White Mountain Express – Loon Mountain, NH

Towers 1-2 and the bottom terminal building.
A cabin departs the top terminal.
Departure side of the top return terminal.
Unloading area and turnaround.
View down the line.
Tower 17 near the summit.
Doppelmayr tube tower with a re-used Hall tripod tower right next to it.
Bottom terminal with bullwheel and chain-driven rails.
View into the valley station.

42 thoughts on “White Mountain Express – Loon Mountain, NH

  1. Collin June 26, 2018 / 7:40 pm


    They’re going to replace the cabins this fall. My take is that this is a crazy bad investment. The one big problem in Loon’s lift system is that the gondola has horrible capacity and the cabins are too light so it shuts down for wind often. A new gondola with 8 passenger cabins and a higher capacity would eliminate the need to upgrade any of their other lifts and since their clientele prefers to ride the gondola over the chairs, it would be the best investment from a customer experience standpoint.

    Keep in mind this is all happening while Big Sky is getting one of the most expensive lifts North America has ever seen, and they’re hinting at getting even more D-Line lifts in future years. Meanwhile, Loon gets to keep their 30 year old main lift with less capacity than a double chair, but with slightly more comfortable cabins which means it won’t be replaced for a long long time. It made sense to replace cabins at Stratton and Killington since both are 8 passenger gondolas and have sufficient capacity, but Loon needs to fully replace the lift and at least double the capacity. I guess Boyne only cares about making these big PR splashes at Big Sky while they run their other resorts into the ground and fail to complete much needed upgrades. Look I’m all for more D-Line lifts being installed in North America, but not at the expense of the other resorts being low-balled or neglected. Since they’re ignoring this critical need for Loon, one can only infer that they will ignore other lift needs like Barker and Sunday River and either a new gondola or additional detachables at Sugarloaf.

    Boyne has no clue what they are doing.

    Sorry for the rant, but it’s gotta be said. Anyone else think this is a bad investment?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Carleton June 28, 2018 / 10:32 am

      My first reaction is to agree with you. I don’t ski Loon very often and usually it’s on less crowded days – but the gondola always has a line. However, as someone else explained to me, on more crowded days, there isn’t enough room at the top (i.e trail options) for a higher capacity lift option. I agree with you that the fact that they are putting new cabins on, means the lift probably won’t be replaced in the next 10 years. Maybe they could space them a bit closer and fit a few more on…


      • noahberg April 20, 2021 / 6:25 am

        yea they could easily fit twice as many cabins on the lift, although it might be better to upgrade it to a 6 or 8 passenger gondola, and bring the cabins closer together


    • Doppelmayr FTW October 15, 2018 / 1:52 pm

      The reason Loon and many other Boyne resorts hasn’t seen much investment is because Boyne was only an Operator of them not the owner. as such they could not make infrastructure improvements unless there was a failure. now that Loon and others are back in Boynes hands They are free to make upgrades to the aging lift infrastructure. As for the Cabin replacement. I feel that is a temporary measure to keep the Gondola in good shape, doesn’t mean they wont still replace and relocate it. Such as Ramcharger Getting a drive upgrade the summer before its replacement.


    • Collin Parsons October 15, 2018 / 4:03 pm

      A reasonable assumption is that if any lift gets a large mid life upgrade, it will not likely be replaced for a long time. That’s effectively what happened with the old Ramcharger since it was relocated to Shedhorn with the upgraded components it received while still in its original location.


      • Peter Landsman October 15, 2018 / 4:14 pm

        At some ski areas, a recent major upgrade makes it more likely to get replaced ;)


        • Myles Svec January 15, 2021 / 11:30 pm

          An example of this would be Steamboats gondola which got new grips and a new cable and the next year it was fully replaced.


    • Jim January 20, 2020 / 7:09 pm

      Stupidest decision ever. I would love it if they would replace the Gondy with a rusty old fixed grip double chair. It would alleviate all the pressure on 7 bro’s and Kanc quad. The whole decision was based on summer popularity of the gondola.


    • skitheeast January 15, 2021 / 11:12 pm

      They really do need bigger cabins. It is a joke how small they are. Even if they do not want to boost capacity, it would be more comfortable as eight-passenger cabins with half as many cabins.

      However, I do think they could boost capacity and not have the trails be completely iced off at the top. A 50% boost would only have 1500 people per hour, which is really reasonable for Loon Peak, and it would greatly reduce the lift lines.


