Category Archives: Winter Fun!

A Successful Ski Season for Alpine and Cross Country Areas in New Hampshire 2016-17

Press Release from Ski New Hampshire

CONWAY, NH (April 24, 2017)-As the weather warms and the chairlifts stop spinning for the 2016/17 season, Ski New Hampshire’s 34 ski area members reported a successful season overall, thanks in part to well-timed snow storms in the Granite State and the greater Boston area.

Though final numbers are still rolling in from the trade association’s member resorts, a consistent weekly tally of skier visits from 10 of the state’s alpine resorts shows that skier visits for the 2016/17 season are up 31 percent over last year. Nordic ski areas also saw a much healthier skier visit base than last season.

“Winter storms blew through when it really mattered this season: during Christmas vacation, leading up to Presidents’ Weekend and February vacation, and during March for many resorts’ spring events,” says Karolyn Castaldo, Communications and Marketing Manager for Ski New Hampshire. The late season snow storms even allowed some resorts that typically close early to extend their season by a week or two.

For those skiers and riders who want to take advantage of great deals in preparation for next season, many resorts are offering season passes for the 2017/18 season at http://www.skinh.com/season-passes at discounted spring sale rates. Deadlines begin on April 30 and will run through early June, depending on the resort.

But just because the snow is diminishing doesn’t mean that these resorts will stay dormant for long. A growing number of summer activities are available at these resorts, which typically open on or around Memorial Day Weekend and continue through Columbus Day.

About Ski NH
Ski NH is the statewide association representing 34 alpine and cross country resorts in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, vacation planning, and updated winter events at Ski NH resorts, visit the Ski NH website at www.SkiNH.com. For statewide travel info, visit http://www.visitNH.gov.

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COLD DAY . . . WARM HEARTS: Inaugural Great Glen Winter Charity Day Makes An Impact

Provided by Crispin Battles, Marketing Director of Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center

Pinkham Notch, NH — The Mt. Washington Auto Road, and its sister company Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, are proud to report that the inaugural Great Glen Winter Charity Day, held in frigid temperatures on March 11, was a success on many levels. The event brought together new friends and old, while raising over $2,500 for both local and national charities. Most importantly, however, the event inspired a sense of philanthropy among community members and customers alike, which will pay dividends well into the future. The company’s management and staff are firm believers in the words of noted philanthropist Eli Broad who once stated: “Charity is just writing checks and not being engaged. Philanthropy is being engaged, not only with your resources but getting people and yourself really involved and doing things that haven’t been done before.”

While the Great Glen Winter Charity Day held the moniker “inaugural” it was actually an evolution of an event that has been near and dear to the company since 2008. Originally held as a ski-a-thon fundraiser specifically for the ALS Association in recognition of Carl Johnson, an active community member who battled the disease, this year the event was expanded to include all charities so that participants could choose the cause that speaks to them. In total, 17 organizations received donations, including:

* Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation

* Conway Area Humane Society

* Tin Mountain Conservation Center

* White Mountain Swiftwater Rescue Team

* Kennett High School Project Graduation

* Family Resource Center of Gorham

* Jackson Biathlon

* MSPCA – Methuen

* Donna’s Dreamers

* ALS Association, Northern New England Chapter

* Casting For Recovery

* American Cancer Society

* Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

* Alzheimer’s Association

* American Lung Association, New Hampshire

* St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital

* Southern Poverty Law Center

Participants who donated $25 or more received a trail pass to ski, snowshoe, and fatbike at Great Glen Trails, as well as a catered lunch from the Glen View Café. Those who donated $50 or more were given a voucher to take a ride on the Mt. Washington SnowCoach to treeline on the Mt. Washington Auto Road — unfortunately, conditions were too cold for the SnowCoaches to run during the event. Our close-knit community, together with customers from other New England states, enjoyed the afternoon in the warmth of our lodge playing board games and relishing in the camaraderie of friends.

Plans are already underway to make the “second annual” Great Glen Winter Charity Day a landmark event for the 2018 winter season, and an ongoing part of the philanthropic activities hosted by the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. The company’s events have a long history of raising funds for local charities and non-profit organizations, foremost among them being the Mt. Washington Auto Road Bicycle Hillclimb which has raised over $1,000,000 for the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, and the Northeast Delta Dental Mt. Washington Road Race which has raised over $80,000 for Coos County Family Health Services.

