Tag Archives: ski north conway nh

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



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.

With as much as 16″ of new snow, MW Valley’s 13 ski resorts/XC Centers look forward to a packed holiday schedule


On the Mountains

Attitash Mountain Resort presents Ptarmigan Pub Apres Ski Entertainment:

  • Tues, Dec 26: White Steer, 2:00-5:00pm
  • Wed, Dec 27: Riley Parkhurst Project, 2:00 – 5:00pm
  • Thurs, Dec 28: The Dean Machine, 2:00-5:00pm
  • Fri, Dec. 29: The Pat Foley Band, 3:00- 6:00pm
  • Sat, Dec 30: The Gravel Project, 3:00-6:00pm
  • Sun, Dec 31: Lazy Susan, 3:00-6:00pm
  • Mon, Jan 1:  The Riley Parkhurst Project, 3:00-6:00pm

Black Mountain presents tunes, tastings & torchlight:

Dec 26-31:  Apres Ski fun in the Lostbo Pub, 3:30-6:50

  • Tues, Dec 26:  Live music by Ben Cook
  • Wed, Dec 27: Narragansett Apres Ski Party and Tasting and live music with Ben Cook
  • Thurs, Dec 28: Live music by Riley Parkhurst Project
  • Fri, Dec 29: Live music by Greg Walsh
  • Sat, Dec 30: Coors Light promotion and live music with Candie Tremblay

Fri, Dec 29: Last Tracks with Moat Brewery:

Ride the lift to the top at 4:00pm and enjoy a tasting of Moat Mountain Brew with a real Moat Brewer along with appetizers.  Afterward, ski down a freshly groomed trail with headlamps. Hard to know which is more fun – the tasting or the skiing.  Reservations required, call 603-383-4490 $25 per person.

Sun, December 31:  New Year’s Eve Party:  Enjoy music in the Lostbo Pub with Riley Parkhurst Project, Patriots on TV and a Torchlight parade at 6:00pm for the whole family.

Bretton Woods Ski Resort presents apres ski parties:

December 26-31: Adult Apres Ski Party, 3:00-5:50pm: When you’re finished with a great day on the trails, head to the 3rd floor and listen to some après ski entertainment. Try a new brew at Slopeside Pub located on the 3rd level of the Bretton Woods Base Lodge. Entertainment will be from 3:00pm-5:30pm and Bar Promos are from 3:00pm-5:00pm.

December 26-31: Kids Apres Ski Party: 3:30-5:00pm:

Kids ages 4-12 are welcome to join in this special supervised après ski fun upstairs in the Mount Washington View Room, located on the Heaven Level of the Bretton Woods Base Lodge.  Special après parties are scheduled on most Saturday’s throughout the year and during vacation and holiday periods.  Each party will include live entertainment, games, activities, and refreshments for kids.  Parents are welcome to leave their kids at this supervised program and enjoy entertainment at the Slopeside Lounge.  Reservations are not required for this complimentary program

Cranmore Mountain Resort presents live music at Zips & Cranapalooza:

December 26-31:  Cranmore Mountain Adventure Park and Tubing Hill will be open daily 10:00am – 8:00pm.

December 27-31:  Apres Ski at Zips: Enjoy live music to add to the apres ski fun in Zips Pub.

  • Dec 27: Greg Walsh
  • Dec 28: Ben Cook
  • Dec 29:  Mitch Alden, 3:00-6:00pm
  • Dec 30:  Music with Bill Cameron, 3:00-6:00pm

December 27 – 30: Cranapalooza!  After a day on the slopes, there’s still Cranapalooza! Cranmore’s signature winter event, Cranapalooza is back for another season of DJ dance parties in Schneider Square with C-more the Penguin, live music, outdoor entertainment, family activities, s’mores.

December 31:  Shredding into 2018 Freestyle Event at Cranmore:

Show off your tricks.  Open to skiers and snowboarders of all ages.

