Category Archives: Adventure in Mt. Washington Valley

Still Skiing in Mt. Washington Valley

By Kathy Bennett
for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

While the ground is brown south of here, the snow base is still deep and white at the ski areas in and around North Conway. The end of March usually sees some ski areas call it quits – due to a lack of skiers, not a lack of snow.

But there is still plenty of skiing left here into April.

Yesterday I skied the popular Ellis River Trail Loop at Jackson Ski Touring. As you can see from the photos, the snow is still deep. The rivers and streams were flowing but the trail was groomed with coverage edge to edge.  JSTF former Executive Director Thom Perkins confirmed that their mid-November open date is among their earliest and manager Deb Deschenes said it was a great season right up until the end, which takes place on March 31.

Those wishing to continue xc skiing can continue fun on skinny skis at Bear Notch Ski Touring. They have not published a closing date yet, but the Garlands usually keep the groomers going as long as they can. Last year on Easter Sunday I enjoyed skiing there, taking advantage of their higher elevations and shaded trails which keep their snow longer than most.

Sunday brought me to Wildcat. The fog and forecast of rain scared off most folks, which left the deep, soft-turning snow for those of us who were more intrepid. The warm air was a treat and I skied without googles. The fog was not an impediment as visibility was reasonable and the fog was off and on skiing down through the elevations. What was consistent was the snow quality, with only a few areas showing more variable/spring conditions. They will easily make it to Easter, when they have fun events scheduled on April 21.

Cranmore ends daily operations today but will reopen April 6-7.  Wildcat has not published an estimated close date on their website. Bretton Woods has posted an April 15 close date. 

Check here for the most recent listing of closings and end of season events.

Closing dates are subject to change so visit each resort website for the latest and greatest. But don’t put those skis away just yet!

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Skiing and Lunch and Fat Biking, Oh My

By Isaac Rader
for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

If you can come back from a day proud of just how much you ache, then it’s been a good day.

If any other sentence so sums up our outing at Great Glen, I can’t think of it. It started after a morning of skiing at Wildcat, as we decided to go relax with lunch at the Glen House Hotel at Mt. Washington. It proved to be wonderfully relaxing as we sat, nursing flatbreads and a beer in plain view of the Presidential Range.

It is the kind of restaurant where we could comfortably sit for hours. That is until we decided to go fat biking! Exploring Great Glen’s miles and miles of trails on bikes specially made for the snow was… difficult. Very, very difficult. But it was incredibly fun to do something so unique and get out into nature to appreciate the jaw-dropping vistas all around us.

If you miss spring, summer, or fall biking, then we recommend trying fat biking. It hurt – a lot – but it was an ache we could be proud of, for we had accomplished a lot. For more information contact Great Glen Trails.

Ghost Hunters Weekend Coming to Bernerhof Inn

Are you a fan of paranormal activity and would like to be part of the fun and mystery of a ghost hunting adventure? Central Maine Ghost Hunters and the Bernerhof Inn of Bartlett, NH are coming together to offer an exclusive Ghost Hunters Weekend, March 29-30, 2019. A complete lodging package including breakfast, dinner, lodging and ghost hunting activities is offered for just $749 per couple.

The event takes place at the Bernerhof Inn, the distinctive historic inn located on Route 16 in Bartlett, NH, just minutes from Attitash Mountain in the heart of Mount Washington Valley and close to North Conway activities and outlet shopping.

Guests at the Ghost Hunters Weekend have their choice of rooms at the historic inn. Shown here, the Jackson Village Room.
The crew from Central Maine Ghost Hunters. Photo credit: Central Maine Ghost Hunters

Guests will enjoy a pre-investigation orientation meet and greet and discussion on understanding paranormal investigating. Innkeeper Nick Panno explained, “Guests will be invited to learn how to use the equipment you’ve seen on TV, including K-II EMF detectors, spirit boxes, voice recorders, dowsing rods and more. After the meet and greet,  you’ll get to use these pieces of equipment in a group investigation. This is going to be an amazing experience! We are so excited to work with Central Maine Ghost Hunters to bring this exclusive event to the Bernerhof!”

