Making the Best of First Tracks of the Season

Trip Report – Bretton Woods – 11/28/15
Kathy Bennett

Despite gray skies on this late November Saturday morning, the slopes were calling and I loaded the chairlift not long after 8am at Bretton Woods the weekend after Thanksgiving. Despite record-warm temperatures in many places in New England the day before, temperatures were hovering in the high 30s and the snow was a sweet soft turning consistency that made for forgiving first runs of the season.

The best advice to any skier is to get there for first chair and Saturday was no exception. With 6 trails open, making for over 56 acres and 3 miles of skiable terrain, it was great to start the ski season on their wide forgiving slopes, without the need to dodge other skiers until later in the day when my legs were more solidly under me.

A great way to regain those ski legs is to take a lesson, and Bretton Woods’ orange-uniformed snowsports instructors are already out in force with students on the hill. This was a great reminder that early season is the time to take a lesson, before a wider variety of terrain and more compelling snow conditions lure you away.

Bretton Woods’ investment in snow making was apparent. Despite a warm November, they have already been open for over a week. Snow surfaces were well covered (6-24” snow depth)  – so there was no need to break out the rock skis this day. No wonder the Woods ranks high in ratings for grooming and snow making. That and their higher elevation in the shadow of Mount Washington make them a great bet for early season skiing.

Early season skiing with friends at Bretton Woods 11/28/15

Early season skiing with friends at Bretton Woods 11/28/15


Taking a break on the Big Ben trail.



One of the two elements set up for an early season terrain park.


Bretton Woods is just one of 3 Mount Washington Valley ski areas now open, along with Cranmore and Wildcat. All three will be resuming snowmaking as temperatures allow. Skiers can look for more terrain to open soon, and more areas to join their ranks well ahead of the important Christmas vacation week. Visitors are encouraged to book their holiday plans now and be ready for some awesome December skiing!

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Jeb Bradley’s White Mountain Photo Show

On Friday December 4, NH State Senator and avid hiker Jeb Bradley will unveil a show of his White Mountain photographs at the Tuckerman Brewery at 64 Hobbs Street in Conway. The opening reception will be from 5pm to 8pm.
The collection will be on display through the new year during our normal taphouse hours daily. Jeb has long hiked in the White Mountains and completed his first round of all 48 of the New Hampshire 4000 foot high peaks in November of 2004 — only a short time after the Red Sox won their first World Series title in 86 years.
Reaching that goal instilled in Jeb a not only a deep love of the New Hampshire mountains, but also a desire to climb all 48 peaks in winter. He started that effort slowly as learning how to deal with adverse weather conditions, snow, ice and equipment took time. But after several winters he had completed that list also.
That was only the beginning, and coincides with his election to the NH State Senate. “By 2009 I had learned about “the GRID” and I remember thinking, “Why not? I love hiking. I love being outdoors in the mountains and I needed the constant exercise.”
The GRID is an ambitious undertaking. Completion means climbing all 48 New Hampshire 4000 peaks in every month. There is no time limit, but it took Jeb about six years to reach all 48 peaks in every calendar month, which results in a total of 576 successful summits.
In January of 2015, Jeb became the 49th person to accomplish that goal on the not-for-faint-of-heart Mt. Adams and Mt. Madison. “In January Jeb had to cancel several trips up Adams and Madison due to high winds and cold temperatures. We all wondered if Jeb would get a decent day to finish because January is such a difficult month especially above tree-line. But he was patient and one my favorite pictures in his show is the ‘Gathering Twilight over Mt. Adams’ which was taken the day he finished,” said Karen McNiff who has joined Jeb many times on hikes.
In mid-January there was a stretch of great weather and he was able to finish his GRID. Jeb has also completed nearly a third of his second GRID and also climbed all 48 peaks in the single winter season of 2013/2014 which he considers harder than completing the GRID.
Along the way Jeb has taken thousands of pictures and having seen the mountains in so many different conditions and seasons his pictures transport the viewer into the ever changing White Mountain environment. “I have to admit that I am partial to winter pictures as the snow sculptures especially above tree line are unique and the distinct colors of sky, clouds, snow, and ice are a fantastic setting for my camera to go to work.”

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Jackson XC Preps for 2015-16 Season with New Website, Trail Access Point

Season Passes on Sale Now at Best Price

The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (Jackson XC) is preparing for the upcoming season with an updated website, new trail access point and their annual season pass promotion, which runs through November 30.

Season passes are currently on sale at $140 for adults, $65 for teens (ages 14-18), $43 for juniors (ages 10-13) and $119 for full-time Jackson residents. These prices are the lowest of the year and valid through November 30, 2015. Passes can be purchased through their online shop at and include unlimited use of the trails, access to the base facilities, lodge and wax room, free Wi-Fi access and discounts at the Gorham Bike & Ski Sport Shop, among other perks.

The Jackson XC website has been updated so it is more user friendly, interactive and includes several new features: a new trail report format, onsite donation processing, an improved online store and an online volunteer sign-up form.

Visitors to the Jackson XC trail network will be able to access a new trailhead on Valley Cross Road, which improves access to the Wave, Jackson XC’s international race course, and snowshoeing and recreation trails.

Jackson XC is offering new events this year, including the Baxter Brewing Co. Packed Powder series (5 km winter triathlon) on January 9; NENSA Women’s Day on January 24 and the Cross Cat Touring Challenge with Wildcat Mountain on February 28 and monthly evening program series starting in December. Jackson XC’s popular weekly events like Tuesday Trekkers, Friday Gliders & Sliders and Guided Snowshoe Tours will also be offered along with Annual White Mountain Classic 30 km will be held on January 23.  For more information, visit the online events page.

