Loon Mountain to Expand South Peak with 30 Acres, Quad Chair
New terrain will rise from the Escape Route parking lot for the 2023-24 ski season
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It’s hard to believe, really, how fast it’s all happening, or to contemplate where the cash is coming from to pay for it all. Since the first of the year Boyne Resorts has begun installation on eight-packs at Boyne Mountain and Sunday River; announced a gut-renovation of creaky and sprawling Summit at Snoqualmie; broken ground on an insane gondola-tram complex at Big Sky; promised a D-line sixer for The Highlands; and begun conceptual or actual on-the-ground work – clandestinely or very publicly – on new or newly rebuilt lifts at Sugarloaf, Cypress, Loon, and Brighton.
And in New Hampshire, Loon is not even finished upgrading Seven Brothers from poke-along triple to high-speed quad and today we get this: next year, the resort will crack open 30 acres of trail and glade terrain threading in and around the Escape Route trail off South Peak. That blue run currently dead-ends at a series of massive parking lots, but will now terminate adjacent to a brand-new carpet-loaded fixed-grip Doppelmayr Alpenstar quad rising 500 vertical feet to the current Cruiser trail. Here’s a peak at the new pod, which will come with fully automated snowmaking:
And here’s how it will fit in with the rest of the resort:
For a more human view, here’s the new trailmap, just released today, which shows the Seven Brothers upgrade and the location of next year’s expansion:
In the context of Loon’s current footprint, the expansion looks small. But from a practical and experiential point of view, it’s a serious upgrade. First, it knots Loon’s stadium-grade Escape Route parking lots – currently marooned in the wilderness – directly to the rest of the ski area. Second, it anchors the ski area just a quarter mile from downtown Lincoln, edging closer to the town-meets-mountain concept that defines skiing in so much of Europe and the West but is largely absent from New England. Finally, it nudges this extra-intermediate ski resort toward full-family territory with a 50 percent expansion of green terrain (including green glades) in an area that’s likely to remain uncrowded.
Assuming this expansion comes online as scheduled in 2023, it will be Loon’s third major project in three years, following the spectacular Kancamagus 8 chairlift and the migration of the old Kanc high-speed quad to the Seven Brothers line.
The 2020s are turning into a kind of golden era for New Hampshire skiing and for Boyne Resorts. The South Peak terrain becomes the fourth active expansion plan in New Hampshire, joining massive proposals at Gunstock, Waterville Valley, and Mount Sunapee (Pacific Group Resorts confirmed recently that Ragged’s long-awaited third peak is on indefinite hold). While Loon’s expansion is also the smallest of the four, it will almost certainly be the first to actually happen. That’s because, after struggling to fulfill elements of its 2020 plans, Boyne has gotten very good at narrowing a project’s focus, defining a timeline, and executing. And we’re not even halfway through Loon’s ambitious 2030 plan, which promises upgraded lifts at North and South Peak, a new gondola, new trails on North Peak, and “the most technologically advanced lift network in the East,” among many other projects.
Here’s a deeper look at Loon’s new South Peak expansion, and what it means for the mountain, its skiers, and Boyne Resorts:
Below the subscriber jump: shuttle buses suck, walking from town to mountain, how to not die in the trees, and Boyne’s golden era.