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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.

 

 

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Looking for a way to beat the heat? Head to Mount Washington and ride the Cog Railway

Looking for a way to beat the heat? In addition to status as the first mountain-climbing cog railway in the world, The Mount Washington Cog Railway stands as the only alpine train ride east of the Rockies!  Located on the tallest peak in the Northeast, it’s refreshing atop Mt. Washington, NH.

Outfitted with a fleet of both eco-friendly biodiesel and historic steam locomotives, The Cog offers a variety of departure times so family and friends can enjoy the breezy, three-hour round-trip above tree line where the 360-degree view is spectacular (some days you may literally be above the clouds) and the air bracing enough to require a sweater.

Cog_PR_Panorama

Visitors seeking an escape from this year’s heat wave spend nearly an hour in the invigorating atmosphere at the 6,288-foot destination. This week’s forecast is a cool-down of mid 60’s temps and 5-25 mph winds at the summit. Tickets ensure free admission to the summit’s historic Tip Top House and the Observatory’s new “Extreme Mount Washington” exhibit, which, among other fascinating weather-related tasks, charts the daily mercury. The warmest temperature ever recorded was just 72°F in 2003.

At the Base Station, complimentary admission to The Cog Railway Museum reveals the groundbreaking rail technology engineered by Sylvester Marsh during the height of the Industrial Revolution. Here, visitors can also get a sneak peek of the Cog’s new documentary, “Climbing to the Clouds, which covers the modern advances of the railway up to the present.

This year marks the 150th birthday of Peppersass, the locomotive that built the railway. The Cog will be offering some new events in celebration of the anniversary. July 15 and 16 marks the first annual Handcrafted Fest at The Cog. The League of NH Craftsmen, NH Handmade, and WREN exhibiters will be featuring their fine Granite-state products. On Saturday, August 20, The Cog will host its first ever Steampunk Festival. Steampunk is a melding of the Victorian age fused with modern technology in a Wild Wild West style for a colorful and exciting event.

Throughout the season, there are special events, trains and discounts for visiting guests. Starting Memorial weekend, the Cog will be firing up its vintage steam trains, and will be running the steamer as the first train up the mountain throughout the season on scheduled days. Beginning June 19, everyone saves with $15 off his or her ticket on the last train on most days. Even this Fall, passengers can save with a $10 discount beginning in September. Discounts are not available during Holiday periods. The details on the train schedule, specials and discounts can be found online.

Advance ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Tickets for Cog Railway excursions can now be purchased online at http://www.TheCog.com or by phone at 603.278.5404. The Cog is located at Marshfield Base Station on Base Road, Mount Washington, NH just 6 miles off route 302 near Historic Bretton Woods, NH. For more information and the daily train schedule, visit thecog.com.

MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD CELEBRATES 155TH ANNIVERSARY ON AUGUST 8, 2016

The Mt. Washington Auto Road, America’s original and oldest man­made attraction, turns 155 years old on August 8, 2016. First opened in 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road has been family owned for over a century.

In honor of the anniversary, free passage will be granted to those cars around the region that feature the famous “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington” bumper sticker permanently affixed on their car.

An informal celebration commemorating the Auto Road’s 155th birthday will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, August 8, cake will be served in the Douglas A. Philbrook Red Barn Museum at the base. The public is also invited to tour the free museum which features examples of the various historic stages which have operated on the Auto Road during the past century and a half.

The Auto Road first opened to the public on August 8, 1861 and while significant improvements to the road surface have taken place over the years, the 8­mile drive offers the same thrilling views today that have delighted travelers for 155 years. Where stage drivers once took guests in mountain wagons pulled by six­horse teams, modern stages now offer guided tours for those who’d rather not drive their own vehicle.

Today’s visitors are drawn to the same “world above treeline” experience that has always made Mt. Washington New Hampshire’s quintessential destination. “We’re proud of our place in history being the oldest manmade attraction in the United States and the fact that we are essentially offering the same amazing, memory making experience that visitors have been enjoying here since 1861,” noted Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road is open daily for guided tours or the opportunity to drive your own vehicle to the summit of Mt. Washington. For more information about Auto Road operations and seasonal events, call (603) 466­3988 or online at: www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com

MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD HOSTS UNIQUE ALTON WEAGLE DAY ON MAY 28, 2016  

The Mt. Washington Auto Road will be hosting the 6th annual Alton Weagle Unusual Ascent Day on Saturday, May 28th as part of the kick-off celebration for the Road’s 155th operating season. The event will commemorate the many unusual ascents made on the “Carriage Road” since it opened to the public in 1861.