      • Carleton January 16, 2021 / 9:16 am

        It is in their 2030 plan to upgrade the gondola, but it’s not until the 2026-2030 timeframe. I believe the thinking is by upgrading the lifts around it, they’ll reduce the load on it for the near term. Since it is built into the base lodge, that certainly may add some complexity to the upgrade.


    • liftnerd February 9, 2023 / 6:25 pm

      It was not a good investment. However, the corners by the floor were rusted out, and it was discovered too late for a full replacement. Thus, it will be around for a while more.


  2. xlr8r June 29, 2018 / 1:09 pm

    The trails off the top of the gondola cannot handle anymore traffic, and there is no way to widen the trails or cut more trails from there. Once you get down to where the Tote Road quad begins/ends, the trails can handle more traffic. I think Loon actually would have good traffic flow if there was no gondola, as long as 7 brothers was a detach quad. But that’s never going to happen because of all the summer business the gondola brings.

    The gondola is always going to feel cramped, new cabins or old being 4 passenger. The more important needs investment wise are upgrading the terminals to get rid of the chain contour and upgrade to tires. Also those towers have to be getting towards the end of their life as they are from the original gondola built over 50 years ago now. I think this is just Boyne trying to get some marketing, cheaper than actually making a meaningful lift investment like upgrading 7 Brothers to a detach. Besides being forced to replace Borvig lifts post accidents in Maine, Boyne has not made a lift investment in New England in the last 10 years.


  3. Owen Mayo March 12, 2019 / 1:30 pm

    Boyne should replace the kancamagus quad with a high speed 6 that goes up to tote road area and move that quad over to seven brothers.


    • xlr8r March 12, 2019 / 7:01 pm

      The Kanc pod works well the way it is laid out, the quad could possibly be upgraded to a six, but It would be a mistake to extend it higher up the mountain. If it was extended up higher than grand junction would be even a bigger cluster f***. What Loon needs to do first more than anything else is replace 7 brother with a detachable quad.


    • TK February 3, 2021 / 7:06 pm

      That’s basically what their plan is now, minus moving the top of the Kanc.


  4. 3Sgondolaforloonnow! March 14, 2019 / 5:01 pm

    The opposing capacity issues of the gondola / gondola summit ski trails has me thinking outside the box. I’m interested to hear what issues you might see with this unorthodox plan. Replace both 7 Brothers and the Gondola and swap positions. New 7 brothers will be a detachable with 2000 to 2400 pph capacity, a big increase, and extend the top to just short of Grand Junction so riders will have access to Rolling Bear / Bear Pause and all of LMP. New Gondola will have 2000 pph capacity. To avoid overcrowding on Gondola Summit shorten East Basin to Cant Dog and reduce capacity to 700-800 pph. New EB will be an experts only lift obviously. Installing snowmaking-lite on Triple and improving snowmaking on middle Big Dipper might be helpful. Overall traffic on the true summit trail would stay the same but all those people would originate from the Octogon Base. Hardcore experts would use EB when they wanted to avoid the traffic. The bottom of new 7B would be put slope side (not in the Gondola Barn) which would free up valuable building area for improvements to the Octogon facilities.


  5. Owen Mayo April 5, 2019 / 2:34 pm

    These idea’s are all good but the bottom line his Boyne is not making any lift improvements to there east coast resorts. I’m not sure exactly but it looks like the new cabins are just the standard model and not the Omega IV like one of the cabins at on the Telluride chondola. This just shows there not willing to put much money into loon so I don’t see any major lift projects in the future.


    • Collin Parsons April 5, 2019 / 3:26 pm

      No question the Eastern Boyne resorts have some catching up to do with lifts. Boyne did not actually own them until this season, and CNL was responsible for capital improvements and instead they decided to run them into the ground and do nothing.

      The new cabins are exactly the same as the old. I have no clue why anyone thought that was a good idea at all. I didn’t think the old ones were a problem. The problem with this lift is it has poor capacity and can’t run in wind. When Boyne does get around to upgrading Loon’s lifts, we know they most certainly won’t replace the gondola. Instead I’d expect a replacement of the Kancamagus quad with a 6 pack and relocating it to replace Seven Brothers. That would help a lot since West Basin has plenty of trail acreage and capacity out of Octagon base sucks. There’s a ton of upper mountain capacity with the gondola, North Peak, and East Basin lifts.