The Jackson Ski Touring Foundation is a community based not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization, chartered to maintain trails in and around the charming Village of Jackson, NH. The Foundation maintains 150 km of varied and breathtaking cross country ski and snowshoe trails. Foundation trails connect with A.M.C. trails in Pinkham Notch and White Mountain National Forest backcountry adventure trails. The Foundation operates under a Special-Use Permit with the White Mountain National Forest, and with the cooperation of 75 private landowners, and the Village of Jackson.  More information about the Foundation and its offerings can be found on the web at

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An Old Fashioned Christmas in North Conway Village

I can’t wait to see all of you and too choose a child to help me light the tree in North Conway Village’s Schouler Park at 5:30 this Saturday, November 28. And then we will have a “Parade of Carols” down main street where we will stop for a moment at the library where the Librarian will come out and hand me the official “Twas the Night Before Christmas” book that I will read to all of you at the Eastern Slope Inn Playhouse after another child is chosen to help me light the Eastern Slope Inn Resort.

See you soon.

Your friend, Santa

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Cranmore Kicks off the Winter Season with Brew Fest and Warren Miller’s “Chasing Shadows” at Annual Homecoming Event

Cranmore Mountain Resort will celebrate the start of skiing and riding season with annual Homecoming at Zip’s Pub featuring trail sign auction and live music

On Saturday, November 28, Cranmore Mountain Resort will host their annual Homecoming celebration. The event will feature a local brew fest, trail sign auction, informal rail jam, cash bar, live music and premier of the latest Warren Miller film, Chasing Shadows.

Homecoming will be held at Zip’s Pub and Grille beginning at 3pm, with live music from local musician Ryan St. Onge from 3:30-6:30, and a with a full bar and limited menu available at Zip’s during the event.

The local brew fest will feature samples from local brewery’s including Tuckerman’s, the Moat, Sam Adams, Narragansett, amongst others.

Passports for the beer tasting are $10, and are available for guests 21+. New Homecoming 5 oz tasting glasses will also be available for $8 each or packaged with a passport for $15.

Cranmore’s popular Mug Club will also be opened up for the 2015-16 season. Mugs are $50 for new members and $40 for returning members. Benefits of the Mug Club include 50% off appetizers in Zip’s Pub and Grill, a Mug Club t-shirt and a 20oz pour on all draft beers for the price of a 16oz pour. All Mug Club holders are also invited to an end of the season dinner and are included in special Mug Club only après raffles throughout the season.

During the event, guests will have an opportunity to bid on a piece of the mountain to take home during the trail sign silent auction. Proceeds from the trail sign auction will go directly to the Jimmy Mersereau Memorial Scholarship Foundation. Founded in 2009, in honor of the passing of Cranmore’s long time Mountain Operations Director, Jimmy Mersereau, the foundation supports students interested in a career in ski area operations.

The Cranmore Terrain Park crew will host an informal rail jam behind the deck of Zip’s Pub during the event. This fun and laid-back rail jam is free, and open to skiers and riders of all ages and abilities.

Homecoming will conclude with a premiere of Warren Miller’s latest ski film, Chasing Shadows. Warren Miller’s 66th release is a celebration of why we commit ourselves every winter to a passion that’s guaranteed to melt away every spring, and will follow the world’s biggest names in skiing and snowboarding on a breathtaking cinematic journey. The cast includes JT Holmes, Seth Wescott, Caroline Gleich, Steven Nyman, Marcus Caston and more as they pursue turns on the mountains of Chamonix, Alaska’s Chugach, the Chilean Andes, Utah’s Wasatch and the Himalaya range.

Doors for the movie will open at 6:30pm, with a 7pm showing. Tickets are $10 per person and children 5 and under are free. An all inclusive homecoming ticket including tasting passport, sampling glass and movie ticket is also available for $20.

Tickets options are available online at or at the door. Advanced reservations are highly recommended.

For more information on Homecoming and Chasing Shadows visit or call 1-800-SUN-N-SKI.

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Bear Notch Ski Touring Center’s 20th Annual Open House

Good News Cross Country Skiers! Join the fun Friday – Sunday Nov. 27, 28, 29 from 10 am – 4 pm at Bear Notch Ski Touring Center’s 20th Annual Open House.

FREE Season Passes will be issued to anyone up to 18 years old plus we have Pre-season prices on 2015-2016 BNST adult membership.
$135.00 (reg. $155.00) – Couples – $130.00 each – 60 yrs+ $120.00
(Please bring 1” x 1” picture)

Gift certificates available
20% discount on new equipment packages

Looking for a great deal? Check out last season’s Rossignol rental and demo packages (our used equipment is in very good condition)

Come find out what you’ve been missing. Take a scenic and relaxing walk or (maybe a ski) on our trails in the pristine upper Saco River Valley.

Let us make a Bear Notch Believer out of you.

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2nd annual College Scholarships Fair

Mount Washington Valley Promotions will host their 2nd annual College Scholarships Fair on Monday, November 23, from 5:30-7pm at Granite State College.

Learn about some local college scholarships you may not be aware of. Talk to the people in charge about who is eligible, how to apply and when the deadlines are.

Open to ALL who are seeking scholarships.
Some Financial Aid information will be available, as well.
FMI: (603) 374-6241 or (603) 733-8452

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