Category Archives: What’s Your Adventure

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. >>

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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.

 

 

Great Day at Great Glen Trails

By Kathy Bennett

One of the best things about skiing in Mt. Washington Valley is the sheer number of options you have within a very reasonable driving distance. A snowy November continues here so there were several choices for alpine and Nordic skiing options this weekend. I was undecided on my direction when I left my house Saturday morning, so I tossed both downhill and cross country gear in the trunk and decided to wait for inspiration to guide my car.

The inspiration came at the intersection of Route 302 and 16 by Dairy Queen. A bright new billboard beckoned me to Great Glen, home to the new Glen House hotel. It had been about 2 years since I skied there last so it was time for a return visit.

Great Glen TrailsAmazing views great skiers from the base lodge

Driving past Wildcat, which has been open for weeks and looked to be in fine form, I felt a twinge of regret for not choosing downhill. But too much turkey and stuffing made the cardio blast of XC the right choice for me.

Great Glen Trails
Mt. Adams looms large

Any regret quickly dissipated as I arrived. The day was crystal clear and Mount Washington and Mount Adams gave a silent white welcome to those arriving to ski. I was in good company, as a large holiday craft fair was going on, and a competition of some sort brought many young folks to the Notch. All in all, it didn’t feel like November, either by snow conditions, head count or energy level.

I changed out my gear in the convenient and well appointed locker room – changing rooms, bath rooms and space to change made it comfortable to get ready for the day. I asked what was open and groomed and was delighted to hear the answer … “Everything.” How often can you expect this in November?

Inside the Great Angel Cabin

I headed out under the bridge and around the new Glen House. Its huge wall of windows point to the Presidential Range. I made a mental note to return to try out their restaurant, which is gaining a great reputation for both its views and its cuisine.  I skied several loops, across fields, uphill and down, until I came to the Great Angel Cabin. A picnic table outside and Adirondack chairs inside beckon to weary skiers. I stripped off my jacket and relaxed for a bit – the ski uphill definitely got my heart rate up!  After my break, I enjoyed the long turny downhill back towards the lodge, across fields, streams and another view of that lovely new hotel.

Thanksgiving Weekend was a skiers’ dream. What areas were not open are planning on doing so in the next few weeks. Given the natural snowfall, cold temperatures, and the arrival of another foot of snow Tuesday, they should have no problem doing so.

 

 

Thanksgiving Can Wait

By Kathy Bennett

The weekend before Thanksgiving is the time many spend to look up recipes, make shopping lists and gather the goods necessary for the turkey day to come. But snow came early this year to Mt. Washington Valley, so all the Thanksgiving duties got pushed aside as I spent both weekend days checking out the amazing early season skiing in and around North Conway, New Hampshire.

Bretton Woods opened for the season on Friday, Nov. 16 and conditions sweetened up overnight as light snowfall continued. The first thing visitors will notice is the new Gondola base being installed right in front of the base lodge. When complete, it will be the only 8 person gondola in the state.

The gondola base – coming soon with 8 person cabins.

With 7 trails open with 2 lifts operating, Bretton Woods had top to bottom runs ready for action. Skiing in mid-November usually consists of “the white ribbon of death” – a narrow swath of man-made snow down the center of the trail with no white stuff in the trees. Not so this year.  Snowy views greeted skiers as one looked off to Mount Washington and closer, Mount Deception. An all natural snow trail – Granny’s Grit – offered a foot of ungroomed freshies which challenged my first-day-of-the-season legs. Watch out for the water bars and point your tips downhill!

Fun, friends and snow at Bretton Woods on November 17.

I had prepared for the ski season by purchasing new boots at the annual Eastern Slope Ski Club ski swap the previous weekend, and followed up by having custom footbeds installed at the Ski Liquidators. What a difference. Do yourself a favor this ski season – invest in this personalized fitting and watch your skiing improve. I know I did.

Day two of the season saw me searching the basement for my skinny skis and cross country ski boots. With man-made snowmaking, pre-Thanksgiving alpine skiing is not unusual. But cross-country skiing? Now that’s a rare treat. Mt Washington Valley now has three cross-country skiing areas open – Great Glen, Bretton Woods and Jackson Ski Touring. Jackson’s Prospect Farm parking lot was completely full when I arrived at 10:30am on Sunday, so I was not alone in reveling in the early season splendor.  My legs burned, but I made it up to the Orchard Trail, then enjoyed the long downhill before banging a hard right onto Quail. Remind me to work on cardio strength before my next day out. I made it back to my car out of breath and excited to have traveled 3 miles under my own ski power.

