Loon Mountain Pulls A Resort Poll Trifecta

The East Coast's Number One Ranked Park, Pipe, And Overall Resort

By John Poulin

Cranes, spunky block letters, and crazy sideways spinnin’ Risto Mattila are a few props that keep Loon loony and locked into the number one spot. PHOTO: Brian Norton

This year, we decided it was time for the East Coast to have a voice of its own in the Resort Poll. Little did we know that one resort would shine so brightly—Loon dominated every category in the new East Coast Resort Poll, proving this past season that it truly offers everything a shredder could ask for. From a solid snowboard scene on and off the hill to a pristinely maintained park and pipe—Loon is taking East Coast shredding to new heights.

The Overall Resort win means that Loon has the complete kit: everything from excellent food to speedy lifts, dependable snow quality, and a welcoming vibe from the locals and staff. As far as lodging and nightlife go, if you've got the pocket for top-class accommodations, Loon and the town of Lincoln have you covered; but if like most traveling shreds, you're looking to ball on a budget, the nearby college town of Plymouth is your place. A 25-minute drive down the highway leads to cheap lodging, drinks, and food; the place has seen so many shred dirts come through on their way to Loon that you and your crumpled-up five dollar bill will be welcomed with open arms.

While college parties and cheap pizza are definitely perks on a trip to Loon, the parks are what really put it out front. The famed Loon Mountain Park (LMP) is a spectacle all in itself, atop the list of longest parks in the east at 3,600 feet. The crew of dedicated park staff keeps everything dialed in and ready for your shredding pleasure—they're all boarders with the same interests as you. "We want to make stuff that we want to ride on our days off," says Park Manager Jay Scambio. "We see guys from other park staffs riding here on their free days."

Taking a run at Loon isn't your average park lap. You start off in the gondola, staying out of the harsh New England weather long enough to recharge your batteries for the next run. On the way down to LMP, you'll find little pocket parks to get you warmed up and entertained, and Loon has some of the best side-of-the-trail jibs and secret lines around. Once you're in LMP, you'll find perfectly sculpted kickers and handfuls of on-point jibs, all linked together with continuous flow. Not quite ready to step to LMP? Want a few more warm-up laps? Loon has a Burton Progression Park for beginners, and the intermediate park doubled in size last winter, so take your pick.

At the bottom of LMP sits Loon's now top-ranked Superpipe. It's no easy task to have a good pipe on the East Coast, but Loon put in the work to make it happen. And they're still raising the bar; they just picked up a new eighteen-foot Zaugg, upping their chances of holding on to next year's number-one spot.

This summer, Loon is installing power down all of LMP, which means that the snowguns will be up and blowing earlier than ever and LMP will be firing all season long. They're building a dozen new jibs, and riders got a sneak peek late last season at their latest creation, that can only be described as a Hubba on steroids: four 30-foot rails set on stairs. Loon is host to dozens of core contests, most notably Eastern Boarder's Last Call and the annual Shop Showdown. If for some reason you're still looking for an excuse to visit Loon, save the date and check out these East Coast shred reunions in the spring. 

Top Five Overall East Coast Resorts


1. Loon Mountain, New Hampshire

Loon Mountain Park-woo! PHOTO: Brian Norton


2. Okemo, Vermont

TJ James jammin’ that pipe in Okemo Vermont. PHOTO: Aaron Davidson

Okemo has it all—awesome parks, pipes, and a cool hub at the base of the mountain. The town of Ludlow offers everything you'd need on a shred trip, from cheap lodging to a core local shop. The dudes at Darkside do it right. okemo.com


3. Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada

Mount Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. PHOTO: Simon Busque

Mont Tremblant has often been dubbed the Whistler of the East. There's a village with bars, hotels, and restaurants that go off when the sun sets, and there's more than 2,000 feet of vertical with over 94 trails to keep you busy before the parties start. Come for the Empire Shakedown the first weekend of April to get the full effect. tremblant.ca


