Lodges Closed. Back To Basics.

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Sunny day at Tote Road Quad.

Kudos to Loon Mountain Resort, N.H., for managing COVID restrictions so well.

Our family bubble all agreed the best thing Loon had done was shut down all the lodges to indoor food service. That simplified one’s strategizing. Grab ‘n Go food windows and indoor order options provided al fresco sustenance with outdoor seating. Canvas tents were pop-up dining halls. Quick stop locations on the mountain provided places to duck in with little ones to get out of the wind. Space heaters are placed in certain areas when weather permits. Rest rooms were available at all lodges even if closed (outdoor access) and one fancy trailer near the gondola.

We parked our rolling base lodge in the Main Lot with an easy-ish schlep to either the Gondola or Kancamagus Express Quad, booted and masked up. Lunch break was pleasant with hot soup, the heater run sparingly, and radio dial set to NH public radio. Loon does not allow open-fire grills in the parking lot.

Contactless pickup boxes, PUBs, are where you can pick up a RFID card bought online or scan a QR code to reload. Ikon pass holders need to reserve, but because of popularity can cancel, even day of (blizzard anyone?).

Ghost lines leave plenty of room. Credit: Tamsin Venn

Loon set up intervening ghost lift lines for social distancing (a few jerks zoomed down these). One employee did mask patrol. A lift attendant kept necessary order. Social distancing worked less well in the gondola line without the natural six-foot ski separation. Plexiglass barriers inside the gondola building separated the snaking queue. Some in our pod refused to ride the gondola. Nowhere was there pushback on riding a lift alone.

 

 

PUBs replace ticket windows.

Masks are required in the parking lot, lift lines, when loading and unloading. This routine broke down in the parking lots.

Nearby Plymouth State College is on a hybrid schedule so you get many college skiers all the time, not just January break, which lends a convivial air. Everyone seemed grateful to be outside skiing and letting off steam.

We deferred our Ikon passes because of New England travel restrictions. Loon is the only New Hampshire Ikon resort. Massachusetts residents, as are we, are allowed into New Hampshire but have to ten-day quarantine or produce a negative COVID test on return.

 

Snowy day in the Lincoln Woods. Credit: Tamsin Venn

Loon’s senior 65-79 pass averages $65 midweek, non-holiday through mid-March, free passes for those ages 80 and up and as a courtesy you don’t need to reserve. (Bretton Woods senior midweek pass is $39, FYI).

On the last day, we went XC skiing in the popular Lincoln Woods owned by the U.S. Forest Service The snow had newly fallen, the woods quiet. You follow a trail on either the east or west side of the snow-clad Pemigewasset River with snowshoers and dog walkers. 

In all, the experience felt pared down. You got out of your car, went to lifts, skied and rode, went big-ish then went home. That is a good thing. What will we do with the many usual options when we return to normal? And the snow conditions were outstanding.

Loon Trail Map

Loon Web Cam 

Uphill Access Policy 

One Comment

  1. Avatar Peter Conant says:

    This article sounds like a marketing ad for Loon.

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