December 31: C-more’s New Year’s Eve Bash& Fireworks: Ring in 2018 with C-more the Penguin and this special New Year’s edition of Cranapalooza! Geared for guests and families of all ages, join in on all kinds of fun activities and entertainment! There’ll be a DJ in Schneider Square, s’mores, games & more. Stick around for a fireworks show at 6:00pm, too!

King Pine Ski Area presents torchlight snowtubing, sleighrides, night skiing & family fun:

December 26: Night Skiing and Family Night Race:  Night skiing begins for the season.  Ski under the lights from 4:00 – 9:00pm.  From 6:00-8:00pm, compete in a free dual recreation race on the mountain.

December 29:  Torchlight Snowtubing:

Enjoy the thrill of tubing under the lights at the Pine Meadows Tubing Park from 5:00-9:00pm.



December 30: Horse Drawn Sleigh Rides, 11:00am-1:00pm: Start or end with a cup of hot cocoa by an outdoor fire. Enjoy the classic experience of riding among surrounding fields and within wooded trails in a horse-driven sleigh. $20 per adult, $15 for kids 12 and under. Space limited. Reservations required. Call 800-373-3754 for reservations.

December 31:  New Year’s Eve Family Celebration, 4:00-9:00pm.  Your night skiing ticket will include Night skiing and riding from 4:00-9:00pm, outdoor music and campfire at the base of King Pine. The torchlight parade begins at 9:00pm – the first 100 people meet at 8:45 p.m. at the top of the Open Slope. Skiers MUST be able to ski an intermediate Blue Square trail in the dark! Hi-intensity glow sticks will be used. Fireworks to follow torchlight parade at 9:20 p.m. End the night with a Toast to the New Year at the Trail’s End Tavern (not included in ticket price).

December 31:  Moonlight Snowshoe Tour, 7:00pm: Experience the quiet of the new year with a guided moonlight snowshoe tours through NH Audubon’s Hoyt Wildlife Sanctuary at Purity Spring Resort. Interested participants are asked to sign-up and meet at The Mill Indoor Pool & Fitness Center across from the Purity Spring Main Office fifteen minutes before the start of the tour. Please call ahead to confirm date of scheduled snowshoe tours.  Rate are $12 per person ($20 with snowshoe rentals – rentals are available at the King Pine Rental Shop). This tour is weather permitting.

Shawnee Peak presents demos, beer promotions and winter festivals:

December 27: Winter Festival: DJ Ron Reid will be entertaining in Blizzards Pub after the lifts close. At 7:30, view the Torch light parade followed by a spectacular fireworks display. Both can be viewed from the warmth of Blizzards Pub or outside by the fire!

December 28: Winter Kick Off!  Shawnee Peak’s new outerwear partner, Orsden, will be on site with some displays of their new ski wear for men and women! Parlor Skis will also be on-hand to demo their newest ski designs and to formally opening the Parlor Demo Center. End the day in Blizzard’s Pub, with an apres ski party hosted by Harpoon, the creators of Shawnee Peak’s Moose Pond Ale, on hand with swag giveaways. Be sure to wear your best ugly sweater!

December 29: Liberty Ski Demo Day: The award-winning Colorado- based ski company returns with a 2017/2018 lineup that’s guaranteed to make you want to add to your equipment arsenal for the season.

December 30: Lucid Skis Demo Day: Start by demoing a pair of Lucid Skis, made right in Maine. Then end the day with a cold Sam Adams draft in Blizzard’s Pub after enjoying the slopes! Reps will be on hand with tastings and swag giveaway’s and a lucky person will win a pair of skis or snowboard!

December 31: Ring in the new year with friends and family at Blizzards Pub.

Wildcat Mountain presents live music, Warren Miller film and Patriots in the Pub:

Live entertainment in the Wildcat Pub

  • Dec 26: Live music with Scott Baer, 1:00-4:00pm
  • Dec 27: Live music with White Steer, 1:00-4:00pm
  • Dec 29: Live music with Ryan St Onge, 1:00-4:00pm
  • Dec 30: Live music with Shark Martin, 1:00-4:00pm
  • Dec 31:  Patriots vs. Jets in a division rivalry on the big screen, 1:00-4:30pm
  • Jan 1:  Live entertainment with Ben Cook, 1:00 – 4:00pm

Dec 29: Line of Design Warren Miller Movie Premier, 5:00-8:00pm: Take in legendary Warren Miller’s 68th film, Line of Descent, celebrating all things snowsports from hidden slopes to extreme adventure. Food and Drinks at the Pub.  Kids Apres Ski. $10 per person, $40 per family.  Benefits the Wildcat Mountain Alpine Ed Foundation.

