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

thetrailboss

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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.
It has been over ten years since I've been to Loon, so I can't comment now other than to say that it is very, very popular.

I was also going to suggest that the original poster take a drive up to Cannon and spend a day to see if it works. There are great XC options nearby and, from all accounts here, Cannon is killing it this year. It is not THAT much further and it is a legit big mountain.

Agreed with the sentiment about WV. I've visited there in the offseason. It seems that the current owners are not really doing too much to improve it.
 

abc

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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.
That's not ignoring the OP's requirement. He did ask:
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....
I'll second taking a longer look at BW. The few times I skied there, the lines weren't bad at all even on holiday weekends. So, even though you may be arriving at BW a bit later, you may just get as much skiing in as you would in the Loon/WV?

I've never xc ski at Waterville, but done a lot at BW. It's super sweet! Their grooming is superb.

(Arrive after lifts open, park at XC, shuttle to lodge. Wife moves car at 1pm ish.)
I'm not too shabby a xc skier. But I can't ski as many hours as I do downhill. (there's no chair lift ride to rest up).

So I would suggest wife to drop the clan off at downhill base. Drive to nordic center, ski till lunch. Move car or shuttle to downhill base for lunch. Shuttle or ski back to nordic center.
 
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Edd

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Loon and BW really are very different experiences. I pretty much dislike Loon but know nothing of the XC options. I did XC at BW a few weeks ago and their trail network is impressive.

I‘ve been to WV once ever and went on a Saturday for some reason. Didn’t love it.

Last year I was with my wife and a couple of friends on BW’s gondola. A couple of strangers were riding with us and a conversation about gondolas at ski areas began.

My friend: People love gondolas, right? That’s why some people like Loon!

Me: That gondola is a reason I hate Loon.

One of the strangers: Loon is our home mountain. We own a place there.

That was awkward.
 

Smellytele

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Loon and BW really are very different experiences. I pretty much dislike Loon but know nothing of the XC options. I did XC at BW a few weeks ago and their trail network is impressive.

I‘ve been to WV once ever and went on a Saturday for some reason. Didn’t love it.

Last year I was with my wife and a couple of friends on BW’s gondola. A couple of strangers were riding with us and a conversation about gondolas at ski areas began.

My friend: People love gondolas, right? That’s why some people like Loon!

Me: That gondola is a reason I hate Loon.

One of the strangers: Loon is our home mountain. We own a place there.

That was awkward.
clientele is similar at both places with a few more Jerrys of the day added in at Loon.
 
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Newpylong

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Same clientele and crowds at both areas but I think skiing at Loon is much better and shorter drive. Obvious midweek visit.

Never liked WV.
 

ericfromMA/NH/VT

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hey guys, I hate to see threads like this where you never see what happens and dont get closure. Once I make up my mind I'll report bsack lol.

So, I'm still not sure what's gonna happen. here's where we stand:

I've crossed loon off the list. Everyone I've talked says the same thing- great, but dont bother going on the weekends. 75% of the time we are skiing on the weekends...

My wife has decided she is not going to want to go XC skiing every weekend, so that has changed things a bit:

Option 1: stay at ragged and also get an indy pass for me and my kids. this lets us ski ragged and a bunch of other places. And there is a XC place close by for my wife. Most cost efficient and bang for the buck option that I can find IMO.

Option 2: new england superpass- we'd get WV for a close to home mountain (with XC) , and get to ski cannon, BW and cramore when we are up for "longer" trips- I know longer is relative. Those aren't really "long" trips. Up to now our second "home" mountain has been sugarbush, 3-4 times a year mid week, staying over and skiing a few days. Thats a Long trip.

option 3- a bunch of things Im kicking around....its gets murky after options 1 and 2.

Are there any other passes out there I should be aware of? I had no idea the indy pass existed lol.

Thanks all!
 

machski

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It is now official, the Kanc Quad will be re-used to replace Seven Brothers Triple at Loon with install to be done next summer. Boyne and Loon also will be storing the Seven Brothers Triple as they feel it is still a solid lift and may be re-used within the resort network down the road as well.
 

ss20

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It is now official, the Kanc Quad will be re-used to replace Seven Brothers Triple at Loon with install to be done next summer. Boyne and Loon also will be storing the Seven Brothers Triple as they feel it is still a solid lift and may be re-used within the resort network down the road as well.

