The next time you find yourself using trail signs to find your way down Loon Mountain in a raging blizzard, thank Cara.
Cara is the woman responsible for hand-crafting all of the mountain’s
trail signs – plus every other sign you see on the property, from the Slopeside Deli to the ticket booths.
This Summer, Cara is making nearly two-dozen new trail signs that will go up on the mountain next winter. We met with Cara last week in her sign shop, and asked what it’s like to be Loon’s resident sign maker.
Loon Mountain: You’re making 20 new trail signs this summer. How do you decide which signs to replace?
Cara: Jeff Martel [director of Loon’s Ski Patrol] skis around and notices which ones need to be replaced. Sometimes they get stolen. He finds which ones are missing or that need to be repaired or redone because they’re rotting, and then he’ll give me the list. We get the wood, and I hand-router them, freehand. We don’t use templates or anything. And then I paint them and ski patrol comes and puts them back up.
Loon Mountain: When is your busiest time of year in the sign shop?
Cara: The end of October/November is busy busy.
Loon Mountain: Is it difficult to hand-carve all of these trail signs?
Cara: Yeah, but I like doing it though. It’s artsy-craftsy. It’s
more than just the vinyl, which is easier. I like to paint. I sculpt dolls, is what I normally do. I’m more of a sculptor and I like doing work with my hands and doing crafty stuff, woodworking and carving.
Loon Mountain: Do you make just trail signs?
Cara: I do all the signs from the menus that are in the cafeterias to the deli sign that’s outside of the deli, the parking lot signs, all the signs you see.
Loon Mountain: How did you get this job?
Cara: I’ve worked at Loon 26 years. I’ve been in the sign shop about 16 years. I used to work on the base ops crew doing the shoveling and stuff. The person that used to be in here left, and I used to help him quite a bit during the downseason. So they said “Well, you’d be a good candidate.”