In and Around Mt Washington Valley

Live Music at Wildcat Tavern:

  • Dec 26: Hoot Night, a Wildcat Tavern tradition.
  • Dec 27: White Mountain Ceili Ban, 7:00-9:00pm
  • Dec 28: Kevin Dolan, 7:00-9:00pm
  • Dec 29: Al Shafner, 7:30-10:00pm
  • Dec 30: Reverand Al Shafner & the Revtones, 9:00- closing
  • Dec 31: Ring in the New Year with the Jonathan Sarty Band, 8:00-1:00pm

Live Music at Red Parka Steakhouse & Pub

  • Dec 25: Not into the traditional Christmas celebration? Join Ryan for an Open Mike in the Pub, 9:00-12:30pm
  • Dec 29: Riley Parkhurst Project, 9:00pm-12:30am
  • Dec 30:  Lazy Susan, 9:00pm-12:30am
  • Dec 31: Now is Now, 9:00pm-12:30am

Live Music at Shovel Handle Pub – always 6:00 – 9:30pm

  • Dec 26: Riley & Dan Parkhurst
  • Dec 27: Candie, Cliff and Ben
  • Dec 28: Tim Gurshin & Friends
  • Dec 29: Tristan Omand
  • Dec 30: Randy Messineo


December 26 – 31: Conway Scenic Holiday Week Trains: Your favorite old-fashioned train rides will be offered twice daily December 26 through 31, both to Conway:  11:30 and 1:30 (about an hour round-trip).

December 31:  Fireworks at Schouler Park:  Be sure to bring the camera and capture the explosion color over the vintage Conway Scenic RR train station. Fireworks get underway at 9:30pm to ring in the new year and finish off the Spirit of the Holidays celebration.

December 31: Ring in the New Year with dinner at a MW Valley Restaurant: The Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce has created a comprehensive list of restaurants open and celebrating New Year’s Eve with delicious dinners and festivities.

December 31, 7:30pm  – Paws & Plays New Year’s Eve Celebration – Enjoy live music, appetizers, desserts, a cash bar, and a champagne toast as you ring in 2018! Start off your New Year by supporting two of the valley’s nonprofits, Conway Area Humane Society and M&D Playhouse. Live Music by Miss Maybell and Slimpickin’s and Al Shafner and The Revtones. Tickets are $40 per person or $70 per couple. Available below through Pay Pal or by calling Kiersten at 603-447-5955 extension 4.

December 31 – Omni Mt. Washington – Out with the old and in with the new: Say goodbye to 2017 and welcome in 2018 with fine cuisine, music and libations during the Omni Mount Washington Resort’s three-day celebration! Whether you prefer an elegant dinner in the award-winning dining room with live music, or a fun family-friendly celebration with music in the Grand Ballroom, New Year’s Eve will be an occasion for all to enjoy as we usher in 2018!

December 31:  New Year’s Eve Party at White Mountain Hotel: It starts with a cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres, then a four-course gourmet New Year’s Eve dinner in the Ledges dining room.  Dance to the Two Bass Jon Band. You’ll enjoy party favors, a champagne toast and balloon drop at Midnight and two drink vouchers. $139 per person (plus gratuity). Overnight packages available too.

December 31: Le Vent du Nord at Stone Mountain Arts Center: Le Vent du Nord is one of the premier folk bands coming out of Canada today winning multiple awards and accolades from music listeners up north. They have a huge and exciting sound using traditional instruments and foot stomping rhythms…..and they even play the hurdi gurdi.  Showtime: 8:00pm, Doors and bar open at 5:00pm. Tickets $55 per person. Reserve in advance.

