Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Lincoln New Hampshire Loon Mountain

Loon mountain has gone through many changes over the last 41years or so. Finally the long awaited South Peak lift and trails will open in December 2007. A little history of loon Mountain NH. Loon Mountain is located on the south side of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River and on the Kancamagus Higway Rt.112 Exit 32 off of US RT 93 in Lincoln New Hampshire in the White Mountains. Loon Mountain opened for business on December 27, 1966. The founder of Loon Mountain was Sherman Adams, former New Hampshire governor and chief of staff to President Eisenhower. Adams was hired in the early 1900s as Director of Lumber Operations for the Parker-Young Company in Lincoln. He was responsible for maintaining a steady flow of wood for the mill in Lincoln, which meant spending a lot of time outdoors. Needless to say this man spent many days in the woods. He was said to have once walked the 75 miles from Littleton to Hanover NH.. Adams knew that with fairly gentle inclines suitable for the intermediate skier, Loon Mountain was a well-sheltered, northeast-facing slope, with only scattered glacial boulders was perfect for a ski mountain. Close to town and the soon-to-be-built interstate highway Adams knew that Loon Mountain would be a success. The first season of 1966-1967 Loon Mountain saw 30.000 plus visitors. Adams friends and the locals had there doubts about future success. In 1967 Loon had there own chair lift and could provide access to terrain even expert skiers could appreciate
In the early 1980s Loon mountain all most doubled in size with it first major renovation. Adding a gondola at the Octagon Lodge and The renovating the Govenors Lodge while expanding the terrain to include the North Peak and Camp 3. As part of what was advertised as SKI 93 ( Interstate Highway) Loon was lumped up with Waterville Valley and Cannon Mountain. Waterville Valley was privately owned and Canon Mountain was and still is owned by the state of New Hampshire.
In 1998, Booth Creek Resorts purchased Loon Mountain. Booth Creek owns and operates resorts across the United States including Waterville Valley and Cranmore Mountain in New Hampshire. Most recently Boyne has purchases Sunday River and Sugarloaf USA in Maine. On September 19 2007 it was announce that Boyne USA has signed a contract with Booth Creek which at closing will transfer the management of Loon Mountain. In New Hampshire, Booth Creek retains its ownership and management of Cranmore Mountain Resort and Waterville Valley. Both resorts have real estate and mountain expansion opportunities that Booth Creek will continue to explore. With this arrangement skiers and Snowboarders will be able to purchase the New England Ski Pass for the 2007 2008 season. The New England Pass will be a tiered season pass with three levels that will be valid at Sunday River and Sugarloaf in Maine and Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. The Bronze Pass will be $369 and will be an all ages pass valid midweek non-holiday. The Silver New England Pass will be $699 and will be an all ages pass valid seven days a week with 12 blackout dates on holidays and select Saturdays. The Gold New England Pass will be valid every day of the season and will range from $499 for seniors to $899 for adults.
Back to the topic of loon's newest expansion. For the last 20 years or so loon Mountain has been clearing trails along the South Peak. Most of us who ski Loon has passed by the area wondering when some one was going to do something with the area. The expansion has been many years in the making. In 2005 the expansion was finally approved and work moved forward in 2006. Condominiums and resort homes have been built. Starting October 28th 2007 the resort flew and installed by helicopter 32 lift towers. These towers make up the Lincoln Express high-speed quad and the Tote Road Connector quad chairlifts. Twenty-one towers sit on the face of South Peak, comprising the lift line for the Lincoln Express. The new lift can now be seen from nearby downtown Lincoln. Eleven towers are in place along the Tote Road, which connects the existing terrain on Loon Mountain to the summit of South Peak. The Tote Road Quad will take skiers and snowboarders in both directions, to and from the summit of South Peak. With three new trails and about 50 acres of terrain on South Peak for the upcoming ski season. These trails are only 35% of the total planned South Peak expansion to take place over the next 3 years. The next announcment will probably be the construction of Exit 31A on Route 93 North. If this happens we can look forwrd to loon exspanding even more.
Loon Mountain will begin making snow November 1, and plans to open for skiing and snowboarding Wednesday, November 21. The new lifts and trails of South Peak are scheduled to open in mid-December. South Peak's official opening celebration is Thursday, December 21
The expansion should help Loon Mountain with its famous crowds on weekends and School Holiday Weeks. I ski at Loon Mountain on average of 25 days a year and have been doing this for 26 years. The area is also famous for its extensive White Mountain hiking trail system connected to the Appalachian trail.
South Peak at Loon will be the first and only resort in New England with a trail that leads to the town it is based in.
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