Jackson Ski Touring’s Wildcat Valley Trail with tracked and skate grooming November 17

While I didn’t ski it personally, Cranmore reported their November 17th opening to be the earliest in their history. Hannes Schneider would be proud.

Thanksgiving week is predicted to be cold, a treat for snowmakers and skiers alike. Look for more areas to open with more terrain for the long holiday weekend.  

I’m glad I skipped the Thanksgiving prep this weekend – I just hope I remember to pick up the turkey on Wednesday.

Golfing with Donald Ross in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

By Kathy Bennett

One of golf’s most renowned course architects was Donald Ross. Players seek out his courses around the country. But lucky golfers coming to the Mt. Washington Valley don’t have to go far – our region boasts 3 courses designed by the legendary Scotsman. Whether you’re traveling here for a weekend or a week (or a lifetime!) you’ll be able to play a piece of golf history right here in the New Hampshire!

What makes a Donald Ross Course special? According to Andy Ross, it’s the course’s playability. “Donald Ross, one of the giants of the golden age architecture era, became the most prolific architect of all time with over 400 golf course designs to his name. Ross was the first “professional” golf course architect in America as he was able to build a successful and efficient business during the golden age era. He has more top 100 courses than any other architect and has had over 100 major championships and USGA events hosted at his courses, far and away the most of any architect. Ross’ transcendent skill was his ability to create playability at his courses for the beginner while still challenging the best players ability to score.”
With credentials like that, golfers of all abilities should make the trip to Mt. Washington Valley and plan a fall golf trip today!
The 18-hole Mount Washington Course was designed by legendary Scottish Architect Donald Ross and was completed in 1915. Its backdrop features New Hampshire’s spectacular Presidential Mountain Range. This Par 72, 7,004-yard-course has hosted four New Hampshire Opens and the prestigious New England Open Championship in September 2010.

Reopened on August 1, 2008, the Mount Washington Course has been restored to Donald Ross’ original plans by noted golf course architect Brian Silva, including bunkers crafted in a classic flair and infinite varieties of recovery shots in the closely cropped areas around the putting greens. The par 5 eleventh hole and the par 3 fifth hole feature stunning views of Omni Mount Washington Hotel and surrounding mountains.

For more information on this course.

Hungry for more golf? Mt. Washington Valley has dozens of courses to choose from. Read all about them here.

 

All Hail, Hale’s Location!

By Kathy Bennett

In real estate, the credo is “Location! Location! Location!” When it comes to golf in Mt. Washington Valley the same can be said about a great round. Hale’s Location Golf Course is both a magnificent course and an upscale real estate development offering high-end homes that come with golf memberships and stunning views.

This 9-hole course is known for being long and narrow at times, with trees that often-times seem to have a magnetic pull into the woods for golfers who dare to slice their drive. Maybe it’s a magnetic power or maybe it’s the irresistible draw of White Horse Ledge, under which Hale’s and its White Mountain Hotel clubhouse exist.

The long first hole sets the pace for the game, but golfers should rest easy knowing that shorter and more forgiving holes follow immediately on the 2nd and 3rd. The 3rd takes you over a small bridge where you then see bright flowers and a small pond and water hazard between the back and forward tee boxes. It’s a short par three but don’t let the water distract your ball into its depths.

Due to its location next to the forest and cliffs North Conway is famous for, you should keep your eyes open for wildlife. One notable round I had years ago, my ball went missing off the 2nd tee.  Walking up towards the green, I saw the problem … a pair of young foxes were playing and one had my ball in its mouth, running off course. I dropped a new ball and didn’t take a penalty stroke, hoping this would count as a unavoidable hazard!

Hale’s often offers many great golf deals, some which combine brunch or other meals with a round of golf.  Their website lists online specials.  I’ve previously enjoyed specials such as “wine and nine” and “dine and nine” so why not combine great views on the course with stunning views of Cranmore from the dining room of the White Mountain Hotel.

