The Essential Guide to Loon Mountain Ski Resort

Loon Mountain Ski Resort
••• Loon Mountain Ski Resort

Loon Mountain Ski Resort, in Lincoln, New Hampshire, surrounded by the beautiful White Mountain National Forest, is a close drive from many popular areas within the region. It’s one of the most accessible resorts in the Northeast, just two hours from Boston, three from both Montreal and Providence, 3.5 from Hartford, and 5.5 from New York City. The airport in Manchester is just 1.5 hours away for those who would like to fly in.

Base elevation at this ski resort is 950 feet and the elevation at the summit is 3,050 feet. The ski season at Loon Mountain is mid-November to mid-April. Eleven lifts (1 gondola, 3 high-speed quads, 1 fixed-grip quad, 1 triple chair, 3 double chairs, and 2 carpet lifts) provide access to 61 trails. During the season, there are about 160 inches of snowfall a year.

Terrain

Loon Mountain Ski Resort has 370 skiable acres; 2,100-foot vertical drop (10th largest in New England); 20% beginner; 60% intermediate; 20% expert/advanced.

Loon Mountain’s 61 trails run for 28 miles across three peaks (North Peak, Loon Peak, and South Peak) and there are six terrain parks, including two designed for children (The Burton Riglet Park and Lil’ Stash). At this resort you’ll find the only Superpipe in New Hampshire, at 425 feet with 18-foot walls. Additionally, there are 12 miles of trails for Nordic skiers, see details further below.

  • Advanced: On South Peak, you’ll find double-black diamond (and very steep) Ripsaw and four black diamonds (Undercut, Upper Twitcher, Lower Twitcher, and Jobber). Elsewhere at the resort, black diamonds include snow-collecting Upper Flume, favorite Lower Flume, all-natural Triple Trouble, and narrow Angel Street.

  • Intermediate: The majority of trails at Loon Mountain fall into this category. Trails include popular Cruiser on South Peak with nice pitches and breathtaking views, fun Boom Run with steep pitches and great cruising, or Escape Route which you can take right to the South Peak parking lot (no lift access at the end).

  • Beginner: The majority of the green circle trails are on the bottom half of North Peak / Loon Peak. The easiest trails include freestyle-terrain Little Sister and gently-sloped Sarsaparilla. Move on to Snubber for a little pitch and a few turns and the wide-open Lower Bear Claw. Higher altitude beginner trails include Exodus, Upper Bear Claw, and Grand Junction. Bear Claw (Lower + Upper) is the longest trail at the resort, at 2.5 miles.

Lift Tickets

Lift tickets purchased at the window begin at $86 for adults (19-64), $76 for teens (13-18) and seniors (65-79), and $66 for juniors (6-12) midweek, non-holiday. Weekend and holiday tickets begin at $96 for adults (19-64), $86 for teens (13-18) and seniors (65-79), and $76 for juniors (6-12) per day. Children 5 and under and seniors 80+ ski free, but a lift ticket is still required to access the lifts.

Discounts are offered for active U.S. Military Members, full-time college students, and tickets obtained online in advance.

Food and Drink

Below are some on-mountain dining and apres-ski options at Loon Mountain and off-mountain options in neighboring towns:

  • Summit Cafe: The Caribbean theme with a view of the snowy White Mountains might be confusing, but just go with it. Indulge in rum punch, burritos, and “the reggae roll”. Summit Cafe is right next to the gondola lift.

  • Camp III: For a hearty meaty meal, try the log cabin at the base of the North Peak Mountain Quad. Here you’ll find venison stew and bison burgers along with daily specials.

  • The Octagon Lodge: Sweet and savory breakfasts, grill fare, sandwiches, and salads are found in the Octagon Lodge at the base of Loon Peak. Warm up with coffee and pastries at the Hearthside Cafe or with a healthy soup at the Cornerside Cafe.

  • Slopeside Deli: Healthy and sustainable eaters will rejoice at the Slopeside Deli next to the Octagon Lodge, where everything is all-natural, from the grass-fed beef and hormone-free chicken to multi-grain breads and organic produce.

