Getting in the Groove

A view from the top

I found myself scrambling Tuesday night for someone to go north with.  I had heard reports of recent snow on both Waterville and Cannon, and was anxious to earn some turns on either mountain.  The problem was that I could not find anyone to accompany me on my adventure, and I was not excited by the prospect of a solo trip north.  There are many advantages to having a schedule that affords Wednesdays off, but a multitude of available people is not one of them.

After a few texts came back with the typical excuses: work, meeting, school, etc., I received a text that intrigued me from my friend Eric.  Eric suggested we go to Loon for a day of resort snowboarding.  While I often frequent  Wachusett Mountain, I do not often frequent the lifts.  I enjoy the entire experience of the hike and ski and have begun to feel as lift assisted riding is cheating.  I find that it not only cheats the mountain by making it more accessible and easier, but it also cheats me of the entire mountain experience.

A frosted over tree near the summit

Despite my desire to go north and skin and ski, I decided some resort snowboarding was better than no snowboarding.  We made plans to be at Loon Mountain and ready to go for 9:30am.  The drive to Loon was far from inspiring, with more grass on the side of the road than snow, and I once again found myself doubting the quality of the conditions we would find. However, as we pulled off the highway into Lincoln, New Hampshire we had a sudden surprise: the town was covered in snow.  Lincoln appeared to be an winter oasis; a snow covered paradise in a desert of bare ground.

 Despite the occasional cloud, a relatively bluebird day

As we drove through town we found it even more winter-like with more snow on the ground   Speaking with a local later in the day, we learned that just the night before, the town of Lincoln had a serious snow squall getting between six and eight inches of fresh snow.  However, it only snowed in roughly half of the town, and the other half saw virtually no snow.  I continue to be amazed at the strange weather that our relatively small mountains are capable of creating.  Loon Mountain barely stands over 3,000 feet tall, but received a snow storm that barely touched the surrounding town.

The day continued to get better with much more terrain being open than expected.  In addition to the amount of open terrain, we also found the snow conditions to be very good with large patches of good snow mixed in with a few icy patches.  I had an excellent day and remembered some of the joys that come with resort skiing.  In one day I more than tripled the amount of vertical terrain I had done so far this season.  I also felt my technique improve over the course of the day.  I attribute this to: not snowboarding with tired legs from skinning, snowboarding without a pack, and the repetition I was able to accomplish by riding the lifts.

A view of the base lodge from the parking lot

I had a very fun day and am happy with the improvement in my snowboarding I saw at Loon.  While I don’t see myself abandoning the “earn your turns” style of skiing, I think I will have to work in a few more resort days this season.  At the end of the day we had completed 18 runs for a little over 30,000 vertical feet and both left having that snowboard craving filled for the day.

From the Loon’s parking lot looking towards Lincoln