Loon is progressively moving the New Hampshire snowboard scene out of the late 80s with a big load of help from shaper Mike Bettera. Last season at Loon was the best ever as a whole new slew of steel, wood, and plastic was hauled up and bent up. The result was a grand total of sixteen jibs; the jumps, hips, and a few new experimental versions of air-propelling wedges put the number of jumps at fifteen in the LMP.
Grab a gondola ride to the top of the summit and warm the legs on those cold New Hampshire mornings. Local rider now gone west Colleen Quigley represents the state when not traveling. She says, “The best part of the park is that it’s gondola accessible so you don’t freeze your ass off all day!” Enter the park through the new wooden tunnel and get the blood flowing on the double-set of Italian grinder boxes and a couple beginner rails. The trail widens and segregates into expert and beginner. If you’re feeling like you’ve got something to prove, stick to the left where jumps start at a modest twenty feet and end in a couple close to 40-footers. If you need a breath of fresh air before finishing up the trail and entering the steep, fast, 400-foot Superpipe, swing by the yurt and get a quick snack.
The new baby park off of the Northstar lift keeps things interesting with a linked line of shorter rails and rollers. Be on the lookout this year for the new Doghouse Donkey Box, eighteen-foot wallride, and fifteen-foot S-tube rail. Locals like Matt and Rich Stanley have ridden the mountain for close to twenty years and aren’t leaving the park yet. “It’s constantly changing,” Rich says. “Sometimes three overhauls a season keep the dream alive for the old local buzzards.” On those nicer spring, days forget about the gondola line and use the Seven Brothers chair, which lets you off halfway up the park.
Events are abundant at Loon due to the exceptional maintenance by the park crew. Eastern Boarder’s Last Call event last season raised a few eyebrows from local Tundra Wookies when a staircase and a kinky handrail showed up in the middle of the park. If you’re wondering why riders like Pat Moore, Greg Maxwell, Chris Rotax, and Colleen Quigley blow your hometown mountain to pieces, it’s because they’ve gotten served up on the hardest ice of the East!-Eric Kovall
Web site: www.loonmtn.com