This spirit of fun and adventure was perhaps best captured by the day’s namesake, the late Alton Weagle, of Walpole, MA. Weagle was a great advocate for safe and sustainable enjoyment of the White Mountains, who became known for awhile as “Mr. Mt. Washington”, thanks to his entertaining exploits during the 1950s. At various times he has run up the Auto Road barefoot, backwards and blindfolded (up and down) and he has pushed up a wheelbarrow with a 100 pound sack of sugar without setting it down.

events_alton_weagle

All of this follows in a great tradition of remarkable Auto Road ascents throughout history, which will be further shared and celebrated on May 28th. “Mt. Washington has always drawn a unique assortment of characters in search of personal distinction-some have been more serious minded than others, of course,” said Howie Wemyss, Auto Road general manager.

Since the inception of Alton Weagle Day, the ascenders have included a “Star Wars” scout trooper, roller skiers, the Cookie Monster from “Sesame Street,” a car-top kayaker, a stilt walker, an in-line skater and a firefighter in full turnout gear.

An awards ceremony will be held in the Auto Road’s Red Barn Museum recognizing the unique nature of each ascender. The museum features a historic selection of the many stages and vehicles that have operated on the Road since it opened to the public.

First opened in 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is America’s original man-made attraction. At nearly 8 miles long, it stretches to the summit of Mt. Washington at 6,288 feet, the highest peak in the Northeast.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road is currently open daily to tree line from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., weather permitting. For the latest updates on Road conditions and the operating schedule, visit http://www.MtWashingtonAutoRoad.com or call 603.446.3988.

MT. WASHINGTON AUTO ROAD OPENS TO PASSENGER VEHICLES TO TREELINE (4,200 FEET)  

The Mt. Washington Auto Road will begin its 155th season on Saturday, April 30 for guests to drive their own vehicles to treeline at 4,200 feet. Operating hours for the weekend will be 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., weather permitting.

The 4.5 mile drive to treeline provides stunning vistas of the northern Presidentials and Great Gulf Wilderness offering a true taste of the Mount Washington experience. Passenger vehicles may not be left unattended.

Despite receiving lower than average snowfall this past winter, many areas along the Auto Road above treeline are still covered with snow and ice. Because of these ice levels, operations to the summit are not yet possible. Maintenance crews from the Auto Road are in their third week of “spring clearing”, which not only involves removing ice and snow from the Road but also melting the ice in the 110 culverts located under the Road.

Updates as well as photos and video showing the intricate process of clearing the Auto Road are available at http://www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com/spring-clearing.

“We are delighted to be opening for our 155th season here on Mount Washington.” noted Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Auto Road. “This is always an exciting time of the year for us as we clean up from winter and get ready to welcome our guests from around the world and show them the wonders of Mount Washington.”

As recently as fifty years ago, it was considered a success if the Mt. Washington Auto Road was open to the summit by Independence Day, but weather permitting, the Mt. Washington Auto Road hopes to open to the summit before Memorial Day weekend. Guided tours will also be offered at that time.

The opening of the Auto Road coincides with the launch of a new mobile-friendly website. The new site will feature book-online options for guided tours, an interactive map displaying points of interest along the Auto Road, plus up-to-the-minute live Road status information. The Road Status feature will provide guests and front-line staff across the region with the ability to learn what the current operational status of the Auto Road is at any given time.

“We’re excited to provide this new service to our guests for the first time.” explained Dan Houde, Marketing Director for the Auto Road. “With weather playing such a major factor on Mount Washington, the ability to check the current Road status and weather from any mobile device for those driving from miles away – or even front-line staff who provide information to travelers – is a major benefit.”

Early season pricing, in effect until Auto Road opens to the summit, is set at $29 for car and driver while passengers are free. Season passes are available for $150 per person and valid through the 2016 season during regular operating hours and allows access for the vehicle and all occupants.

First opened in 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is the first and oldest man-made attraction in America. At nearly 8 miles long, it stretches to the summit of Mt. Washington at 6,288 feet, the highest peak in the Northeast.

The Mt. Washington Auto Road will be open weekends during this early season from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., weather permitting. For the latest updates on Road conditions, status and the operating schedule, visit http://www.MtWashingtonAutoRoad.com or call (603) 446-3988.

SNOW WAS THE FOUR-LETTER WORD TO DESCRIBE 2013 WINTER VACATION WEEKS INCREASES IN MT WASHINGTON VALLEY, NH

snow

From snowflakes to hedgehogs and alligators, Mt Washington Valley businesses offered enthusiastic reasons for double digit increases for the two February Vacation Weeks.

