words: Mary Walsh
photos: Gus Noffke and Mary Walsh
The holiday season is often a blur of eggnog, that pine tree smell, online shopping, and too much ham. By the time Christmas day rolls around and you’ve opened up all the presents, you’re ready to stuff those new socks Santa delivered into your dresser and hit the road in search of powder, corduroy, ice–you’ll take anything at this point just to be back on your board and away from marathons of Home Alone playing on TBS. Luckily, there is one day that is more sacrosanct than any other in New England’s winter calendar and it arrives just in time to clear away the metaphorical remnants of wrapping paper: ReLoonion.
For the past eight seasons, ReLoonion has been a gathering of locals, transplants, pros/aspiring pros/washed up pros, industry scumbags, legends, NH Dirts, Plymouth State alum, and everyone else who calls or has at one point called Loon Mountain home. In 2007, Loon’s Jay Scambio and Brian Norton ushered in what would become the most hallowed day of the year by calling up their friends and fellow PSU Snowboard Club alums to reunite in Lincoln, New Hampshire for a day of hot laps and cold beers at the mountain they spent their formative years at and the first ReLoonion was born. As anyone on the East Coast will tell you, anything schemed up by these two is probably worth attending and over the better part of the past decade, ReLoonion has grown into a highly anticipated day of mobbing down Flying Fox in way-too-close group formation, doing your best to not sustain collision-related injuries while making it down to the liftline for more of the same. While new faces have been added to the crew each winter, the spirit of the reunion remains the same and grows deeper with each shit-talking gondola ride up and each hairy, way-too-fast run down.
For the eighth iteration of ReLoonion, the clique was thick as the gondola line grew with every familiar face that joined the mayhem. The weather was unseasonably mild and at any given time, rowdy humans packed the Bunyan Room porch as well as the line up at the top of the LMP. An incomplete roll call included Bill Enos, Brad Gorges, Tanner McCarty, Nelson Wormstead, Aaron Diamond, Shane “Shanesaw” Nassar, Avert Guldemond, Eugene Stancato, Jacques Beriau, Andre Beriau and their dad, Mr. Beriau, Cole Martin, Cole St. Martin, Megan Burke, Matt Cunha, Big Mike, Graham Hoffman, Henry Padden, David Stags, Tyler L’Heureux, Ian Hart, Stephen Bryan, Fatt Matt, Scott McCurdy, Travis Neuenhaus, Chase Chicoine, Ian Feliney, Katie and Kima Bacevicius, Heather Foley, Dylan Dragotta, Andrew Aldridge, Gravedigger, Merrick Joyce, Mikey, Steve, and Phil Gallant, and of course Loon’s in house guys including Norton, Scambio, Kevin Bell, Joe Irvine, Noah Wilderman, Jay Vadebonnecouer, Jay Minassian, Doug Poole, Gus Noffke, and many, many more.
As the sun moved over the White Mountains, laps were taken, beers were imbibed, and for a few short hours so many folks who maybe only see each other but once a year made copious turns together (including some unique and rare Lower Flying Fox carves). Whoever coined the phrase, “you can’t go home again,” has never been to Loon Mountain, because each year, whether you live 30 minutes or 3,000 miles from this boarding bastion in New Hampshire, climbing into the gondola and making turns down Bearclaw only gets better and better with each lap. Consequently, the PBR in the Bunyan Room tastes the same, but that’s probably good, too. Regardless, it’s these runs that will last until next December 26th when the ninth annual ReLoonion brings everyone together once again. Cheers.