Northeast Winter Resorts (RootsRated profiles)

Two profiles of New England ski resorts, part of RootsRated’s “An Insider’s Guide To The Best Northeast Winter Resorts.” This was published online, November 23, 2015.

Toll Road Quad-Loon Mountain

—The Toll Road Quad, Loon Mountain Resort (Rudi Riet photo)

Loon Mountain Resort

A strong case can be made for Loon Mountain being New England’s most accessible big mountain resort. Just two hours north from Boston and three hours from Providence, the mountain base parking lot is a mere three miles east of a major Interstate exit (Exit 32 off I-93 North, for Lincoln/North Woodstock), and it serves up a menu that includes 61 trails and 2,100 vertical feet for both skiing and snowboarding.

Lincoln, NH is the more commercial of the two adjoining towns straddling the interstate. With an assortment of strip malls and shops along Main Street, as well as a number of small locally-run eateries and ski shops, the town’s main drag is surprisingly bustling considering its modest size. Then there’s North Woodstock, just two miles away on the west side of I-93—a tiny mountain town with roughly 500 full time residents and an endless amount of quaint, New England charm.

Loon’s 61 trails—all with northeast exposure—are spread across a trifecta of separate and very distinct peaks. The mountain’s layout and terrain provide a host of unique elements to skiers and snowboarders of all abilities. Maybe most important, given recent winter weather fluctuations, Loon has invested heavily in its snowmaking, and is now considered one of the pre-eminent mountains in the East in that regard.

Snagging some air at Loon Mountain Resort Photo courtesy of Loon Mountain Resort)

Snagging some air at Loon Mountain Resort (Photo courtesy of Loon Mountain Resort)

The 3,050-foot North Peak is the highest point on the mountain, sitting out on the resort’s easternmost boundary. While a bit off-the-beaten-path in terms of distance from the base, this is where you’ll find adventurous skiers heading out early in the day, especially on a day when there’s fresh powder.

The rest of the profile featuring Loon Mountain can be accessed at the RootsRated site.

My other profile featured Gunstock Mountain Resort, located south of Loon, in Gilford, New Hampshire.

Gunstock Mountain Resort

A bluebird day at Gunstock Mountain Resort. (photo courtesy of Gunstock Mountain Resort)

A bluebird day at Gunstock Mountain Resort. (photo courtesy of Gunstock Mountain Resort)

Vertical drops and waterfront views are not the usual pairing. Then again, it’s also rare to find mountain terrain juxtaposed with panoramic views of one of New England’s most picturesque lakes. Gunstock Mountain Resort, in Gilford, NH, manages to pull that one off with aplomb.

While neither New Hampshire’s biggest nor brawniest ski area, Gunstock is one where the glitz tends to get left behind. Gunstock makes the most out of its 1,400-foot vertical drop and 55 trails. There’s also a friendly home-town feel to the mountain and its 227 acres, along with its historic base lodge that was built in 1937.

Skiing at Gunstock—especially on trails like Flintlock, for intermediate skiers—gives you the sense that you are skiing down into Lake Winnipesaukee. With the backdrop of the White Mountains and Mount Washington, this is as close as it gets in the Northeast to skiing Lake Tahoe.

The rest of the Gunstock profile can be found at the RootsRated website.

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