 

North Conway, NH – When Mt Washington Valley businesses recently compared 2013 Winter Vacation Weeks with 2012, there was one prominent word used to describe the business increases over last year.  SNOW.  While at times the snow was somewhat of a blessing and a curse with snow impacting some weekend travel plans, most Mt Washington Valley businesses applauded the 20 to 30-inches of snowfall that occurred in the Valley during President’s Week and NH Vacation Week.  The well-timed storm prior to vacation week (which many called Nemo) also helped to fuel excitement about hitting the slopes and trails for winter adventure. Many also credited the “backyard” effect of skiers seeing snow in their own backyards to motivate them to travel to Mt Washington Valley and enjoy all the outdoor recreation there.  Overall, the responses were extremely positive to an informal survey of businesses about the two vacation weeks distributed by the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.

 

As would be expected, all those involved in delivering winter adventure had nothing but smiles following the President’s Week and NH Vacation Week.  Peter Gagne, owner of Northern Extremes Snowmobiling shared the company had a record vacation week. “We sold out the entire nine days of President’s vacation week (and weekends on both sides) at both of our locations, he shared.  Gagne added, “The snow down south really helped …we welcomed a huge increase from travelers from Southern New England especially from Connecticut”. Northern Extremes Snowmobiling also had a very strong NH Vacation Week, sharing that sales were up nearly 15-percent from 2012. Terry MacGillivray, owner of Northeast Snowmobile Rentals reported a 300-percent increase in sales over 2012 for President’s Week and a 200-percent increase in sales for the NH Vacation Week also crediting the great snow conditions and an increase in couples and groups this year.

 

Ski resorts and XC Center marketing directors were enthusiastic about the increased snowfall timed perfectly with the vacation weeks.  Thom Perkins, Executive Director of the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation reported a 24-percent increase in trail pass sales and even more in lesson sales at the XC Center for the President’s week and more than a 12-percent increase for NH Vacation week (reporting  before the vacation week ended) crediting the snow conditions, and an increase in lesson sales.  “We have been teaching a large number of lessons.  We had days that doubled previous eight year average of lessons.  We have been putting emphasis on learning to ski for several years and it is starting to pay off,” shared Perkins.

 

Cranmore Mountain Resort was up 8-percent in skier visits over 2012 for President’s Week and 5-percent for President’s Weekend, according to Cranmore Mountain, Becca Deschenes, Marketing Manager.  Reporting before the end of the NH Week, Cranmore was already 13-percent up in skier visits over 2012.  “The storm right before President’s week helped people get really excited to get out and ski and ride,” commented Deschenes.

 

Craig Clemmer, Director of Sales & Marketing for the Omni Mount Washington Resort reported double digit growth for the NH Vacation week at Bretton Woods.  Genn Anzaldi, Director of Marketing at Black Mountain told the chamber 2013 President’s Week was one of the best vacation weeks on record for Black Mountain which logged a 15-percent increase in skier visits over last year for the President’s Vacation Week crediting the great snow conditions and plenty of pre-vacation promotion for the increase.

 

Lodging properties reported to the survey with equal zeal.  Steve Lambert, GM at Red Jacket Mountain View Resort reported a 25-percent increase in room sales over last year, crediting everything from great snow to “alligators to hedgehogs in the ballroom” (part of the traveling zoo that visited the resort during the vacation week along with a group of Olympic jump ropers).   Tom Spaulding, GM at Hampton Inn and Suites reported essentially even occupancy  with last year(which was also nearly sold out during vacation weeks), sharing that the storm on President’s Weekend left some digging out in Massachusetts.  He credits the indoor water park offering a “weatherproof” attraction for guests with vacation week success.

 

Artie Adams, General Manager at Eastern Inns reported in with one of the best vacation weeks in a long time, also crediting the great snow conditions for the increases over last year. “We had a lot of families extended their stays because of the great skiing conditions and location and excellent customer service,” explained Adams.

 

A number of additional lodging property owners responding to the survey but wishing not to be quoted also reported occupancies ranging from “even” compared with last year to 30-percent increases.  Every lodging owner responding to the survey was extremely positive about their room sales for the two vacation weeks.

 

Dorthea (Dot) Seybold, Retail General Manager at Settlers’ Green Outlet Village  and Settlers’ Crossing had just three words to describe her enthusiasm for President’s Week shopping. “Up-Up-Up,” she explained when asked about increases over last year.  Dot explained that the outlet center welcomed more Canadians this year, but primarily credits the great snow conditions with attracting more skiers to the region, who shopped after they hit the slopes.  Dot’s comments were mirrored by others who responded to the survey saying they welcomed many Canadians during President’s Week.

 

“Overall we are very positive heading into March,” commented Janice Crawford, Executive Director of the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce.  “With more than 170 inches of snowfall this winter in parts of Mt Washington Valley fueling plenty of enthusiasm for outdoor winter adventure, we expect to see a strong end of the ski season extending well into early-to-mid April,” finished Crawford.

 

To learn more about visiting Mt Washington Valley, including complete vacation planning tools, visit www.Mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 1-800-DO-SEE-NHY (800-367-3362).  To learn more about planning your next vacation to New Hampshire, visit www.visitnh.gov.

