Rarely do ski town bars count as much into the "where to go skiing this weekend" equation as Loon Mountain's Paul Bunyan Room does. The hexagonal turret and surrounding deck look out on Loon's standout terrain park, and the piles of Starter jackets and rental skis waiting in the gondola line, and the bar itself is the center of adult activity at the mountain from lunch until it's time to wobble home in your ski boots after last call. New York native Charlie Wheeler moved to the area in the '90s to attend nearby Plymouth State after a stint in the Navy, and has been managing the Bunyan Room for almost 10 years now. He gives us the inside perspective on his years manning the bar at the local landmark.
Where did the catchphrase "Sweettime!" come from?
Sweettime started with a couple of guys that I hired to work for me as barbacks in the Bunyan Room, Jeff Park and Kurt "KC" Christensen. They would use it if they thought something was good, but I began to use it for just about everything. The crew at the Bunyan Room bought in, and it has become somewhat of a mantra at the bar. Sweettime can mean many different things to all kinds of people, but it's always positive.
What was the worst night you've ever had at the Bunyan Room?
Would have to be Superbowl Sunday in 2008. The Patriots were playing the Giants, and the Pats were on the verge of history with their undefeated season. I'm a Giants fan, but to see the disappointment in everyone's face at the end of the game just made me sad… The Giants won and the Pats' dream season ended in tragedy.
Who are the most colorful regulars at the bar?
Let's start with Skid and his crew who visit the mountain just about every day of the season, midweek only, since they don't brave the weekend traffic. You will find them at the end of the bar drinking PBR and playing liars' dice, and always telling stories of the last run down the mountain.
Any famous celeb appearances?
Oh, yeah. Scott Zolack and Matt Light from the Patriots, Pat Moore, Bode Miller, Gretchen Bleiler, Danny Kass.
What is the craziest thing you've seen?
Would've happened at this year's Halloween party, just a few weeks ago. We had a packed house and everyone did a great job with their costumes. But two girls were on the dance floor and squared off in a mini dance contest, with one dressed up as Batwoman and one as Superwoman. Everything seemed to be going along great until things started to get chippy. Before I knew it, we had Batwoman and Superwoman throwing down in the middle of the dance floor. It took everyone a minute to realize they were not joking.