Make a Resolution to Ski This New Year

Do holiday crowds keep you from the slopes during vacation weeks? A lesser known fact is that New Year’s Day is a relatively soft day for business at ski areas. As revelers sleep off their New Year’s Eve festivities, diehard skiers hit the slopes in lesser numbers on January 1.
Today was no exception as crowds for first tracks were scarce at Attitash as the bullwheel started turning at 8:30am sharp. The front row spot in the parking lot was an early indicator that this was going to be a day of open slopes for those of us who traded New Year’s Eve libations for early turns in 2016.
Attitash reported 9 trails open on two peaks including top to bottom ski on both Attitash and Bear Peak. We boarded the Summit Triple for what was easily the pick of the day, Humphrey’s Ledge. The Ledge had edge to edge coverage and a tasty dusting of powder on machine groomed snow surfaces. This week’s snow event had sweetened up conditions,and clearly elevation preserved conditions higher up on the mountain.
Photos: Kathy Bennett
We took a quick detour up the lookout tower at the top of the Triple. The New Year’s bluebird weather made for spectacular views north to the Presidentials, and south to fellow Valley ski areas Black and Cranmore. It was here that the week’s earlier snowfall was most apparent as you could see the white stuff on all the surrounding peaks.
After a few runs off the summit we boarded the Flying Yankee Quad to give our legs a break on a few short trips down Moat. Lower elevation trails had a firmer surface, but still very edgeable – a good reminder of the importance of well-tuned skis especially earlier in the season.
Beginners were welcomed with terrain in their learning center and Snowbelt area, which a keen listener overheard had the best snow on the mountain.
Attitash, which boasts New Hampshire’s most powerful snowmaking system, clearly had gone to town with snowmaking efforts this week once the warmer weather left town. Snow guns are positioned throughout the resort, and as we were heading towards the lodge, a team of snowmakers proudly paraded towards their day’s duties on the slopes. We gave them a sharp salute and thanked them for their efforts. This year more than ever, there would be no skiing without them.
Skiing is all about enjoying the conditions no matter what Mother Nature gives you. Today taught me that the pre-season gym workouts were worthwhile as I was easily able to turn, edge and keep my balance regardless of inconsistent surfaces at times. And it’s never a bad time when you get to spend a lovely holiday morning on the slopes with your friends.
Kathy Bennett
January 1, 2016
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