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Photos of vacation weeks available upon request.

REGISTRATION STILL OPEN FOR THE MARCH 3RD “SKI TO THE CLOUDS” RACE ON MT. WASHINGTON

                 COMPETITIVE FIELD TO INCLUDE FOUR TIME WINNER & OLYMPIAN JUSTIN FREEMAN

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH-Olympian and four time winner of the one of a kind “Ski to the Clouds” race Justin Freeman will return to defend his title for this year’s event. The Ski to the Clouds, presented by Maxiglide, will take place on March 3, 2013 and will include a snowshoe category for the first time.  In the snowshoe division, veteran Mount Washington Road Race competitors Dave Dunham and local favorite Kevin Tilton are signed up to compete. This challenging event, thought by many to be North America’s toughest winter 10km race, takes place on Mt. Washington, the Northeast’s highest peak and includes a climb of more than 2200 vertical feet over the final 6km of the course.

For most competitors this event is a unique way to test themselves in one of nature’s most spectacular settings. The Ski to the Clouds race is limited to a field of only 150 skiers and snowshoers and these racers will have the Mt. Washington Auto Road to themselves as remarkable views of the Presidential Range and beyond reveal themselves.

There will be a mass start of skiers at 10 am followed by a mass start of snowshoers 10 minutes later on race day. Online registration closes on February 28th at 5 pm. There will be no day of race registration. The registration price is $35 until sold out. If the race does not sell out, registration will be available Friday and Saturday (Mar. 1 & 2) directly through Great Glen Trails at (603) 466 2333.

 Cash prizes for the top skiing finishers will be:

MEN:      1st place $250; 2nd place $150; 3rd place $100
WOMEN: 1st place $250; 2nd place $150; 3rd place $100
Top Male over 40:     $200

Top Female over 40: $200

 

SNOWSHOE CATEGORY: 

1st Place Men $100

      1st Place Women $100
 
Volunteer registration is also now open for those who would like to be a part of this uniquely exciting event without making the 10km climb! All volunteers will be given lunch on event day and day passes for Great Glen Trails.

There is a rising tide of enthusiasm in the US Nordic skiing world, as American competitors are landing on podiums with increasing frequency. Most recently, Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins won the Nordic World Championship Team Sprint in Cross Country in Val di Fiemme, Italy, becoming the first American cross country skiers in history to ever win a gold medal in a Nordic World Championship event.

“It’s an amazing time in the Nordic ski world as we witness American skiers winning and earning medals on the international stage. What Kikkan Randall and Jessie Diggins accomplished by winning the gold medal is truly historic. We at Great Glen are proud and happy to see athletes in the sport we love, having the performances and getting the results they have worked so hard for,” observed Olympian and Great Glen Trails ski school director, Sue Wemyss.

Sponsors for this year’s event include: Maxiglide, Salomon, Hammer Nutrition, Vitamin Water, Dasani, Polartec and SKIDA. For more information or to register as either a racer or volunteer, please call the Mt. Washington Auto Road or Great Glen Trails at 603-466-3988 or online at http://www.skitotheclouds.com

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Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center
1 Mount Washington Auto Road
Rt. 16, Pinkham Notch
Gorham, NH 03581
603-466-2333

 

Register for Seek the Peak and Join the Fun!

 

Seek the Peak 13


Registration is open for our 13th annual Seek the Peak hike-a-thon:
The earlier you register, the more time you’ll have to fundraise, and the more prizes and incentives you’ll earn!

Why Seek the Peak?

Prizes. Everything from hiking boots to an overnight snowcat trip on Mount Washington is up for grabs. We award hundreds of prizes worth thousands of dollars.

Incentives. The harder you fundraise, the more gear you go home with: From our signature Seek the Peak Eastern Mountain Sports Teckwick t-shirt, to backpacks, tents, kayaks, and more.

Good karma. Seek the Peak is the largest annual fundraiser for the nonprofit Mount Washington Observatory, so every penny you raise goes directly to support our work.

A great time.
Featuring some of the best above-treeline trekking in the lower 48—and quite possibly the best after party, too—scaling Mount Washington as a participant in Seek the Peak is an incredibly rewarding physical challenge, wrapped up into a two-day party.

So what are you waiting for? Register now and join us July 19-20, 2013 for the nation’s premier hiking event—it’s the most rewarding hike you’ll ever take!

Best regards,

Abby Blackburn
Membership & Events Coordinator


Seek the Peak 13 is presented by Eastern Mountain Sports, Subaru, and Vasque
Support these great brands, and you support Mount Washington Observatory!

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Mount Washington Observatory
Post Office Box 2310
North Conway, NH 03860
(800) 706-0432