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The family-owned Mount Washington Summit Road Company was formed in 1859, and completed the road to the summit of Mount Washington in 1861. The Mt. Washington Carriage Road, now called the Mt. Washington Auto Road, has the long-held distinction of being America’s oldest man-made attraction. Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, opened in 1994, is one of New Hampshire’s premier Nordic ski areas, with 45 kilometers of trails for skiing, snowshoeing and fatbiking. During the summer months, the Outdoor Center focuses on human-powered outdoor activities including kayaking, biking, hiking and trail running. Both companies consider themselves stewards of Mt. Washington and the natural areas surrounding it, and feel strongly about supporting their local communities.

2017 Ski, Shoe & Fatbike to the Clouds: North America’s Toughest 10K Proved To Be This Winter’s Stand-Out Event

Written By Crispin Battles, Marketing Director
Mt. Washington Auto Road & Great Glen Trails

Pinkham Notch, NH — Since the Mt. Washington Auto Road first opened in 1861, it has been a proving ground for all types of adventurers. Throughout the years, many have secured their place in the history of the Auto Road, be it with a fastest time, or a landmark ascent.

History was made again with the 2017 Ski, Shoe & Fatbike to the Clouds. Held in cold, blue-sky conditions on March 5, it marked the first time that fatbikers have joined this annual winter event. First held in 1996 as Ski to the Clouds, it quickly proved to be a new and unique challenge for Nordic skiers, and at that time was held entirely on the Auto Road. In later years it was modified to increase the race distance to 10 kilometers, utilizing the Great Glen Trails Nordic system for the first four kilometers, before beginning the steep ascent up the Mt. Washington Auto Road. The race finishes just before the halfway point of the Auto Road at about 3,800 feet.

In 2013, a separate snowshoe category was added to entice snowshoe racers to take up the challenge, and was so successful that in 2014 the event was renamed as Ski & Shoe to the Clouds. In 2016, a new fatbike category was added, which quickly became the largest group of racers, but was sadly cancelled due to lack of snow.

Mother Nature was kind to us this year, and the 2017 event was attended by 120 racers in three disciplines–18 Nordic skiers, 33 snowshoers, and 69 fatbikers. Whether on skis, snowshoes or fatbikes, the race lived up to its reputation as North America’s Toughest 10K, testing the racers as only Mount Washington can.

The fastest time was posted by veteran racer Tristan Williams, with a blazing time of just 48 minutes 37 seconds, winning the men’s Nordic division. Tristan was closely followed by fatbiker Jeremiah Macrae-Hawkins, winning the men’s fatbike division with a time of 50 minutes 37 seconds–the second fastest time on course. Kudos to all the racers who battled the Mountain and finished, but particularly to the winners of each division:

Men’s Nordic Tristan Williams 48:37
Women’s Nordic Meredith Pietrow 1:01:42
Men’s Snowshoe Andrew Drummond 51:49
Women’s Snowshoe Hilary McCloy 1:05:56
Men’s Fatbike Jeremiah Macrae-Hawkins 50:37
Women’s Fatbike Renee Bousquet 1:12:26

A heartfelt “thank you” goes out to all the event sponsors, who have helped make this annual event such a success. For 2017, those sponsors included Dion Snowshoes, Stan & Dan Sports, Polartec, Littleton Chevrolet, Hannaford, and the Old Village Bakery.

King Pine Cardboard Box Derby

King Pine invites creative cardboard box races of all ages and experience levels to their Cardboard Box Derby on Sunday, March 19th, from 11:30am to 1:30pm. Creative racers young in age and young at heart, create a theme and build your carboard box racer and don’t forget to pair it with your own theme music to race down their racecourse designed specifically for the event!

Box racers can be designed for two or four racers and must be built entirely out of cardboard (sorry – no wood or metal allowed!). Boxes may be held together with tape, glue, or may be stitched. Contestants are highly advised to wear helmets for safety.

The entrance fee is $5 per cardboard box and a completed registration form and signed waiver are required to enter the race. Registration, inspection, and style judging opens at 12:00 p.m. in the Fireplace Room. The race will start at 1:00 p.m. at the base of the Open Slope.  Awards will be presented after completion of race at base of the Open Slope under categories of style, speed and durability. Happy racing!! 