4. Sunday River, Maine

Justin Keniston snaps a nice blaster over this pristine funbox setup at Sunday River, Maine. PHOTO: Mike Azevedo

Sunday River stepped up their game this season, dedicating more time to their parks and pipes and showing the boardin' scene some love all around. The River is located minutes outside the small private-school town of Bethel, which offers all the necessary amenities for a weekend shred getaway. sundayriver.com


5. Waterville Valley, New Hampshire

Rob Hallowell giving an aerial overview of the jib goodies at Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. PHOTO: AJ Koulovatos

Waterville is known for its park and pipe, but has all the ingredients for a stellar overall resort. The college town of Plymouth is mere exits down the highway, offering wallet-friendly hotels, drinks, and food. There's a strong shred scene in this neck of the woods. waterville.com

Top Five East Coast Pipes


1. Loon Mountain, New Hampshire

Loon Mountain overview. PHOTO: Brooks Dodge

2. Okemo, Vermont

Okemo's pipe is on point in all respects. They cut it with a Zaugg Pipe Monster, making perfect seventeen-foot walls stretching 500 feet down the hill. The pipe is located in the Dew Zone, a short feature jib park with a surface lift (T-bar) right next to it. You can easily get 60 pipe laps in a day and not hike once. okemo.com

3. Sunday River, Maine

Sunday River showed this season that they have the patience and determination it takes to keep a good halfpipe in Maine; slow winter beginnings can make it tough to get a pipe up and running. Good snowmaking is key, and so is a knowledgeable shaper to keep things tight. sundayriver.com

4. Mount Snow, Vermont

Mount Snow proved not only to you, the readers and riders, that they know how to construct a good U-ditch, but the folks at the AST Dew Tour as well; Mount Snow is the only East Coast stop in the '08/09 campaign. When you produce Olympic Halfpipe gold medalists like Kelly Clark, you have to be doing something right. mountsnow.com

5. Seven Springs, Pennsylvania.

It may be a surprise to see Pennsylvania on this list, but the pipe at Seven Springs is no joke. Eighteen-foot Superpipe walls, constant grooming, and a dedicated park staff keep the pipe in top shape all winter long. Expect to start seeing pipe rippers out of the Quaker State. 7springs.com

Top Five East Coast Parks


1. Loon Mountain, New Hampshire

Loon lets the team colors fly all the way down to the orange marking so you can see where to drop a melon without getting all mushy. Bode Merrill is sixteen up and ripe. PHOTO: Brian Norton

2. Waterville Valley, New Hampshire

Waterville's park has been on point for years and is the East Coast stop of choice for contests like the TransAm and Volcom's Peanut Butter & Rail Jam. The Waterville park staff is dedicated, friendly, and led by ex-Think Thank ripper Luke Mathison, who is by no means afraid to yell at a kook, for safety's sake of course. waterville.com

3. Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada

Charles Reid grabbing some of that picturesque hang time with this rocket to gondolaville, Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada. PHOTO: Simon Busque

Tremblant has three parks—a progression zone, an intermediate zone, and an advanced zone. They combine to span 40 acres, so you may want a hit list of spots to shred before heading out. There's music blasting out of the speakers and local shredders polishing all the features, giving riders from all over good reason to make the trip out other than for the parties. tremblant.ca

4. Okemo, Vermont

Okemo gives riders a few options for park riding. The Dew Zone is a jib park where Okemo houses most of its signature rail features, and there's a short surface lift specifically for park and pipe laps. The Nor'Easter is the signature park—a long, straight trail that seems endless and is packed with rails, jumps, and wallrides. You'll be pulling off for a break before you make it halfway down. okemo.com


5. Big Boulder, Pennsylvania

Mike Bennett rallies a late-night board wheelie at the rising star Big Boulder, Pennsylvania. PHOTO: Ben Birk

If you've paid any attention to twsnow.com in the past year, you should have heard of Big Boulder by now. Host to the 2008 TransAm and countless other local events that have graced the pages of our online counterpart, Big Boulder is making its mark on the East Coast park scene. The park even has its own Web site: bigboulderpark.com.