But the ghost hunting is just part of the experience at this luxurious bed and breakfast. Guests will be welcomed Friday night with a three-course meal prepared by the Inn’s executive chef. Saturday night’s dinner will be served family-style before kicking off an evening of ghost hunting festivities. Each day will begin with a scratch-cooked breakfast in the Inn’s cozy dining room.

When booking, guests can select among the Inn’s 12 unique rooms, many with in-room Jacuzzi tubs, electric and gas fireplaces, flat screen TVs and free wifi. The rooms feature many fine traditional antiques and European styled touches, with a dose of modern elegance and many state-of-the-art amenities.

Ski season is still in full swing in Mount Washington Valley so guests can ghost hunt at night and ski all day at the many ski areas minutes from the Inn. Ask about how to access discount ski tickets when making your reservation.

Due to limited availability, reservations for this special package are only available by calling innkeeper Nick Panno directly at 603-383-4200. Room choice is on a first-come-first-served basis. The Bernerhof Inn was recently rated as the #1 Inn in Bartlett, NH by TripAdvisor.com and is well known for its high level of customer service and personal attention. For more information, visit them online at www.bernerhofinn.com.

Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm’s 16th Annual Ice Harvest & Winter Carnival

Remick Country Doctor Museum & Farm’s 16th Annual Ice Harvest & Winter Carnival was held this past weekend in Tamworth. As a family who’s attended the past two years, we were aware of what to expect and what the challenges would be with young kids, especially parking. We made sure to get there early enough to enjoy the whole day so arrived close to 11:30am. The day ahead hardly seemed like it would be long enough for my two, who couldn’t get enough and were sure to be among the last to leave.

It was a great day spent with family and friend, a day filled with fun for everyone. We started with the kids games and scavenger hunt, a visit to the ice house, followed by the interest of harvesting ice ourselves. My 3-year old was very intrigued and determined to push the block of ice her 7-year old brother cut. After watching the huge blocks of ice being hauled by the oxen we were ready for s’mores and some sweet treats as we sat outside of the sugar shack by the fire.

Before we left for the event I asked my kids what they were most excited to see and do. My 3-year old said, “I want to see the pig.” Hmm. Not sure that would happen if I reminded her of everything else we’d see but she seemed satisfied. When we arrived we were happily surprised to find out that this year’s ice sculpture was a pig. After tons of fun and two sleepy kids, I asked them what their favorite activity was. My son took a second and thought, “all of it.” My daughter looked at me with confidence and said, “the pig.” Of course!

What a great day. Thank you to the staff at Remick Museum & Farm.

 

Ski North Conway, New Hampshire

By Kathy Bennett
for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

What ski areas are in North Conway? Where can I ski in North Conway? Why was North Conway voted the best ski town in North America? These are the questions skiers are searching for online and we’re glad to share the good news – North Conway is the place to go with plenty of ski deals, ski shops, ski condo rentals, ski packages and more!

First, a bit of clarification. The Mt Washington Chamber of Commerce represents dozens of towns in and around the greater Mt Washington Valley region including northern Carroll County and western Maine, with North Conway at its heart. But thanks to our strong reputation with North Conway recently voted the best ski town in North America, some people refer to the region as just “North Conway.” That’s OK – but let me share with you my week on skis so you can see how much further the skiing extends.

Wednesday, I took part in Mountain Meisters at Cranmore Mountain which is, indeed, in North Conway proper. Mountain Meisters is the country’s largest recreational ski race league. Every Wednesday, literally hundreds of skiers take to the NASTAR course and take timed turns. Meisters are known for being great apres skiers as well. Many locals either arrange their schedule to take Wednesdays off, while others take their runs on their lunch break (as I did). That my friends is the benefit of living and working in a ski town. Don’t live here? No worries. You can be part of the Meister scene in Zip’s Pub. It would be inaccurate to say it’s apres ski because the party is all day, indoors and out. As the days get longer and warmer, many take to the back deck to sun worship. Learn firsthand why Cranmore is known as “Tanmore.”