Maybe use the triple to replace the antique East Basin lift? Or for the South Peak beginner area as Newpylong suggested. I don't see any other place/use for it. Would've made sense to ship it off to Sunday River and there's your Merrill Hill lift.

That's gonna be an 8 pack and a hsq serving 8ish trails, plus people from the gondola. Yikes. I finally went back to Loon midweek this winter and enjoyed it despite semi-poor snow conditions. But those trails are not designed for that many people. Most of the things I skied were quite narrow by today's standards, compared to other mega resorts that need crazy uphill and downhill capacity.
 

deadheadskier

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Smart move. Perhaps this is why they just refurbished the Gondola instead of installing a new higher capacity version.
 

snoseek

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Lower mountain is gonna be bonkers when these lifts are full!
 

machski

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Maybe use the triple to replace the antique East Basin lift? Or for the South Peak beginner area as Newpylong suggested. I don't see any other place/use for it. Would've made sense to ship it off to Sunday River and there's your Merrill Hill lift.

That's gonna be an 8 pack and a hsq serving 8ish trails, plus people from the gondola. Yikes. I finally went back to Loon midweek this winter and enjoyed it despite semi-poor snow conditions. But those trails are not designed for that many people. Most of the things I skied were quite narrow by today's standards, compared to other mega resorts that need crazy uphill and downhill capacity.
The original Booth Creek plans had 7 Brothers upgraded to a HSQ and the Triple used to replace East Basin. That was like 15 years ago at least now, maybe 20. But yeah, I'm leaning more towards the South Peak Learner's pod or if that doesn't happen, maybe use the Triple just to lift serve the Escape Route trail and parking.

The original timelines in both the Loon and SR 2030 plans pre-covid lined up to send Seven Bros Triple to SR for Merrill Hill. The Kanc8 delay and the shift of the Merrill plan to earlier killed that option. The Merrill line is much steeper than 7 Bros so they may have needed different sheave sets than what would come from 7 bros anyway.

The 8 I have some concerns about trail capacity. That said, they are going to need to widen Upper Northstar for the new chair so maybe they will install dedicated snowmaking lines on that run beneath the new chair now. They also never made snow on lower Rumrunner this season, not sure if there was a line issue there or just held back. 7 Brothers when upgraded will add some traffic onto the lower trails (again, maybe Piccaroon, which also didn't see snowmaking this year, will get dedicated lines instead of dragged from 7 brother's) though I would think it would attract the park riders and an optional feed to East Basin/North Peak. They may have wished they upgraded North Peak and cut the additional trail(s) planned off there first though.
 

deadheadskier

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They talk about it in the 2030 FlightPath, I believe beyond Walking Boss skier's right. Whether it wipes out WB Woods or not unsure. But they also have North Peak Quad being upgraded (along with South Peak Quad too).

Ok

Wasn't sure if they were considering a trail off Sunset to run parallel and skiers left of Flume. Seems like a fair amount of acreage in there.
 

ne_skier

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Unless there are capacity issues at East Basin, they might want to reserve Seven Brothers Triple for something else if they had an alternative plan, as although East Basin is old, the drive and chairs aren't any older than Seven Brothers. How crowded does that lift typically get?
 

sull1102

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Love the moves that Boyne is making, but I wish that they would have finished South Peak to make that feel more like a complete mountain instead of a stalled development with the tent base lodge situation.
 

xlr8r

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There is plenty of room to cut 2 or 3 more trails off of north peak if done right. East Basin should remain as is. Its not worth the expense to upgrade what is primarily a weekend only lift from a double to a triple. Besides the gondola which will have to be upgraded soon, I hope their next move is to expand the lodges.
 

deadheadskier

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Seems to me there is a massive amount of acreage in between some of the trails on South Peak if Loon is looking for places to increase downhill capacity.
 
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