  6. Emily Lukasiewicz April 23, 2019 / 1:45 pm

    Hi! If anyone purchased one of these old Loon Gondolas and can’t find a use for it, I would be interested in chatting with you! Thanks, Emily


  7. Nahms August 13, 2020 / 7:25 am

    As an owner of one of the old gondola cabins, I can tell you that these cabins were absolutely on their last legs. The doors and windows do not close all the way and the skylights and windows all leak. There is also quite a bit of rust, mostly inside. I imagine that the cabins simply needed to be replaced as they were 30 years old. Loon is in the White Mountain National Forest and replacing an entire gondola would have taken quite a bit of funding and permitting. When faced with replacing a perfectly good lift (it hardly ever goes down due to mechanical issues) which is absolutely a favorite of all Loon diehards and tourists -or- simply replacing the cabins (which requires no permits), they made the right decision. It’ll be interesting to see what is done with this lift in the future.


  8. Coolidge Folks January 24, 2021 / 10:39 am

    Loon Mountain either needs to up their game to the level of the consumers skiing here in terms of food-beverage, lodges, and definitely lifts (HAVE TO scrap gondola), or sell the mountain to somebody that will. We get it, it’s Boynes little cash cow that they don’t have to sync any money into and you’ll still fill the parking lots, but how about improving things for the loyal skiers that have stuck with this place over all the years. The sorry Loon 4-person gondola only doubles Mad Rivers Glens 70+ year old single chair WHEN THERE 4 PER GONDOLA! Now start loading one or two or three people on that four person gondola and you have a lift it does not provide the uphill capacity of the oldest single chair lift in North America. I don’t buy the theory that things can’t be slightly widened and modified to handle more people getting off a higher capacity left at the top of the gondola.


  9. skitheeast April 16, 2021 / 2:53 pm

    This lift’s official name is the White Mountain Express Gondola, but it is rarely ever called that, even by the resort itself.


  10. Morgan Wilcox August 11, 2021 / 9:55 pm

    Hopefully we will get a similar top and bottom terminal build when this lift is replaced as the new bottom terminal building as the new kanc.


  11. Liam Manchester January 20, 2022 / 9:52 pm

    What is the name of the type of terminal this gondola has? I think I saw MGD-210 somewhere but I’m not sure if that’s correct…


    • ShangRei Garrett February 2, 2023 / 4:40 pm

      I think it’s just a classic old Doppelmayr CLD-260, but I could be completely making things up


      • SCH February 5, 2023 / 10:10 am

        A CLD-260 would be a Chair Lift Detachable with a Lohmann 260 gearbox. Loon’s gondola is a Monocable Gondola Detachable with a Lohmann 215 gearbox: MGD 215

        Liked by 3 people

        • ShangRei Garrett February 5, 2023 / 10:12 am

          I had never realized that that was what the letters and numbers stand for. Thanks for the info!


    • SCH February 5, 2023 / 9:59 am

      It was a MGD-210 but the old Lohmann 210 gearbox was replaced with a 215 so now it’s a MGD-215


  12. Bluebottlenose February 2, 2023 / 10:44 am

    what is the point of a 4 person gondola with 1000 pph? Why not just put in an hsq with bubbles?


    • wayneme February 2, 2023 / 12:07 pm

      Higher capacity would cause further traffic issues on already crowded trails. Specifically, I think there are enough trails off the gondola summit itself, but the problem is the popular greens and blues all merge into Grand Junction (as does eastbound traffic from the Kanc lift) so it’s always been a total logjam right in the middle of the mountain.

      Plus, Loon’s had a gondola since day one — it’s integral to the Loon brand at this point, their target market (families) like a gondola, and they do a solid summer skyride business. And the Octagon Lodge base area is very crowded as is, so having the gondola terminal in the base lodge is probably a more efficient use of that limited space than having a ski-on chairlift terminal. I can’t believe they got new cabins that are seemingly exact replicas of that dated 1988 cabin design, though!

      With Loon improving the Adams Lodge/Kanc 8 base, and adding that new second base and beginner area on South, will be interesting to see if anything happens with the gondola, even if nothing else maybe those other developments will alter skier traffic and reduce the lines here.


  13. carletongebhardt February 9, 2023 / 8:45 pm

    Are there other four person gondolas still operating in the U.S.?


    • Ty February 10, 2023 / 9:41 am

      Theres a few 4 person Pulse Gondolas, but considering the cabins are in pods, im not sure that exactly counts


    • wayneme February 11, 2023 / 11:39 am

      I think the chondola at Telluride, CO uses four person cabins mixed with quad chairs. The main gondola is 8 or 10 though.