And about the homes that surround this course. Play a round and dream of what life could be like living in the White Mountains. Known for its lower than average real estate taxes, many golf lovers have come to own these majestic homes, and there are currently several listings for sale. Contact one of Mt. Washington Valley’s many realtors and ask for the latest listings.

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!

Mountain Film on Tour

What a treat to see Mountainfilm on Tour at the Fryeburg PAC. Films almost too fantastical to be real – but too gripping to be anything but. We viewed striking visions of Alaska, a skier rushes through icy crevices and tunnels and a crippled man climbing a rock formation.

Mountainfilm on Tour travels year-round and worldwide with a selection of short documentary films from the most recent, annual festival in Telluride. See this tour, if you can.

March is for Skiing

While some people cheer an early spring, others pray for just a few more snowstorms to help preserve skiing and riding right into April. That would make for a majority of those of us who live and work in Mount Washington Valley (or at least the ones I hang out with).  Eyes were glued to the weatherman as last week’s Nor’easter became more and more likely, and once again as another storm targets us for next week. Baseball and gardening can wait. March is for skiing.

 

With said weather report looking pretty solid, I preemptively scheduled a last minute vacation day  for last Thursday so I could join the other snow worshippers for first turns on a powder day. Attitash was the destination and I was beat out for first chair by several dozen hearty types who braved the roads to arrive before the 8:30am start time.

Riding up the Bear Peak Express Quad, we scanned the untouched foot of snow underneath and picked our line. Avenger first, the steepest black diamond at Bear Peak, as the snow continued to fall heavily.

We barely made it off the lift before our inability to ski in deep powder became apparent. Both me and my husband did face plants in the snow on the first pitch. I temporarily lost my skis and a pole and struggled to get it all back together in the drifts that were above my knees.

A few runs later, I adjusted my stance and powered through the powder. Determined to take advantage of a full day off from work on a powder day, I lasted six hours before my quads gave up the ghost. Two days later, they are still singing.  More squats and lunges are in order before the next storm!

Snow showers continued off and on over the weekend, sweetening up conditions all over again. That plus daylight savings time and a close-to-7pm sunset will make it possible for an after work jaunt on cross country skis a likelihood for Monday at MWV Ski Touring Center. Did I mention it’s great to live and work up here?

 

JACKSON XC IN THE BC

We are super excited to announce our partnership with the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation (Jackson XC) in Jackson Village, NH — having the largest trail network in the East.

What’s this all about? Well, it’s front country meets backcountry with Redline Guiding officially becoming the backcountry arm of Jackson XC. Not just Nordic, either, but we also offer Alpine Touring (AT) and these services will also be supported. Skiing will take place within the Jackson XC backcountry network (including the backside of Wildcat Mountain) and on White Mountain National Forest lands beyond those boundaries, even covering some of the state’s historic Civilian Conservatiom Corp (CCC) trails and more.

And this happened because while they do have an amazing staff at Jackson XC, they didn’t have a backcountry program with dedicated guides and instructors knowledgeable about the unique backcountry requirements and best practices. Well, now they do. For details, please contact Jackson XC. To learn more about our ski programs, please check out our backcountry ski adventures and backcountry ski instruction.

Not Yet a Nordic Skier?

Not ready for the backcountry yet? Brand new to Nordic altogether? Do you first need front country lessons, gear, and basic how-to Nordic ski experience? While we are the backcountry arm of Jackson XC, they are the front country arm for us! We suggest giving them a call. If you offer promo code “REDLINEFC” when booking, you can save 10% off your day passes for one day or a lesson with one of their instructors.

Bretton Woods Announces Future Enhancements

 Omni Mount Washington Resort is pleased to confirm that work has commenced on an exciting enhancement to our B-Chair Double Chair Lift and the Latitude 44 restaurant. We will be replacing the existing lift with a new, state of the art eight passenger gondola, which will run year-round, as well as a 10,000 square foot mountain side restaurant. Both will offer unprecedented alpine views of the highest mountain range in the northeast. This project represents a major investment in the Bretton Woods ski area, New Hampshire’s largest, and will be a highly anticipated new amenity for Omni guests and day visitors alike.

We look forward to sharing more details in an official announcement in the new year, in advance of the gondola’s 2018 – 2019 ski season debut and the mountain-side restaurant’s summer 2019 opening.

For more information, please call 603-278-3304.