2017 Cynthia’s Challenge 24-Hour Ski-a-Thon at King Pine

King Pine Ski Area at Purity Spring Resort is excited to announce the next beneficiary of Cynthia’s Challenge 24-Hour Ski-A-Thon to be held in East Madison, New Hampshire March 17-18, 2017. All funds raised with this year’s event will benefit Sanbornville, New Hampshire’s Faith Holt, an 11-year-old girl living with skeletal dysplasia, seizure disorder and Crane-Heise Syndrome. This year’s goal is to purchase Faith’s family a wheelchair accessible van.

cynthias-challenge3Faith’s Story 

Faith was born pre-maturely and spent her first one hundred days in a neonatal intensive care unit. The combination of skeletal dysplasia, seizure disorder and Crane-Heise Syndrome require Faith to wear a soft-shelled helmet because she does not have a cranial cap. Due to multiple surgeries and her daily seizures, she uses a wheelchair for her mobility. Faith is the daughter of Doug Holt, an Air Force Veteran who served in Desert Storm, and sister to older brothers, Sean (19), Devin (16) and Cody (12). Faith’s mother, Stephanie Holt, passed away when she was six-years-old. A wheelchair accessible van would be of incredible assistance to the Holt family to get Faith and his other children to their daily activities and appointments.

About The 2017 Event

cynthias-challengeKing Pine asks participants to donate $99 per person for 24 hours of skiing, snowboarding, and fun. This ticket price includes breakfast, lunch, dinner, a T-shirt, games, snacks, and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the night.  Kids ages 8 and under ski for free.

Raffle tickets will also be available to purchase for a chance to win a variety of fabulous prizes, including a Private Duck Tour of Boston donated by Boston Duck Tours, a Valley Train Guest Card for 2 adults and 2 children at the Conway Scenic Railroad, and the grand prize: 3 nights’ lodging in a one bedroom condominium in the Aspens at Jackson Hole Resort Lodging and 2 day lift tickets with Jackson Hole Mountain Resort.

About Cynthia’s Challenge 24-Hour Ski-A-Thon

Now in its fourth year, Cynthia’s Challenge 24-Hour Ski-A-Thon has raised over $131,000 to benefit children and their families. Starting in 2014, Cynthia Verrill was the first benefactor and resulted in her name being used to name the event. $35,000 raised for Cynthia was used to provide a seizure detecting service dog. The second year, the event raised over $35,000 for Samantha Gillard who was in need of a wheel chair accessible van and the third year raised $61,000 for Kevin Dall to purchase a wheel chair accessible van.

cynthias-challenge2Cynthia’s Challenge was created in an effort to ease the financial burden upon children and their families associated with specialty medical needs. King Pine Ski Area supports Cynthia’s Challenge with the support of local business and the surrounding community.

 

For more information about the event, please call Purity Spring Resort at 603-367-8896 or visit https://www.cynthiaschallenge.org/.

2017 Chili Cook-Off and Feelin’ Good 5K Race

Saturday, April 8th is the time to shake off the winter chills and join us for a fabulous foodie event to kick off our Spring season here in Mt Washington Valley! There will be plenty of chili and cornbread to keep you fueled for a day of fun, festivity, and a 5K race, plus North Conway Village shopping and the event’s  Red Hot Stops where you can find treats and shopping deals.

chili-5k-logoThis is the first year of the Feelin’ Good 5k Race through the White Mountain Milers. Burn some calories before indulging in chili and cornbread samples at the Cook-Off and explore beautiful North Conway Village by running or walking in the race! The race kicks off at Schouler Park in North Conway at 9:30am, where participants will race around the village and near Cranmore Mountain, finishing back at the park. Awards will be given to the top three overall runners and walkers.

The Feelin’ Good 5K is open for registration through White Mountain Milers and the RunReg website. The Race Fee is $35 per person and includes your entry to the Chili Cook-Off, access to the After Party at Abenaki Trail Restaurant, and store discounts at the Red Hot Stops.

Event Schedule:
  • 8:00AM – 5K Registration/Bib pick up
  • 9:15AM – 5K Registration tent is closed
  • 9:30AM- 5K Race begins
  • 10:45AM – Race Award Ceremony
  • 11:00AM – Chili Cook-Off Doors open 
  • 3:00 PM – Chili Cook-Off Ends
  • 4:00PM – Chili Cook-Off After Party & Award Ceremony

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About the Annual Chili Cookoff

Hosted by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, the annual Chili Cook-off has featured the culinary creations of professional chefs, individuals, local organizations, and nonprofits for many years. What started with just a few vendors has now grown to more than 40 vendors. Hundreds of hungry chili fans will fill The Village of North Conway tasting the best of the Valley’s chili recipes.

