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Loon vs. Waterville valley for season tix next year- help me decide

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Nov 26, 2019
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Hey all, Im looking at either loon or WV for season passes next year, i have skied WV valley a couple times last year midweek and liked it. I haven't skied Loon in 25 years, i recall liking it.

Use would be every weekend, and a bunch of mid week days, me and my 2 kids, 9-11, both great skiers.

My wife cant downhill anymore due to medical issues, so she will be X country while me and the kids downhill ski. I need a place with both, and Loon and WV fit the bill. They are both 1.5 hrs from my house in southern NH, that's about as far as I want to travel so day trips are easy to do and still get there early.

I'm looking to get a sense of the crowds on each on a typical weekend, (normal crowed vs. absolutely jammed stay away) what the lodges are like compared to each other (we love us some apres ski drinks and food), which mountain does better at grooming/maintaining the slopes, glade options (we are all just starting this so nice easy glades like the easy ones at BW would be awesome) general vibe at each, parking (loon seems better here) and anything else I should consider.

Costs come out about the same if I do a silver pass at loon (blackout dates vs. no BO dates at WV, not a huge deal to me), but the loon pass includes sugarloaf and Sunday river as well, but honestly I'm not sure how much I'd get to either. WV is stand alone.

I'm leaning towards Loon, more trails, bigger place, nicer base lodges from what I can tell online. We ski blues and single diamonds no problem, looks like Loon has more trail options, although we could ski everything at WV including the groomed double blacks.

any advice is greatly appreciated. This is big move for us, we have had passes at Ragged the last 5 years and without a XC option there, thats out, which sucks as its cheap and we love the place. Im basically doubling the costs of my passes next year.

If anyone can think of other options I've missed that have XC and are 1.5 hrs or less from southern NH, please let me know. And FWIW I don't have IKON money and will never ski out west unfortunately. And BW is just a hair too far, we'd have to get up to early for the kids- lazy bums....

Thanks all, I hope every is having a fun and safe season thus far!!!!!!
 

2planks2coasts

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Are your cost calculations including the free kids pass WV includes with their otherwise extortionate pass pricing? I like the variety at Loon, but absolutely HATE their weekend crowds. WV gets crowded too, but it doesn't seem as bad to me.

Also, Pine Hill nordic center is only 15 minutes from Ragged. Is that an option? That's not much further than WV lifts to nordic.
 
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sull1102

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Grew up with a condo in Waterville and had a Threedom Pass(WV/Loon/Cranmore) back in the 2000's and now have a New England Pass this year mainly for Loon. Loon has grown over the years or improved where as WV has removed some things that made it more fun or unique(Quadzilla should still be called such, as a kid it was so cool with the silly hat and everything) while also going cheap with Green Peak's lift. WV, as much as I love it, has fallen back to more on the level of Ragged, Gunstock while Loon is on par with the big boys and is spending more and more cash every year to push on. Boyne are great owners with deep pockets compared to the Sununu family and the new Kanc 8 pack should help spread weekend crowds away from the gondi. Another pro for Loon would be South Peak. That pod is a pretty nice area that very rarely gets crowded beyond the most peak times on peak days. Back before South Peak it felt like Loon and WV were similar sized, but now Loon just feels much larger. Cannon is also a short drive away from Loon and pretty cheap if you want to add a day on to an overnight trip in Lincoln and mix it up. WV is 13 miles from the rest of the world which on some level does add a certain vibe to the entire town and mountain.
 

machski

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Loon gets crowded on weekends, but early turns especially if you start at South are usually nice and fairly quiet until the masses make it over to South around 930-1000 typically. Kanc8 should help a lot, high tech lift. Have not skied WV since Green Peak went in but WV doesn't seem to have a lot of glades. Loon has some great glades I cluding one off Lower Bear Claw that is a good, low angle beginning glade (rated Blue). May have some bermed terrain features now with the Mountain Bike park trails, haven't been to Loon since before we had enough snow this season. The black rated trees add some pitch but are amply spaced with the exception of Mike's Way. Outside of the trees and Triple Trouble (Loon's one trail completely without Snowmaking), they groom out everything else. Even the one Double Black, Ripsaw. Not sure what WV does these days in regards to that.
Not sure if WV still does, but they use to make snow on a limited stretch of XC terrain which Loon definitely does not do. That could be an issue. But if you do the New England pass, you might consider a weekend trip to SugarLoaf. They do a lot with their outdoor center for XC and Snowbiking, including now making snow on at least one XC trail loop. Sunday River has several XC options in town, but nothing like SugarLoaf that is linked/affiliated with the resort.
 
Joined
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Are your cost calculations including the free kids pass WV includes with their otherwise extortionate pass pricing? I like the variety at Loon, but absolutely HATE their weekend crowds. WV gets crowded too, but it doesn't seem as bad to me.