The glades were open at Cranmore this week!


Are skinny skis more your style? North Conway is also known for its xc ski centers. The biggest in North America is
Jackson Ski Touring just north of North Conway. My husband and I stopped at the Old Village Bakery in North Conway Village and loaded our backpack with snacks, then went to the Touring Center to wax our skis. As it was a cold and fast kind of day, we applied Klister with a coating of hard wax over it. It did the trick with just the right combination of kick and glide. Jackson has a full-service ski shop in its lodge – stop by Gorham Bike & Ski and ask for advice on waxing. We took to the Ellis River Trail to the Coco Cabin where we enjoyed our baked goods by the outdoor fire pit. Perfect!

The Coco Cabin
Ever dream of skiing through a covered bridge?


As an outdoor fresh air junkie,  I wasn’t satisfied with a few hours cross country skiing, so I tried night skiing at
King Pine Purity Springs Resort once the sun set. My 21-year-old got out of work at 4:30pm so we were able to spend a few hours of quality time on the slopes together. Night skiing at King Pine is very economical, only $29 to ski ‘til 9pm. Grab a rental for only $25 and you can get your gear and a ticket for less than the cost of a lift ticket alone. Such a deal!

Sunday was a day for alpine skiing. Another way to ski North Conway is to go to Bartlett, NH and ski Attitash. Attitash has two peaks and a slopeside hotel.  I got a great deal on lift tickets with a 40% discount when I bought online in advance. Check out their site for what specials they have online now. Remember that their tickets are interchangeable with Wildcat. Ski conditions have held up nicely after snow started accumulating here in October!

So if you are making plans for your February ski vacation, remember that there is more to North Conway skiing than North Conway! From Madison to Jackson, from Bretton Woods to Conway, we have dozens of ski areas to keep you busy all winter long! Look for your North Conway snow reports at SkiNorthConwayNH.com and ski and stay packages at MtWashingtonValley.org

Ice climbers love North Conway NH and the White Mountains

By Isaac Rader
for the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce

We hung out and watched a group of ice climbers learn safety techniques at Cathedral Ledge. Led by an outfit from Maine this group learned safety procedures, how to use ice axes, finding the best handholds, and proper climbing stance.

And, if you didn’t know already, the White Mountains are a mecca for ice climbers and renowned for climbing in general!

Ice climbing isn’t scary, and there are lots of opportunities all around us. If you want to try this unique sport, don’t hesitate! Find an instructor and enjoy it while you can. So check out one of our local outfitters at IME, EMS and Northeast Mountaineering. >>

A December to Remember

Snowvember came upon Mt. Washington Valley this year, with last month being one of the snowiest Novembers  in memory! The good news is that the snowpack is still in great shape, and low temperatures have given ski areas many ample opportunities for snowmaking. The skiing this month has made it a December to Remember with all local areas now open – from Black Mountain to Bretton Woods, from King Pine to Great Glen- to everything in between. This sets us up nicely for the upcoming Christmas Vacation Week!

