Loon Mountain, New Hampshire
Easy accessibility, good terrain and a beautiful natural setting combined with the nearby resort town of Lincoln have contributed to Loon Mountain’s popularity.
Like many of the other ski resorts in the White Mountains, Loon has decent vertical. Many of the runs maintain their pitch from top to bottom (unlike some resorts, where most of the runs wash out to beginner terrain near the base). The mountain’s black-diamond terrain will keep experts entertained, but, for the most part, Loon is an intermediate’s mountain. The blue-square runs are true-blue friends for intermediates; beginners who venture onto them may find their limits tested.
The resort has some of the friendliest staff around, which keeps skiers and riders coming back. It also offers plenty of family-friendly activities, including snow tubing (both day and night), snow toys, a climbing wall, and an ice skating rink. The two base areas are separated by a parking lot, but connected by a steam train that shuttles skiers and riders back and forth, a real hit with children.
When it comes to lodging, the resort is a behemoth. It’s one of the few resorts where the bed base is larger than the lift capacity. Combined with easy access off I-93 from Boston and other points south, can create crowded conditions at times. Fortunately, Loon has made a number of improvements during the past few years. Among these are trail improvements to relieve congestion in high-traffic stretches, new lifts to get people up the mountain faster, the Burton Progession Terrain Park, more snowmaking coverage and a dedicated learning area.
Another plus: when it gets near capacity, Loon Mountain limits lift ticket sales to keep the mountain experience positive. To ensure that you’ll get a lift ticket—or day care or a ski or snowboard lesson—on those busy days (normally holiday weekends), you can reserve tickets with a major credit card ahead of time; by logging onto the resort’s website (or calling 800-229-5666). The Unconditional Satisfaction Guarantee also ensures you’ll like the conditions, or you’ll ski or ride free on your next visit.
Loon is owned by Booth Creek Ski Holdings, which owns nearby Waterville Valley and Mt. Cranmore in the Mt. Washington Valley, as well as resorts in the West. The three New Hampshire areas have interchangeable lift tickets and season’s passes.