      Elsewhere in NH, Wildcat has four person cabins that it can run on its summit quad as a summer attraction, though I think those may have been a casualty of Vail Resorts cost-cutting after covid…


      • ShangRei Garrett February 25, 2023 / 12:53 pm

        Skyfari at San Diego Zoo, Bayside Searide at Seaworld San Diego, Sky Ride at the Minnesota State Fair, and the Village Gondola at Sugar Bowl, CA are all four person gondolas. I’m sure there are more of those old VonRoll 4 persons at other state fairs, zoos, and such across the US


  14. xlr8r February 10, 2023 / 11:56 am

    Jordanelle at Deer Valley, has 6 person cabins, but they made the seats big so that it is for 4 people


  15. bluebottlenose March 10, 2023 / 10:38 am

    I have always wondered what the point of a 4 person gondola is at ski resorts. You have less capacity than a double for probably 3 times the cost. Why not just have a normal HSQ here, it would probably be cheaper and have over double the capacity.


    • carletongebhardt March 10, 2023 / 2:12 pm

      In Loon’s case, they do a brisk business in summer with rides to summit, and non-skier foot traffic prefers a gondola to chairlift.

      Liked by 2 people

      • bluebottlenose March 13, 2023 / 6:11 am

        couldn’t they do a gondola 6 or a chondola like the one at telluride so that they have more capacity than a double? Or did that technology not really exist in 1988.


        • wayneme March 13, 2023 / 1:11 pm

          The lower terminal is inside a building attached to the base lodge, so there’s no way to load with skis on. Moving into a modern, standalone chondola terminal would be an even more substantial undertaking than usual, given how much landscaping and building teardown you’d have to do (if there’s even room there, which I really doubt there is — a reason the lodge terminal is needed there is that it lets the gondolas get up and out above the main entrance to that base area from the lot).

          Maybe they’ll move it up to 6 or 8 capacity if/when the gondola needs replacement, but the priority seems to now be spreading skiers around the resort. Remember that the gondola was the main base area of Loon for a long time, now they’ve built out the Kanc base area a lot more, there’s a new South Peak base area coming up next year closer to downtown, and there’s not much at the Lincoln Express base area but that didn’t exist in the o.g. Gondola days either.

          Liked by 2 people

        • icefaceny March 13, 2023 / 1:13 pm

          This lift linked above was built by Doppelmayr three years prior to their overhaul of the Loon Gondi, which was originally a Hall. Evidently, the next large leap in technology for Doppelmayr was mono-shell terminals rather than an external bullwheel with its own drive terminal. You can tell they were still in that early design stage by the windows on the top terminal of the gondola, they are nearly identical to the line-side windows on the Mont Sutton lift.

          So, not only were combination lifts still most likely an invention yet to come, but I’m actually somewhat confident that the Loon Gondola has the same line gauge as a regular HSQ, probably because Loon elected to overhaul an existing installation and reuse Hall towers. The other issue is that because of where the lift is located (inside, sandwiched between three other buildings), in order to meaningfully upgrade capacity, a wider space than what is available would be required, which would mean careful and expensive construction so as not to disturb the preexisting structures. Don’t forget that the inside of the bottom terminal is used for 100% cabin storage, something that would be impossible to achieve with a larger lift in the same spot without serious construction work. If you can find pictures of the original Hall, you’ll notice that the bottom terminal was already modified in 1988 to be larger than the original. If all of that isn’t enough to explain why they did what they did, I should also mention that Loon is located on National Forest land, and extra permitting is required for tree cutting and construction, both of which would have been lengthy, time consuming, beaurocratic processes that might have meant that they couldn’t construct anything in time for the opening of the winter season. They might have been able to avoid most of that because they didn’t have to cut any new trees for a wider lift.

          All that being said, I agree with you. Loon should absolutely upgrade this lift, the lines on weekends are insane. This lift is only getting more expensive to operate as it gets older, I heard the new cabin order was very expensive because CWA just doesn’t manufacture that type of cabin anymore, therefore it was a custom order. You can imagine how the rest of the machine is getting to that vintage too.

          Liked by 2 people

        • bluebottlenose March 14, 2023 / 7:22 am

          I know that it would be very complicated with forest service and reconstructing the building but it really seems that this lift needs replacement by now. I understand now why they went with the 4-person gondola in 1988 thanks to wayneme, but judging by what the people who ski here say (me not being one of them) this lift definitely sounds like it needs replacement. It sounds like this thing still has lines despite the kanc8, and i think that modern technology would make it much easier than it would have been in the late 1980’s, and they are clearly not hurting for cash considering the kanc8.


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