Some Tips for Holiday Skiing

Business has been brisk at Valley ski areas, as news has spread about the amazing conditions and open terrain after several sizeable snowfalls fell through the White Mountains. This is reason to believe the holiday period will also be popular. A few tips to get the most out of your trip to the North Conway area:

  • Book your trip ahead of time and ask your hotel about discount lift tickets. Popular dates will sell out – especially New Year’s weekend. Cranmore Mountain Lodge and Colonial Motel are two nice values. Research lodging at http://www.mtwashingtonvalley.org
  • Beat the crowds – Christmas Day is usually a quiet day on the slopes, so some ski areas close all together, or offer discounted rates. Bretton Woods is open 10am – 4pm on the 25th with $45 lift tickets. That is less than half of the usual holiday rate, as their full day holiday lift tickets are $99 this year. Read about it at http://www.brettonwoods.com

    Wildcat Mountain
    My friend Marina makes her way with the wintery splendor of Mount Washington in the background. Shot 12/16/18.
  • Buy online in advance – Want to avoid paying full retail? Purchase your lift tickets online in advance. The further in advance and the more days you purchase, the better the savings. Attitash and Wildcat ski areas share a lift ticket, so your multi-day ticket purchased online lets you bounce between the areas from day to day. Buy online at www.attitash.com
  • Tune your skis before you go – With increased holiday skier traffic, the conditions can get skied off later in the day. Freshly edged skis will keep you carving up a storm until the last run. The Valley features many ski shops to do a tune, as do most mountains. Find out where to find your closest option for an edge and wax here.
  • Celebrate On the Slopes – Want to know another secret? New Year’s Day is historically a much less busy day than the rest of the holiday week. New Year’s Eve revelers sleep in or pack it up early to head home. Don’t be that person. Greet 2019 by breathing in the brilliantly freezing air from atop a ski lift and know that great things are ahead for the New Year.

So how are conditions you may ask? Season to date, starting in early November,  I have skied Wildcat, Cranmore, Great Glen, Jackson Ski Touring and Bretton Woods (ah, the benefits of living close to the mountains). Conditions have ranged from powder to packed powder, to today’s machine groomed/variable conditions at Wildcat. Cross Country fans will want to pay close attention to the grooming report and hit the most recently tracked trails as some refreezing has taken place. Overall, I would rate this December among the best for early season turns and tracks, truly one to remember!

Tunnel at Wildcat Mountain
Who doesn’t love tunnels? This one connects the cross over from the Bobcat Triple to the Wild Kitten beginner area at Wildcat. Shot 12/16/18.

 

 

Eagle Mountain Golf Course Offers Free Ladies’ Clinics in June

On a brilliant spring afternoon, I descended the storied 9th fairway of the Eagle Mountain Golf Course in Jackson, NH towards its driving range along with 30+ fellow female duffers. Our destination? The first of several free Sunday afternoon ladies’ golf clinics with PGA Pros Julie Rivers and Bob McGraw.

No matter where you like to golf, it’s a great idea to start out your golf season by taking a lesson. Bad habits follow you through the off season. Start the year out right with a lesson. These Sunday sessions break down your game into key components that make it easy and fun to improve.

The group ranged from never-evers to more experienced golfers looking to brush up their skills. Skillfully, Julie and Bob managed to keep the large group engaged and the instruction appropriate despite the wide range of experience.

Sunday’s lesson started with the chip shot. Dividing the larger group into 6 groups, the pros took us through the stroke, much like a putting stroke but with a wedge.

Then we moved on to pitching. Starting with a partial swing, to a half swing, to a full swing, we each worked on our form and learned how far the ball went with each.

Then the fun part – driving. We each took out our 1 club and practiced our long drives with varying degrees of success but with great enthusiasm.

This post isn’t meant to try to recreate the content of the lessons – I will leave that work to the pros – but it is meant to stress the value of taking lessons and the camaraderie of a sunny afternoon with a group of strangers soon to become friends.

After the lesson, the Eagle Mountain House offered a $10 cocktail and appetizer special on the veranda. On this sunny spring afternoon, it was a wonderful wrap up to a great learning session with two of the Valley’s best known pros.

McGraw shared the following free and inexpensive golf clinics and greens fees coming up in the coming months. It’s a great way to improve your game while enjoying one of the Valley’s most beautiful locations for golf.

Upcoming:

Bob McGraw will be offering a Free Clinic for women the next two Sundays from 1 to 2 pm.