Also, Pine Hill nordic center is only 15 minutes from Ragged. Is that an option? That's not much further than WV lifts to nordic.
yeah, for me the pass is 942 (ouch), + 1 free kid pass + 1 kids pass at 476 (bigger ouch). My wife wont get a pass as she won't be downhill skiing, Their Nordic pass is $172 for her(let that out of my earlier math.) total of 1590. Loon would be 1500 ($760 for me, $369 x 2 for the kids) plus whatever the Nordic pass is.

for reference, passes at ragged was $918 for all four of us- $359 x2 for me and the wife, $100 per kid as part of their season rentals, add 300 there and all in- skis/passes- $1118. you just cant beat that.

My wife wants to be on the same mountain as us so we can meet for lunch and during the day here and there. Its a real family thing for us, she doesn't want to be at another place while we ski ragged, she says it will be more like skiing alone.
 

deadheadskier

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Does Sunapee have XC skiing? Epic Northeast is pretty cheap and offers about the best variety of any pass for NH skiers. Jackson, NH when heading up to Wildcat and Attitash has one of the best XC skiing networks in the East. Vails management of these areas leaves a lot to be desired. If that improves I'll be a customer again.
 

thebigo

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Have you looked into Dartmouth? I thought they offered xc, close by if not at the mountain.
 

Newpylong

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The Dartmouth XC Ski Club is in Hanover and the mountain is in Lyme - about 20 to 25 min away. If he's looking into WV, Loon, etc I don't think the Skiway is a good fit.
 

sull1102

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Loon has a small xc network that is closed this season, but is right near the octagon base lodge. WV however has a large network in the Valley and far more interesting terrain all around. Also with the Village feeling like part of the resort she wouldn't feel like she's not included in the fun.
 

jaybird

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Loon gets crowded on weekends, but early turns especially if you start at South are usually nice and fairly quiet until the masses make it over to South around 930-1000 typically. Kanc8 should help a lot, high tech lift. Have not skied WV since Green Peak went in but WV doesn't seem to have a lot of glades. Loon has some great glades I cluding one off Lower Bear Claw that is a good, low angle beginning glade (rated Blue). May have some bermed terrain features now with the Mountain Bike park trails, haven't been to Loon since before we had enough snow this season. The black rated trees add some pitch but are amply spaced with the exception of Mike's Way. Outside of the trees and Triple Trouble (Loon's one trail completely without Snowmaking), they groom out everything else. Even the one Double Black, Ripsaw. Not sure what WV does these days in regards to that.
Not sure if WV still does, but they use to make snow on a limited stretch of XC terrain which Loon definitely does not do. That could be an issue. But if you do the New England pass, you might consider a weekend trip to SugarLoaf. They do a lot with their outdoor center for XC and Snowbiking, including now making snow on at least one XC trail loop. Sunday River has several XC options in town, but nothing like SugarLoaf that is linked/affiliated with the resort
 

Bumpsis

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I have a major aversion to crowds - you'd have to pay me money to be at Loon on a weekend. If I had to choose between WV and Loon, WV hands down.
I also like to XC and the xc trails at WV are pretty good but you have to get away from the condos. The entitled pricks that own these, think nothing of post-holing the xc trails and leaving their dogs' shit all over the place. It would be good if money also would bestow some class on people.

Anyway, WV also is nearby some really nice hiking very close by. If you like XC, you may want to add some good snowshoes to your winter toys and find blissful solitude in winter woods. I highly recommend that.
 
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puckoach

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As quite a few others ignored op contents, I will too.

If you track the actual time to get the gear out of the parked car, consider BW.

XC outstanding there. Shuttles connect. (Arrive after lifts open, park at XC, shuttle to lodge. Wife moves car at 1pm ish.)

Loon sucks on Saturday. I venture you would be on lift at BW in same time it takes for Loon.

I have no experience with WV.
 

cdskier

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What is “post-holing” ? They are sabotaging the trails by digging fencepost holes ?
Funny you ask that. For the longest time I always wondered what it was too when I saw that term mentioned as something bad when using trails in winter. I finally googled it just a few weeks ago. Basically it is when you walk in deeper snow without snow-shoes or skis and sink down into it with every step creating big holes. Makes total sense now why that's a bad thing for others trying to ski/snow-shoe on a trail.

Personally I had thought it had something to do with using ski poles while hiking/traveling uphill. I couldn't understand what was wrong with that. 🤣
 
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Bumpsis

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Funny you ask that. For the longest time I always wondered what it was too when I saw that term mentioned as something bad when using trails in winter. I finally googled it just a few weeks ago. Basically it is when you walk in deeper snow without snow-shoes or skis and sink down into it with every step creating big holes. Makes total sense now why that's a bad thing for others trying to ski/snow-shoe on a trail.

Personally I had thought it had something to do with using ski poles while hiking/traveling uphill. I couldn't understand what was wrong with that.
Yes, exactly. Ski poles are fine. Actually, hiking poles have nice big pole "baskets", stopping the pole from sinking deep into the snow cover.
The post-holing is also a big thing among winter hikers, not just XC skiers. It's considered really rude to create big holes on a hiking trail that has been packed down with snowshoes, which actually takes a lot of work when the snow is fresh. But a trail packed down by snow shooers is easy to travel IF you then wear snowshoes. "Bare-Booters", as they are known among the winter hiking crowd will create big deep holes in the trail trashing the trail for everyone.
 
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