  • Paul Bunyan Room: Upstairs at the Octagon Lodge, find a cozy escape from the slopes with a wrap-around deck, a roaring fire, and 24 craft beers on tap. We consider it one of the best places for après ski in all of New Hampshire.

  • Babe’s Blue Ox: At the top of the Governor Adams Lodge, find another après ski favorite with wraps, wings, and nachos. Don’t miss the Bloody Mary bar on Sunday mornings.

  • The Common Man: One of the best spots in Lincoln for a sit-down dinner is the Common Man where you’ll find “American fare with flair” like Nantucket seafood pie, pulled pork mac and cheese, and their famous rock crab cakes (often voted the best in New Hampshire). You’ll also find a “gluten-friendly” menu.

  • Woodstock Inn & Brewery: In nearby Woodstock, find popular Woodstock Inn & Brewery, voted the favorite restaurant in the White Mountains for eight years in a row. If the promise of homemade sticky buns for breakfast doesn’t draw you in, maybe the brewery tour with five beer samples at the end will do the trick.

Rentals and Gear

The Loon Mountainside Rental Shop at Governor Adams Lodge rents HEAD ski equipment and Burton snowboarding equipment to visitors of all ages. Seasonal rental passes are available for $190 for the 2017/2018 season. Reserve online to avoid lines. Snowshoe and cross-country ski equipment is available at the Adventure Center.

Retail shops at Loon Mountain include Loon Mountain Sports and Demo Center (equipment and apparel), Jr. Has a Fit (for younger skiers and riders), and Master Bootfitters (for the perfect fit).

Lessons and Clinics

Private lessons for skiing or snowboarding are available by the hour for all ages over three. Group lessons include special programs for young children, half-day or full-day lessons for kids 8-14, and half-day or full-day adult programs. Camps and clinics at Loon Mountain include women’s only clinics and a Park and Pipe Progression Camp for intermediate skiers and riders age 10-17. On designated weekends throughout the season, take advantage of Learn to Ski and Snowboard packages, available for guests aged 14 and up. These packages include lessons, access to a private slope-side lounge, and a free pair of skis, boots, and binding for each learner.

Skiing and Snowboarding Alternatives

  • Snow Tubing: One-hour tubing sessions are available in the 2017/2018 season for $18 (serviced with a lift) or $11 for tot-tubing (no lift).

  • Nordic Skiing and Snowshoeing: Loon Mountain has an extensive Nordic skiing and snowshoeing system with beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails. Guided tours for snowshoeing, rentals, and lessons are available.

  • Zipline: Sail 700 feet through the air and across the Pemigewasset River. During the winter season, the zipline is open on weekends and certain holidays. A round-trip zip costs $29 and reservations are highly recommended.

  • Ice Skating: For the 2017/2018 season, skating at the outdoor rink will run $10 or $20 if you’re also renting skates. Since it is outdoor, the rink's hours are weather-dependent.

  • Indoor Climbing Wall: For 2017/2018, the price is a steep $12 a climb.

  • Cardboard Box Derby: At this popular annual event in March, children are invited to ride down specific hills in self-decorated cardboard boxes.

  • Competitions: Watch and cheer on competitors at events throughout the season including USASA Rail Jam, the Zwhalen Memorial Race, the Tina Sutton Memorial Race, USASA Superpipe, USASA Slopestyle, and events for younger skiers and riders.

  • Fundraisers: Fundraising events at Loon Mountain include Snow Golf with CASA and Ski for MS.

  • Ice Castle: A short drive away, you’ll find a frozen wonderland of ice in the shape of fortresses, towers, caves, and a thrilling ice slide.

Lodging

Loon Mountain’s wide variety of lodging options includes B&Bs and country inns, rental cabins, condominiums, hotels and motels, resorts, and slopeside accommodations. A good option for families is the RiverWalk Resort, suites with lots of space and private balconies just five minutes from the lifts. We chose Mountain Club, the only ski-in/ski-out option on the mountain, as one of New Hampshire’s best ski hotels.