent was probably intended to only be there for a couple years until the base was developed permanently.

I doubt a green trail will soon be cut from the top of Lincoln as I think cruiser is already up against their land boundary.

Looks like the gondola replacement is still a number of years away. Now that Kanc and 7 brothers have been replaced, I feel like I hear more complaints about the Gondola now more than ever before. It is now the only lift that gets long lines, and seems like a old piece of crap compared to the Kanc 8.
 

machski

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Loon has lacked proper learn to ski terrain. Once a beginner graduates from the magic carpet, the next step is snubber off the kissin cousin double, which has to zig zag down the mountain with sharp corners in order to maintain an easy grade. Bear claw is a great trail on its own, but all the trails accessed off of it plus going through grand junction make it a challenge for beginners. Just doing lower bear claw from 7 brothers is a decent beginner run, but even that is segregated from snubber, there is no way for beginners to ski back to the Governor Adams base, so beginners end up having to take the railroad between the 2 base areas. The new South Peak area will be a game changer for beginners at Loon. The question remains as to how long it will take for a proper lodge to be built there with ski school facilities. The GM spoke on the Storm podcast that in the future they will still have some ski school at Governor Adams base, but primarily it will move to South Peak. So I expect kissin cousin and snubber to remain as is.

The current tent at the bottom of Lincoln Express is now over 15 years old and has to be near the end of its service life, but they did just renovate it for Cisco. I think the original plan was to build big resort lodging development there, something like Jackson Gore at Okemo or Spruce Peak at Stowe. But with the collapse of real estate immediately after South was built, the lodging development never happened. The tent was probably intended to only be there for a couple years until the base was developed permanently.

I doubt a green trail will soon be cut from the top of Lincoln as I think cruiser is already up against their land boundary.

Looks like the gondola replacement is still a number of years away. Now that Kanc and 7 brothers have been replaced, I feel like I hear more complaints about the Gondola now more than ever before. It is now the only lift that gets long lines, and seems like a old piece of crap compared to the Kanc 8.
Well, will be interesting to see how they rate the trail that gets cut from Undercut's current glade. There is some pitch in there, but also a bit of width to allow them to swing that across the fall line rather than straight down it. Could be the green route answer, because Cruiser after the upper drops is more a Green than a Blue IMHO. If that route becomes a Green, there is the graduation path and taking Tote over to the main mountain puts you right onto Bear Claw,

As to the Gondola, yeah it is getting old. Those tripod tower footings have to be nearing the end of those foundation's structural lives. They are original from the original gondi. Those cabins are quite new, I think 4 years ago or so, and not at a very cheap cost. Not sure Loon or Boyne intend to put a lift across the river at South, but I know the RiverWalk resort had planned a pulse gondi from its backyard across the river to the original South base plan (the old one that included 2 FGQ's in differing alignment from the new plan). Given they are underway with a big Phase 2 build, I wonder if that plan is back on for them. They did sell their first phase units with that as an amenity.
 

t-to-b

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Well, will be interesting to see how they rate the trail that gets cut from Undercut's current glade. There is some pitch in there, but also a bit of width to allow them to swing that across the fall line rather than straight down it. Could be the green route answer, because Cruiser after the upper drops is more a Green than a Blue IMHO. If that route becomes a Green, there is the graduation path and taking Tote over to the main mountain puts you right onto Bear Claw,

As to the Gondola, yeah it is getting old. Those tripod tower footings have to be nearing the end of those foundation's structural lives. They are original from the original gondi. Those cabins are quite new, I think 4 years ago or so, and not at a very cheap cost. Not sure Loon or Boyne intend to put a lift across the river at South, but I know the RiverWalk resort had planned a pulse gondi from its backyard across the river to the original South base plan (the old one that included 2 FGQ's in differing alignment from the new plan). Given they are underway with a big Phase 2 build, I wonder if that plan is back on for them. They did sell their first phase units with that as an amenity.
Replacing that gondola is going to be a logistical nightmare. The lift is built directly into the building so removing the current lift is not an easy task without demoing the lodge as well. It also runs all summer so losing a season of operation is not ideal.
 

machski

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Replacing that gondola is going to be a logistical nightmare. The lift is built directly into the building so removing the current lift is not an easy task without demoing the lodge as well. It also runs all summer so losing a season of operation is not ideal.
All true, but the Kanc8 runs all summer as well. Granted not to the summit. Unless they somehow build a replacement in a different alignment. They could do a multi year build as well, and preset tower footings, etc the first year to minimize some phases.
 

ceo

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Replacing that gondola is going to be a logistical nightmare. The lift is built directly into the building so removing the current lift is not an easy task without demoing the lodge as well. It also runs all summer so losing a season of operation is not ideal.
They removed the old gondola and installed the new one without demoing the lodge, so I suspect it won't be as difficult as you think.
 

t-to-b

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They removed the old gondola and installed the new one without demoing the lodge, so I suspect it won't be as difficult as you think.
I don't think that the original gondola building was as integrated into the lodge as it currently is. They were also replacing it with the same sized lift whereas a new gondola would need to be bigger.
 

thebigo

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Assume it will get replaced with a chondola, they could move the bottom terminal uphill slightly, more inline with 7 bros, then convert the existing gondola base station to additional lodge space the following summer.
 
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