To plan a Christmas Week getaway or a New Year’s Eve soiree, be sure to visit www.MtWashingtonValley.org or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH).  To learn more about what’s in store throughout New Hampshire for winter getaways, go to www.VisitNH.gov.


Hope on the Slopes at Cranmore Mountain

Cranmore Mountain welcomes you to participate in the 40th annual Race to Beat Cancer that will take place on Sunday, February 12th. Skiers and snowboarders can participate in the race for a minimum contribution of $80, or $50 for those 17 and younger. This contribution includes a full-day lift ticket, organic, locally-sourced pizza courtesy of Flatbread Company, and an awards ceremony. Participants are encouraged to collect donations from their friends, family and colleagues in addition to their own contribution to go towards this considerable cause.


Registration starts at 8:30am at the Main Base Lodge and the race begins at 10:00am. For more information, please contact Cranmore Mountain at 1-800-SUN-N-SKI or visit their website at www.cranmore.com.

Holiday Traditions on Skis

By Kathy Bennett

I was not raised in a family of skiers. I came by it as an adult and was so smitten I moved to the Valley and never looked back. So skiing was not a part of my family’s traditions growing up. But I’ve done my best to make it part of my own family’s new tradition to squeeze as much skiing as possible into my holidays.

Here’s a tip to remember for next winter – the slopes and trails are decidedly less crowded on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Compared to the crowds that come up starting December 26, you’ll do well to enjoy the time to yourself before everyone else arrives.

Christmas Eve Day I took to the trails of MWV Ski Touring Foundation’s Whitaker Woods in Conway with my husband. This year’s snow conditions are off to a wonderful start and the packed powder snow surfaces were well groomed. We even had a chance to chat with a groomer who was out doing a mid-day groom. This was our first day out on Nordic skis so we took it easy and stayed on the easier flatter terrain, going from the Whitaker House out to the Intervale Crossroads and back, cutting across the Power Line trail and then out to a trail paralleling the train tracks. It’s fun living in a town like Conway where skiing literally and figuratively connects neighborhoods. Why go further north when there’s such a nice network of trails so close to everything.

The MWV Ski Touring trails link many of the inns, hotels and restaurants in and around North Conway and Intervale including the Stonehurst Manor, 1785 House, all the way north to Tuckerman’s Tavern. Its terminus in the Village is walking distance to all of North Conway’s little shops and restaurants. Make like a local and finish up your day of ski touring and walk into town for a Maple Latte at Frontisde Grind. No one will mind your cross country ski boots.

Christmas Day, after a hearty breakfast at home and a whirlwind of opening gifts, we headed to Bretton Woods, one of several areas open on the holiday. If you are thinking ahead to next year, be sure to call ahead as not every area operates. To make the day even sweeter, Bretton Woods was offering a $30 lift tickets, so we had plenty of company on the slopes, but still decidedly less than a typical holiday date. They had been going at it with the snow making since our visit last week and also benefited from natural snowfall off and on all week – another gift for holiday skiers this week. There were even a few natural snow trails open already, which were fun to try out in the still-fresh powder. Watch out for their infamous early-season water-bars and whoop-de-doos on those ungroomed beauties and you’ll have a good time without taking any spills. A welcome break at their mid-mountain lodge allowed us to drink in both the spectacular views as well as a whipped cream topped hot mocha.

While Christmas Week is a holiday period, it is a school-break timeframe that is less frantic here than those that come later this winter. Now is a good time to take a lesson, and spend time with the kids on the bunny slope. Then figure out a way to head north a few days earlier next December to build a new Christmas tradition for your friends and family, if you haven’t already made it a habit. I’m glad I did.

Strong Start to the 2016-17 Ski Season

By Kathy Bennett

Skiing on Sat. 12/17 at Wildcat Mountain was spectacular, and not just because of the 7+ inches of new snow that fell throughout the day. Santa showed up to take a few turns in the powder along with the hundreds of delighted skiers reveling in what was possible the best ski conditions in 2 years.