The Many Ways to Enjoy the Day

chili-cookoffThere are so many ways to participate in the fun at the Annual Chili Cook-Off! Professional and non-professional chefs are welcome to register their team for their chance to win fabulous prizes and bragging rights. Chef registration is open and filling up fast! For more information, please review the 2017 Chili Cook-Off Chef Guidelines.

There are a variety of sponsorship opportunities available for businesses to promote their brand. Sponsorship packages vary in cost and exposure and there are packages available for nonprofits. For more information, please review the 2017 Chili Cook-Off Sponsorship Packages document or contact the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.

chili-cookoff2In this event, ticket holders are judges, too! In purchasing tickets and sampling many delicious chili and cornbread recipes, ticket holders are in control of the “People’s Choice” vote. Ticket holders will receive three different colored tickets for use as ballots – one for Best Chili, one for Best Cornbread, and one for Best Display of Theme.

Event Tickets and More Information

Tickets for the Chili Cook-Off are $15 for adults and $7 for children, with free admission for children under 3. Interested parties may purchase Early Bird tickets by contacting the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, and tickets will be available on the day of the event for the same prices at the ticket booth.

There are lodging package agreements available for interested lodging properties in the area as well. Contact the Chamber for more information.

For more information on the Chili Cook-Off, visit http://www.mtwashingtonvalley.org, call the Chamber at (877) 948-6867 or (603) 356-5701 or email Visitor Services at visitor@mtwashingtonvalley.org.

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AbilityPLUS Adaptive Sports SPRINGFEST (Ski-A-Thon)

Join us on Saturday, March 11 for SPRINGFEST, AbilityPlus Adaptive Sports’ biggest fundraiser of the year here in the Mount Washington Valley! This all-day event at Wildcat Mountain in Jackson, New Hampshire includes a Ski/Ride-A-Thon, an Après Ski Party with a buffet, silent auction, raffle,  and prizes, all to benefit AbilityPlus Adaptive Sports and the community it serves.

abilityplusHere’s how the Ski/Ride-A-Thon at SPRINGFEST works:

1. Register for the event. The registration cost for non-season pass holders is $75 and includes a lift ticket, entrance to the Après Ski Party, a registration bag, a t-shirt, and a raffle ticket. For Attitash/Wildcat Season Pass holders, the registration cost is $35 and includes the same benefits as a non-season pass holder registration.

For those that want to register as a team, the fee is $250 for a team of four people. For those who want to only attend the Après Ski Party, entrance is $20 per person.

2. Start your own FirstGiving Fundraising Page and begin accepting donations! There are fantastic prizes for individual fundraisers, with prizes starting at $250. For more information,
visit https://www.firstgiving.com/abilityplus/spring-fest.

3. Attend the Ski-Bid-Party! Check in at 8:30am on March 11th at the Jackson Room located on the top floor of the Wildcat Base Lodge. Enjoy skiing and other festivities, including making bids in the silent auction until 2:45pm.

Food will be served at 3pm in the Jackson Room on the top floor. The menu consists of:

  • Maple Chipotle Chicken Wings
  • American Chop Suey,
  • Braised Meatballs with Sauce
  • Roasted Potatoes
  • Garden Salad with Blueberry Mead Viaigrette
  • Sausage with Peppers, Onions, and Potatoes
  • Smoked Gouda Mac & Cheese
  • Chili with Shredded Cheddar
  • Potatoes AU Gratin

For more information about SPRINGFEST, call 603-374-2688  or visit the AbilityPLUS website at www.abilityplus.org.

abilityplus

About AbilityPLUS

AbilityPLUS serves a diverse population of individuals, from people with severe physical disabilities to people with autism, across the spectrum. AbilityPLUS and each of their affiliate programs are open to everyone. They teach and work with people regardless of their age, disability or financial constraints.

Since their founding in 1997, programs have grown from working with a handful of families and individuals to providing thousands of program lessons to hundreds of families and individuals each year. They have adaptive ski programs that operate out of Mount Snow, Vermont and in Mount Washington Valley of New Hampshire with partnership and affiliate programs throughout New England.

The AbilityPLUS Mission

To offer increased access to athletic and recreational opportunities for persons with physical and/or cognitive disabilities that will create freedom, promote independence, support inclusion and help those individuals and their families discover their full social, mental and athletic potential.

