Loon, N.H.: Rank 6 East, 1998

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There's so much Boston at Loon that it's surprising there isn't a Legal Seafood in nearby Lincoln. Every weekend, Boston metro skiers descend on I-93 not just because Loon is close¿about two hours¿but also because it offers perhaps the most polished ski experience in the White Mountains. Its trails intimidate none but challenge many. Its lifts efficiently transport you to the twin summits ¿even though you'll grumble about liftlines at some point. Loon's lodges host up to 13,000 and its restaurants handle the crowds, some in exceptional style, such as at the slopeside Loon Mountain Club and The Clement Room in the Woodstock Inn. Thin snowfall¿not an infrequent problem in New Hampshire¿has been solved by an improved snowmaking system. Loon has cut a new trail system that links the mountain to downtown Lincoln, but opposition from no-growthers has kept a high-speed quad from being built and the trails closed. Loon officials are confident they'll receive approval to open the controversial trails next season. As a bonus for consumptive skiers, the Live Free or Die state is still without a sales tax.

What's New Expanded shuttle service; improved transportation center at the base area.
A Good Deal Multi-day tickets are valid at sister New Hampshire resorts Cranmore and Waterville Valley.
Medals Gold Access; Silver Grooming, Service, Lodging, Dining, Après-Ski, Family.
High/Low Rank Access (11); Terrain, Value (60) .
Don't Miss On a nice winter day, a drive up the spectacular Kancamagus Highway with its waterfalls and sheer cliffs.
Reader Remarks "Good grooming, good snowmaking, great people." "Until it gets expansion terrain, it's too crowded on weekends."