Loon Mountain Offers A Peek At Innovations Coming To Maine Resorts
I was about halfway up Loon Mountain, hanging from a cable 50 feet in the air, when I realized I was locked in.
Don’t worry, I wasn’t in any danger. I was riding on the Kancamagus 8, a new eight-seat D-Line Doppelmayr chair that was installed at the Lincoln, New Hampshire, resort during the summer. It’s a lift that the resort touts as the most technologically advanced chairlift in North America, packed with a press-release-promised “205 new developments.” One of these developments, I discovered, was a safety bar that locks into place as soon as you put it down. No more flipping the safety bar up a few towers from the top terminal – once it’s down, the bar stays down until automatically opening a few yards from the unload ramp.
The Kancamagus 8 (or Kanc 8 from here out, to match the resort’s marketing and save me a few column inches) replaced the Kancamagus Express Quad, which was installed at Loon in 1995. The new lift is impossible to confuse with its predecessor, first because of the massive bottom terminal that sits beside the Governor Adams lodge. The multi-story building resembles an airplane hangar, and skiers enter through an RFID (radio frequency identification) gate and a bay door to load the chairlift from inside. Unlike a gondola, where you’d kick off your gear and boot your way indoors, a strip of snow is groomed into the building, so you ski on in (past a huge video feed displaying live lift and trail conditions), slip onto a loading carpet, and are conveyor-belted your seat on the eight-person chair.