“Holy shit there are still skiers at Loon and Waterville??” was my reaction when I saw this video the other week. While the pair of NH hills has grown and hosted stellar ski scenes in the past, and used to even have some rad ski contests like The Weekend , Waterville and Loon have lately been known as snowboard-only mountains. So it was to my surprise to see a stellar edit of a kid (yes, in tight pants) shredding the signature orange and red rails. We thought it was worth getting to know this anomaly and hear his thoughts on the Loon scene and East Coast skiing in general, although we’re not sure how strong the Venice analogy is…
My name is Mark Pomykato. I am a male human being from New Hampshire. What I’m doing currently is attempting to cool down my apartment since they decided to turn the heat on when it was 65 degrees outside. I live on the fourth floor. Heat rises.
What I’m doing on a broader scale is working at a ski shop in Manchester and working for Atomic, helping out with rep-ly duties around New England. I’m also recovering from shoulder surgery so I haven’t been able to play skateboards in six weeks, which is a bummer. I’ve almost recovered though, and I’ll be groovin’ come ski season.
The ski scene at UNH was strange. There were always ski premieres in the fall on campus and they’d always be well attended, but I don’t rightly know where the vast majority of kids went once it started snowing. I think they only showed up for the free t-shirts and four year old dvds they tossed out before hand. I only met a small handful of people I actually skied with at school. My tenure there was mostly spent slumming around Plymouth on weekends after I met some homies up that way. I got along better with the dudes I met up there, and they were always stoked to actually go skiing after a night of debauchery. Apparently UNH has one of the biggest ski clubs in the country, but again, unless I was totally clueless, I didn’t see much of that in practice and I spent a lot of time at the mountain.
Waterville is on its way back for sure. Back in the glory days, I never skied at Loon, but around 05/06, things really fell off hard under the hands of a certain clueless terrain park manager. Since then though, Luke Mathison and his crew have really brought things back, and now that Tom Peplinski is there building jumps, the poma lift is becoming the place to spend the day once more. Tom built that 120 foot stepdown at Superpark a few years back. Suffice it to say, he knows how to drive a cat.
Loon is a funny place, man. It’s got this reputation like Venice did in the 70′s lately, like kooks need not apply. I think in reality though, there is just such a tight knit crew up there that if you don’t know ‘em, you might think you’re getting vibed out by everyone. I’ve been buddies with the coolboarders up there forever, and I’ve also managed to weasel my way into being sponsored by Loon. As they love to remind me, I’m the only skier they don’t hate. These words coming from some of the park crew veterans go a long way. They’re all good friends of mine, and I’ve always gotten on better with them than with the general freeskiing public for whatever reason. In general, it is a probably snowboarder’s mountain, but I think I like it better that way.
I will tell you though, it’s not the kind of mountain where color coordinated 4xl windsuits are going to garner much respect, and thank god it for that.
The best thing about college, although I’ve graduated and since moved on, was Big Blue (the legendary Blue Lodge) in Plymouth. I never went to school there, but it was my home away from home on weekend. It was there that I met the dudes who would become my best buds for years to come. The era is long gone and the homies have dissipated throughout the country, but we’re still all as tight as we’ve ever been. I met my best friend Kevin up there, for example, and he has since gone on to hold the unofficial record of being dropped by the most companies in snowboarding. Credentials like that don’t come along very often.
People like to bitch and moan about the East Coast, saying how bad the conditions are and how “if you can ski here, you can ski anywhere” like its Navy SEALs training for greener pastures out west, but I love everything about it here. True, we aren’t exactly blessed with regular snowfall, and January and February can sometimes be like skiing on asphalt, but I’ve skied plenty of other places, and a good day at Loon beats them all. Not to mention having a park crew who hand builds every feature, including welding their own rails, goes a long way. It’s impossible not to have fun there. And when it does snow and the trees fill in, the secret stashes are better than anything I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting into.
Never will you see so many sports teams represented on the hill at one time than at Loon on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Weekend. It’s entertaining, there’s no doubt about that. But I don’t need to park a half-mile away in exchange for a few cheap laughs at all the Patriots attire that can be spotted on the hill. Vermont is even worse. I’ll take Massachusetts locals over New York and New Jersey anyday.
Except that one kid who snowbikes in the gas mask and Slipknot hat. God bless that kid, wherever he may be from.