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It was going to be a nirvana winter for Loon enthusiasts, until the pandemic delayed construction of a promised eight-person high-speed chair until next season. No worries though, because while they wait, “Looniacs” will still find the quality snow, entertaining terrain, and easy access (No. 2 in Travel Ease) that have made Loon a favorite for generations. “Loon does a phenomenal job with snowmaking and grooming that cannot compare with other East Coast areas,” one reader declares. The resort ups the ante with its snow program yearly, with cool tools that do things like remotely measure snowpack. That allows them to open early and keep quality snow until the last day. “Best conditions no matter what time of the season,” one reader says.
Loon does struggle with weekend crowds (a byproduct of the easy zip up Route 93 to get there), but regulars know that midweek, you’ll find plenty of space. On weekends, get up from the base and ski the upper lifts and trails to find your Zen. And since things slow down on hill post lunchtime, stay for the shorter lines—your drive home is a snap anyway. —Moira McCarthy
2021 Reader Resort Ranking for Loon Mountain: No. 20 in the East
- WHAT’S NEW: This spring, Loon plans to break ground for the Kancamangus 8, the first eight-person chair in the East and the most advanced lift in the country.
- LOCAL TIP: Park at South Peak to start your day skiing on parts of the resort where you’ll find more sun, wide cruisers, and fewer crowds.
Check out No. 19 in the East: Okemo, Vt.
Loon Mountain’s 2020 SKI Magazine Reader Resort Survey Rank: 14th in the East
There’s location and then there’s Looncation. Loon has a best-of-everything location: a quick dip off the highway (No. 2 in Travel Ease), walking distance to a vibrant town, yet tucked into a mountain range looking out over peaks as if in the middle of nowhere. It’s almost magical.
Of course, with that comes the biggest gripe: Crowds. “Gondola is a choke point,” one reader laments, but regulars know the trick: lap the South and North Peak quads and save the beloved gondola ride for the quieter lunch hour. Readers rave about conditions—for good reason. Loon’s snowmaking and grooming fleet is state of the art (updated annually!), and the resort even has the ability to remotely measure snowpack across the mountain.
Base lodges are dated—with no plans to renovate or replace—but this winter the mountain debuts the Pemigewasset Base Camp Patio and a newly designed Summit Café. All that with a heralded ski school, and a straight-shot drive keeps visitors happy. “Love my go-to mountain,” says one happy customer. — Moira McCarthy
- DOWN DAY ACTIVITY: Snowshoe along the resort’s summer bike trails with a guide, or ride up the gondola and shoe from summit to summit, taking in amazing views.
- GOOD VALUE: The new Gold Plus New England Pass offers unlimited access to Loon, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf, and three free days at other Boyne resorts across the nation.
SKI Magazine’s 2019 Review of Loon, N.H.
What’s best about Loon is what’s most challenging too: Remarkably easy access means some pretty impressive crowds on weekends. Thankfully, Loon makes snowmaking and impeccable grooming a priority to keep conditions spiffy even on the busiest of days.
On mountain, intermediate groomers rule. You can find your bliss winding down Upper Walking Boss on North Peak (be ready to stop for an “aha” moment and selfie when you spot Mount Washington). Over at South Peak you’ll find thinner crowds, fast-moving lifts, and a nice variety of terrain. To experience Loon at its best, join the locals midweek when the trails are wide open and lines almost nonexistent.
Other than crowds, the most nagging critique of Loon is aimed at its base area, which, truth be told, could use some upgrades. Though Loon skiers are desperate for a new base lodge (or two), there are no plans for updates as of now. There are, however, some great food choices in those somewhat dated buildings—just try to beat the egg sandwich on the menu of the Governor Adams Lodge. – Moira McCarthy
Come to Loon Mountain for the…
- DINING Head to Flapjack’s Pancake House; the made-from-scratch pancakes are decadent, and a model train circles above, for added fun.
- DOWN-DAY ACTIVITIES Take a guided summit snowshoe tour, go snow tubing, or—get this—zipline across the Pemigewasset River, even in the dead of winter.
- ON-MOUNTAIN EATS Camp III at the base has a lumberjack feel and hearty fare to match it. Try the pulled pork sandwich (secret recipe) on the deck: The best sunny day spot on the mountain.
- APRÈS SPOT Stop by the Paul Bunyan Room, especially during football season and the annual ’80s party. It’s a hoot.
- DON’T MISS The oft-overlooked in winter J.E. Henry Railroad at the base. A classic steam-powered, wood-fired train that takes you between lodges. Kitchy, yes, but cool and fun for all ages.