 

Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon To Benefit the New England Ski Museum

Bretton Woods Nordic Center in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire welcomes skiers of all experience levels and ages to their Nordic Marathon on Saturday, March 11th. The marathon is to benefit non-profit organization the New England Ski Museum and their mission to “Preserve the Future of Skiing’s Past.” bretton-woods-and-new-england-ski-museum

The marathon welcomes both recreational and competitive skiers and provides timed and untimed racing options for a fun-filled event for people of all skiing interests. Race participants range in age from 11 to 83; with a two lap course and rest stations. The course layout provides a challenge to experienced racers while making use of terrain that is accessible and enjoyable for skiers of all abilities.

While early registration deadlines have passed, interested participants may still register by contacting the Bretton Woods Nordic Center or by visiting their SkiReg registration page here.  On-site registration is also available depending on whether the 400-participant limit has been reached. The marathon event fee includes entrance to the Apres-ski awards, meal and raffle held in the Mount Washington Hotel, a trail pass for March 10th, and feed stations. All proceeds benefit the New England Ski Museum. The first 300 skiers to register will receive a free SWIX hat as compliments of Audi Stratham and the first 100 entrants will receive a free pair of Darn Tough socks at bib pick-up.

Sorry, no refunds for any reason, however you may move yourself between distances and timed/untimed at no charge; and you may transfer to another individual within your fee category for $25.

About The History of the Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon

bwoodsStaged between the historic Mount Washington Hotel and majestic Mount Washington, the Bretton Woods Nordic Marathon at Omni Mount Washington Resort has quickly become a North Country winter tradition.  This 42-kilometer, classic format, cross country ski race showcases one of the largest Nordic systems in the northeast.  In the tracks of the famed 1982 US National Championships and such legends as Bill Koch and Tim Caldwell, this race is steeped in history and Nordic skiing tradition. Past winners include Olympians Justin Freeman (2010, 2011) and Dorcas Wonsavge (2009, 2010) and top collegiate racers. 

For more information about the event, including the event schedule and prices, please visit http://brettonwoods.com or by calling 603-278-3322.

Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation Presents Outdoor Snowshoe Adventure

Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation welcomes you to attend their Outdoor Adventure at Tin Mountain Conservation Center on Saturday, March 4th from 9am to 1pm. Participants can enjoy a winter nature walk with the guidance of animal tracking and winter ecology enthusiasts, a Geocache adventure with experts on hand to assist newcomers to the hobby, and a kid’s treasure hunt in the Rockwell Sanctuary. For those who wish to explore on their own, this option is also available. The trails are ready and accessible for snowshoers of all ability levels.

jens-friendsRegistration for the event is from 9-10am, with events from 10-11:30am. Participants are welcome to meet at the Nature Learning Center at 11:30 for hot drinks and soup.

The cost to attend this event is donation-based, with 100% of the funds raised for Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation. These funds are given back to Mt. Washington Valley residents that are battling cancer. The money is raised in the Valley, and stays in the Valley!

Participants are asked to please dress for winter weather and to wear appropriate footwear with traction or snowshoes depending on the snow conditions. Please bring your own snowshoes, as there are only a limited number of snowshoes available for those who do not have them, on a first come first serve basis.

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About Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation

Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation is a non-profit organization that provides supplemental financial assistance and other resources to cancer patients and their families in the Mount Washington Valley who are uninsured, under-insured, or financially challenged, allowing them to focus on battling cancer without worrying about the indirect financial burdens that often arise. Jen’s Friends is currently assisting over 70 families in the Mount Washington Valley in their fight against cancer.

For more information, contact Charlie Zaccaria by email at czaccaria@roadrunner.com or by phone at 603-986-1923. For more information about Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation, please visit their website at http://jensfriends.org/wordpress/.

 

Blast From the Past! 80’s Adult Après at Bretton Woods

80s-apresVisit the Slopeside Restaurant in the Bretton Woods Base Lodge on Saturday, March 4 from 3-5pm for an Adult Après that will have you feeling nostalgic for the “good old days”. Bretton Woods is going back in time to the 80s: when shoulder pads were in style and cell phones were the size of your head.

Reminisce while enjoying beverages and music from the best decade since the 60’s, courtesy of Mix 104.1. Play classic 80’s games, test our your memory in 80’s trivia, and compete in their I Love the 80’s Costume Contest. Bring a friend or bring a few and  don’t forget your best pair of acid washed jeans, and join Bretton Woods for this Blast From the Past Adult Ski Après. Prizes will be awarded for “Most Radical Air Guitar Solo”, “Most 80’s Outfit”, and “Biggest 80’s Hair.”

