Credit: Loon Mountain

Soft snow, warm sunshine, no crowds. Looking for the rites of spring skiing in New England, early April we set our sights on Loon Mountain in New Hampshire, a direct drive north on I-93.

As most of us know, the best spring skiing is from 9 a.m.-noon (maybe 1 p.m.), after which corn snow turns to mush or cement depending on body signals. At lift opening, 9 a.m., I hopped on the gondola and nabbed a non-stop top-to-bottom run on Upper and Lower Picked Rock, entirely to myself, no rocks in sight. Oh yay. Groomers had pressed out the corduroy that had softened just so, smooth as water. The skis rounded turns back and forth on their own metronome. Around noon, the snowboarders came out. It seemed the entire ski population had bifurcated into retirees and 20-something snowboarders.

Loon is well known for early snow coverage, due to Boyne Resorts ownership, and it keeps that up that late season. Good evidence is snowy trails and bare woods. But really, spring skiing, with temps in the 50s, sun, blue sky, a deck… heck it should all be good. The stats: 3 lifts operating (out of 10), 32 trails open (out of 61). Primary surface machine groomed, secondary surface wet snow. Temps: Start in upper 30s, reaching mid-50s.

Strategically, the three lifts open – Gondola, North Peak Express Quad, Seven Brothers Triple – gave access to most of the mountain in terms of acreage plus a terrain park. The new Kancamagus 8 chair was not open, not enough people to move, and the West Basin would open the following weekend when the Slush Pool Party (registration full) took place.

Spring skiing is about soft but very chiseled moguls, aiming for scraped off areas to turn on, taking caution in run-outs that mean screeching halts at high speed when you hit the slush, and taking advantage of easy-turning blacks (in this case Walking Widow and The Flume) with few other skiers zigging while you zag.

Base of operations was in the nearly empty Octagon Lodge, no need to social distance, and the Paul Bunyan Bar’s second-floor deck where sun-seekers planted themselves and watched skiers and snowboarders with hydraulic knees working the moguls.

Another plus, discounted lodging. We found a late-season deal at the Woodstock Inn in North Woodstock, N.H.: short drive to mountain, took dogs, breakfast, brewery on site, no staffing problems. It was perfect. Recuperating from torn rotator cuff, my husband, microspikes on his boots, took his favorite hikes along the nearby Pemigewasset River with Milly the dog.

Loon is on the Ikon Pass. Next price hike for the 22-23 season is April 21, and next year you must make reservations before visiting. Loon also offers its own Access pass (four seasons include mountain biking) and the New England Pass (Sunday River, Loon and Sugarloaf) with western resort add-ons and senior rates (ages 65-79) discounted according to black- out dates. Those over 80 ski free.

Loon closes Easter weekend, but you can still take your turns at a handful of New England areas including the May hold-outs Killington and Jay Peak, Vt. Spring skiing is not over yet.

 

 

 

 

 

One Comment

  1. David Brennan says:

    Good read…Jay still providing great skiing as of 4/15/22

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