During the month of June, the Eagle Mountain Golf Course will be offering a discounted green fee of $15 for women.

In July they offer free clinics for families on the first three Sundays from 1 to 2 pm.

Reduced green fees of $10 for juniors and $15 for adults  in the month of July will be offered when families play together.

Saturday Clinics: Every Saturday from 10:30 til 11:30, Bob offers clinics covering the short game or the full swing. The fee is $20 and limited to 6 students. Call the pro shop at 383 -9090 to sign up. For more info >

 

 

 

Fishing on Silver Lake with Fish Nerds Guide Service

Getting out on the water is a great way to spend an afternoon. The folks at Fish Nerds Guide Service have been enjoying some super fun spring fishing on Silver Lake where the water is warming and the fish are hungry. This week they had a mixed bag of big yellow perch and big smallmouth bass. And, the lake trout are amazing. They can accommodate up to six people fishing at a time so grab some of your fishing pals and give them a call!

Don’t fish? That’s cool! You can book a cruise with Fish Nerds, too. Thier brand new, state-of-the-art pontoon boat can take up to ten passengers! They can drive around, pull into a cove and swim or, if you are feeling adventurous, can give you a tube ride.

For more information contact Fish Nerds Guide Service!

Valley Pride Day 2018

We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the 18th Annual  Valley Pride day! We live in a beautiful place, and it’s a shame when it’s defaced with litter so we especially appreciate the many volunteers who helped clean up our roadways and make the Valley even more beautiful. They absolutely deserved the party afterward. Kudos to the organizers for keeping this fantastic event going for 18 years. The Valley thanks you!

Eastern Slope branch of the New England Ski Museum opens in North Conway Village

It was an exciting day for ski enthusiasts who attended the Ribbon Cutting of the new New England Ski Museum, located in the former North Conway Community Center building in North Conway Village. Over 200 people attended the event.

The museum is filled with nostalgia, old equipment, maps and interactive displays and even a library.  It is sure to engage all visitors from young to old. Admission is free and the museum is open 7 days a week. Don’t miss an opportunity to pay this gem a visit.

Last Blast for February Skiing

By Kathy Bennett

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With February coming to a close in the Valley, I decided to cram every possible type of skiing activity into my weekend. With Mount Washington Valley offering so many options for downhill and cross country skiing, plus numerous activities off the slopes, it’s easy to do!

Saturday we got up early and drove past the Eagle Mountain House on Carter Notch Road to access Jackson’s Prospect Farm xc trails. Despite the warm temps of late, there was still snow in the woods and on the trails. Groomers have got their work cut out for them, but a light dusting of snow overnight had sweetened up the snow surfaces nicely.

We skied out Boggy Brook Trail and took a leisurely approach to the day, stopping to chat with our fellow February ski lovers enjoying a pleasant day outside in the increasing winter daylight. The ski back to our car passed by Camp Gout, rumored to be owned by the Ballentine Family as a retreat where one can lay about on a warm summer day (but not in winter – the camp is closed up tight despite the colorful plastic flowers in the window boxes).

Saturday afternoon we had the privilege of being among the first to enter the new North Conway branch of the New England Ski Museum which opened this weekend.  History buffs and skiers alike can find informative displays, historic ski equipment, Olympic memorabilia and more here.  It is worth the time to stop by your next visit to North Conway.

We woke up Sunday to snowfall and quickly threw our alpine gear in the car to grab first tracks at Attitash. Their groomers too have had their proverbial work cut out for them, but with snow falling at the rate of an inch or so an hour, conditions improved by the minute. Nothing pretties up the resort more than covering up those snowbanks and trees with the white stuff! We are expecting up to a half foot of snow before this one wraps up Sunday night.

The weather has been variable the last few weeks but another storm of the white variety is in the forecast for next weekend, the first of March, if the weather prognosticators get it right.  March is known as the snowiest month here in the North Country – cross your fingers that that adage holds true this year!