Loon Mountain 1-21-15

Loon Mountain Resort is still a couple of years shy of its 50th anniversary, but yesterday’s visit spurred some interest in its history.

Nowadays the ski resort, New Hampshire’s busiest in terms of skier visits, is the dominant feature of the former paper mill town of Lincoln. But it wasn’t always so.

A couple of months ago, communications director Greg Kwasnik shared some vintage pix of Loon in several expansion phases.

Yesterday I visited Loon with a longtime ski buddy, Cherie Perkins, whom I know through the Maine Outdoor Adventure Club.

We started yesterday’s adventure at the Octagon Lodge. It’s the original, which was opened for guests in December of 1966. Today it’s part of a large complex of interconnected buildings that includes the ticket office, ski shop, cafeteria, lounge and the Loon Mountain Club — a slopeside lodging establishment.

Back in the day, there were only three buildings: the ticket office (also octagonal in shape), the gondola barn and the Octagon Lodge.

Below is a photo of the construction site sometime in the summer or fall of 1966. As you can see, the ticket office (left) is largely erected, the gondola barn (rectangular box in center) is nearly done but the Octagon Lodge (partially obscured by trees) is still being framed.

Loon Mountain Resort's main base area under construction summer-fall 1966

Loon Mountain Resort’s main base area under construction summer-fall 1966

Next is a pic of the same general area that I took yesterday. The biggest difference over the course of about 48 years is that the ticket office has been vastly expanded (and now inlcudes a ski shop) and the former gondola barn has been replaced by a much larger one, which houses the new gondola, which replaced the old one for the 1988-1989 season. Loon’s general offices are an addition to the gondola barn, seen below directly behind Cherie.

Cherie Perkins poses in front of Loon Mountain Resort's base complex

Cherie Perkins poses in front of Loon Mountain Resort’s base complex

By lunchtime were were skiing off North Peak. It was part of an expansion that opened for the 1984-1985 season. It included Walking Boss, a black diamond cruising trail that’s among my favorites in the White Mountains.

The expansion project also included another personal favorite: Camp III, where I eat lunch nearly every time I go to Loon. Constructed entirely of logs and serving “ski bum comfort food,” it’s definitely a Loon landmark.

Below is an early pic of Camp III, likely from its first season.

Early photo of Camp III, the mid-mountain lodge in  Loon's North Peak area

Early photo of Camp III, the mid-mountain lodge in Loon’s North Peak area

Next is a pic of Cherie posing above the lodge shortly before we stopped for lunch.

Cherie Perkins poses above Camp III, the mid-mountain lodge in Loon's North Peak area

Cherie Perkins poses above Camp III, the mid-mountain lodge in Loon’s North Peak area

Nowadays Loon is part of the family of Boyne Resorts, which purchased the mountain in the fall of 2007. Boyne is the second largest operator of ski areas in the U.S. and is represented in New England by Loon, Sunday River and Sugarloaf.

Many of the facts and dates mentioned above come thanks to Jeremy Clark’s wonderful website. Click here to visit its Loon Mountain page.