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Not only did Wildcat offer trails blanketed with both man made and natural snow, groomed to perfect, they had many “natural” snow trails open that were left ungroomed. That’s a gift even Santa can’t top, although he could clearly be seen ripping it up on both the groomed and ungroomed terrain, clutching his jolly red hat as brisk winds raked the mountains and blew the snowflakes about.

It was a great to ski powder conditions and gentle bumps from the summit right down to the base area on trails like Lift Lion, Upper and Middle Wildcat, then down to Bobcat and Alley Cat. When my legs burned out I skied laps under the Bobcat Triple Chair – which also was a welcome respite from the high winds buffeting the Quad.

Beginner and novice skiers also lucked out as Polecat – one of the longest “green” trails anywhere – was open from the summit.  Long, groomed and topped with fresh pow-pow, it gives new and seasoned skiers alike a treat.

Skiing in a snowstorm presents some challenges but ones that are well worth overcoming for the treat of an ever-refreshing fresh powder surface. Saturday delivered classic Wildcat “everything but the kitchen sink” weather – cold (7 degrees when I pulled into the parking lot); wind (reported gusts of over 30mph) and pelting snow. Make like a boy scout and come prepared. Goggles, waterproof mittens, multiple fleece layers, neck gator, face mask, foot and hand warmers – check check check and check. Take breaks to warm up and dry off. I always try to bring a change of certain items – like fleece neck gators – which can become drenched after a few hours. Don’t let bad clothing get in the way of a great day of skiing. Frostbite warnings be damned – dress for it and you can enjoy a full day in the outdoors relishing whatever comes at you!

All local ski areas in the Valley are now open and this Christmas Vacation Week is looking to be a corker with conditions that are a far cry from last winter’s drought. Make your ski and stay lodging reservations right now as many properties will sell out in advance. Not a skier? Never fear – North Conway has something for everyone including snow tubing, ice skating, shopping, arts, culture, foodie adventures and more. Check it all out on our website – www.mtwashingtonvalley.org.

And Just Like That, It was Ski Season

By Kathy Bennett

Last weekend in the city, it was nearly tee shirt weather, with sunny skies and temps in the 60s.  Fast forward just a few days and it’s winter, As of Thanksgiving week, Mount Washington Valley saw two ski areas open – Wildcat and Bretton Woods.

The first day out for the year is always met with mixed feelings. Will you find all your ski gear. Did you remember to tune your skis. Are your legs ready for their winter work out.

So it’s always a joy when the bother of gathering all your gear is behind you and you are getting on the lift for your first run of the season.

bretton-woods-kb Thanks to some light natural snow this week, Bretton Woods featured not only snow on the trails but snow in the trees, giving skiers a true wintry feel for the day. Nothing’s worse than a thin white ribbon of snow with completely brown surroundings – not the case this first day at all.

Nice edge to edge snow coverage greeted skiers on about 5 trails. The snow guns were blasting additional terrain, no doubt with ambitious plans for more terrain leading up to the holiday vacation period. Snow surface conditions were nice – powdery at the top and firm but edgeable closer to the bottom, but still decent for early season – especially after last year’s difficult winter.


Other skiers reported great conditions for the first week at Wildcat. Friday, it was reported to offer snow surfaces that were “some of the best conditions for opening week,” packed powder at the top and soft to bottom. Sunday saw nice weather with occasional glimpses of the rock pile.

This coming week may offer some weather challenges for lower elevation resorts striving to make snow to open; higher elevation mountains may (or may not) pick up additional white stuff. Contact your favorite resort closer to the weekend to see how they fared.

The Ice Man Cometh

No bad weather – just bad clothing. That’s the adage that any respectable outdoorsperson obeys in northern New England. This weekend was no exception as extreme cold enveloped Mount Washington Valley. However, with proper preparation – and proper clothing – there was no reason not to get out there and enjoy the crisp conditions and blue skies greeting President’s Weekend visitors to local ski areas.

First, a list of must haves for extreme cold weather activities.