For more information on this event, please call the Bretton Woods Ski Area at (603) 278-3320 or by visiting their website at www.brettonwoods.com.

Swift Diamond Riders Snowmobile Club Presents Their 25th Annual SnoDeo

snodeo2The Swift Diamond Riders Snowmobile Club welcomes you to their 25th Annual SnoDeo in Stewartstown, New Hampshire on Friday, March 3rd from 9am to 4pm and Saturday, March 4th from 8am to 3pm. After making the difficult decision to cancel the event last year due to less than ideal snowfall conditions, it goes without saying that everyone is ready to make the 2017 SnoDeo one to remember!

Be the first to see and demo ride 2018 machines from major snowmobile brands such as Artic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo, and Yamaha. Test ride Moto-Trax Snow Bikes, shop from a variety of dealers and vendors providing great season close-out sales on clothing, accessories, sleds, trailers, and more. Visit the Antique Tent and see how far the sport has gone in it’s short history. Meet State legislation, Law enforcement, and the Trails Bureau and let them answer your questions. See how your trails are managed. And as always, lots of great food and fun!

This year’s gate price is $10 per person, with free admission to children ages 10 and under. With SnoDeo as the Swift Diamond Riders Snowmobile Club’s largest fundraiser, admission costs support the non-profit organization’s year-round operating fees and the high-quality maintenance of 100+ miles of snowmobile trails.

There are four ways to be a part of the 25th Annual SnoDeo:

  1. Be a sponsor.
  2. Be a vendor.
  3. Volunteer to help.
  4. Come and enjoy the event! 

SnoDeo is an event for snowmobile enthusiasts and beginners alike and is family-friendly winter fun.

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History of The SnoDeo

The Swift Diamond Riders’ SnoDeo started in 1993 as a fundraiser for the Swift Diamond Riders Snowmobile Club and as a way to bring snowmobilers together near the end of the season to try out the latest and greatest snowmobiles being offered by Arctic Cat, Polaris, Ski-Doo and Yamaha. The SnoDeo, based at Coleman State Park in Stewartstown, New Hampshire, has grown into one of the Northeast’s premier snowmobile event — drawing an average of 6,000 snowmobile enthusiasts from all over New England and Southern Quebec over the two days of the event. The SnoDeo gives you the chance to ride next year’s sleds, browse and buy from our various participating vendors.

For more information on the event, visit www.nhsnodeo.com or by visiting SnoDeo’s  Facebook or Twitter.

Early Morning Bear Notch Ski Touring Center

By Kathy Bennett

I’m an early riser. There are many benefits to this, not the least of which is beating the crowds to skiing on vacation weeks. This Saturday was no exception. My dear husband and I arrived at the rustic lodge of Bear Notch Ski Touring Center at 9am. Blink and you’ll miss it on your way back from Attitash on Route 302, this Center is run by the Garland brothers and is about as authentic a north country experience as you can get.

the-saco-runs-alongside-bear-notch-trails
The Saco runs alongside Bear Notch trails.

John Garland greeted us and gave us the lowdown on conditions. “Last week I was cursing the snow there was so much of it. This week it’s inventory,” he chuckled. His groomers had gone out that morning to even out the surface, despite some of the “r” word and warm temps.

There was indeed plenty of snow in inventory on the trails. We skied out on their riverside area to see what the rising water levels were doing on the Saco River. There were no ice dams or flooding but the water was running high beside these lovely wooded trails. The trails were tracked for us classic Nordic skiers although trails were also skate groomed. These trails along the Saco River are as beautiful as other more crowded trails at better known local areas.

tracked-trails-along-the-river
Tracked trails along the river

If you are weary of crowded alpine slopes, truly you should consider trying Nordic for weekends that are predicted to be busy. We literally had the trails to ourselves for the 90 minutes we glided through the woods.

We only saw civilization when we returned to the lodge post-ski for John’s favorite homemade soup, White Chicken Chili. “You might want to grab some early because it will go fast; I’m going to make a dent in it myself,” Garland shared. Alas, we arrived to early for the fresh bread which comes out of the breadmaker at noon on weekends.

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Cozy authentic lodge at Bear Peak

Bear Notch is known for their grooming and on the day of our visit, they boasted more groomed trails than a larger area a little further north. In fact the day after our visit, they had 40 groomed km while others didn’t groom at all. It’s a good reminder to always check out the trail report before deciding where to ski.

Best of all, trail passes are only $18, meaning a family of 4 can ski and still have money for lunch (that chili was only $4 a cup!).