So I promised some trip reviews and I figure I should start with the place I skied most in the past three years, Loon Mountain. It doesn’t have the steepest, longest, or most difficult runs; the night life is limited at best, but I have to say that I love this little ski town.
The mountain has a vertical drop of 2,100ft. and 97% snow making coverage on their 55 trails and 6 glades. The past season they got hit with 237 inches of the white stuff. Although only 16% of the trails are rated for expert there are plenty of places to sneak into the trees for some pretty challenging unmarked glades. Look for tracks into the snow off of “Triple Trouble”, the “Lower Flume”, “Big Dipper”, and “Angel Street”. All four trails can be accessed from the “North Peak Quad”. I’ve found fresh tracks off all four of these trails late in the day on the two 12 inches plus days I got in at Loon this past season. The trees are tight but the incline isn’t as severe so you do have more control to make the tighter turns needed. If you take a right off of the “North Peak Quad” and skate along the top of the mountain towards the trail “Sunset”, look to the right for tracks into the woods here as well, you need to be careful because there are some dangerous rocks if you take a wrong turn, stay to the skiers right and you will come out onto “Haulback”. From here you can continue to the “North Peak Quad” base or again look to your left for tracks in the woods, several times I’ve had to jump over an exposed water pipe so take your time getting in and watch your edges. This little gem gives you an extra dozen turns in the trees which can be accessed from the “Lower Flume”.
If you are an intermediate or beginner don’t let the previous paragraph scare you away from Loon. The vast majority of the mountain, 84%, is either a “Blue Square” or “Green Square”. I’ve gone to Loon with people of all levels of skill and everyone has generally had a good time and improved as a skier or rider by the end of the trip. Loon has a great ski school so first timers can get some basics down, I highly recommend taking lessons as often as possible as a beginner, I was in ski school until I was 13 and have that to thank for my progression as a skier. Also those looking for a good terrain park should check Loon out, it has one of the most extensive parks in the east as well as a superpipe.
As far as apres skiing Loon has limited options. The Octagon Bar at the base of the gondola is always fun after a hard day on the slopes but it does get a little crowded and there is bound to be a mother of four children saving an entire picnic table by the bar just to spite your aching legs. A $5/person shuttle ride can get you to the Woodstock Inn and Brewery or Truants for a few beers before you head to bed. We usually start at the Brewery and drop money on good beer while we can still remember, I’m partial to the Loon Pale Ale, and then head over to Truants for beer, pool, and darts.
Although Loon is only two hours from Boston, straight up 93N to exit 32, I have stayed on many occasions to get two or three days of skiing in. I have stayed at the Woodstock Inn and Brewery, usually when I go up to catch a midweek powder day, and at the Alpine Village when I am with a larger group of friends. Both offer reasonable prices and at the Inn you get the bonus of a real breakfast with a night’s stay and you are in the same building as one of the three bars in the town. Talking to other skiers/riders I have heard that the Nordic Inn is also a pretty good deal and offers a jacuzzi, always a plus after a hard day on the slopes.
All in all Loon is worth the trip, it’s close enough to go it alone for a day and diverse enough to provide for a weekend of good skiing with friends.