–        Layers are key – polypropylene and fleece are a must have. No cotton. Not even a little. Ski socks, long underwear top and bottom, fleece pants, fleece turtleneck. Waterproof/wind proof outerwear. Get the picture? You can always take layers off, but if you don’t pack them, you risk being colder than you have to be.

–        Cover your face and head – Goggles. This is not a time to wear sunglasses. Neck gators. Balaclava. Helmet. Leave the cotton scarves at home.  Conventional wisdom is that you lose 50% of your body heat through your head – so cover your noggin and keep cozy.

–        Hand and foot warmers – The best insurance $2 can buy. Feeling flush? Invest in electronic boot warmers or the newest craze – electronic socks. I still go for the $2 disposable warmers. Buy a case at a big box retailer early in the season and use them liberally.

–        Keep your gear warm and dry – if you are stuffing your feet into boots left in your car overnight, you will never recover. Haul your gear inside each night, dry it out and your toes will thank you the next day.

The best advice for extremely cold weather? Be flexible. Be prepared to change your plans to ensure a good time is had by all. Today it was -28 (air temp) at 7am. It was a great day to sleep in, have a 2nd cup of coffee and hang out at the condo until 11am when temps broke zero.

Flexibility may include changing what you do and where. Nordic skiing is a great choice on a cold day. It keeps you out of the wind and off the lifts, and if you choose trails that wind through the woods, you’ll be even more protected from the elements. Conditions Saturday at Bretton Woods Nordic Center were brisk and brilliant as we glided through the Dark Forest trail. Snowshoeing is another great alternative to get your heart rate up and your blood pumping. Bretton Woods reported brisk snowshoeing rentals this weekend, as families considered alternate activities given the temperatures. Bear Notch Ski Touring is also known for its well protected trails in the woods.

But if downhill skiing is on your agenda no matter what, don’t let the weatherman scare you away. Dress appropriately and gear up, then take these steps to ensure a safe and fun day on the slopes:

–        Consider lower elevation mountains. Cranmore, King Pine and Black Mountain are less exposed than their higher elevation counterparts. This also means their lifts are less likely to be impacted by wind.

–        Stick to lower and mid-mountain lifts. Determined to ski the bigger mountains?  Check out the wind direction and find out which lifts are more sheltered. Today at Attitash, a helpful staff member suggested their Abenaki Quad. Its lift line is surrounded by trees and its sunny exposure makes you (almost) feel the warmth of the sun on your face on the ride uphill.

–        Take frequent breaks. This isn’t the day to see how many runs you can make. If you start feeling cold, come inside before it gets unbearable. Besides, it’s a good excuse to socialize over a hot drink or warm meal. Ptarmigan’s Pub at Attitash had a warm friendly crowd mid-afternoon, a great spot to enjoy an Irish coffee.

–        Be realistic. Are you a first chair to last chair kind of skier? Give yourself a break. Start later in the day, enjoy a leisurely lunch, and head out for the day earlier than usual. You still can claim bragging rights.

–        Enjoy the benefits of being a hardy New Englander. Let those western skiers keep the warm temps and blue skies. Cold weather means shorter lift lines, less crowded parking lots, lots of seats in the lodge, and the sweet, sweet squeak of well below freezing snow beneath your feet. Less skier traffic means conditions stay in better shape later in the day. Attitash was still showing corduroy conditions on certain trails at mid-day thanks to some late lift openings.  Find the silver lining!

Just can’t bring yourself to ski in extreme cold? As they say in New England, if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute. Before you know it, mid-winter cold will be replaced by March sunshine, and this mid-February cold-snap will be a distant memory.

Kathy Bennett


Head East Young Man

This week’s eastern snowfall favored Shawnee Peak, just over the border in Bridgton, ME

While Friday’s snowstorm brought some snow to the larger mountain resorts of Mount Washington Valley, heavier snowfall graced the hills east of town and towards the coast. This made Shawnee Peak a great choice for skiing this weekend, as they received 6 inches of the white stuff Friday.  We hopped in the SUV and headed east on Route 302 for the short drive to Bridgton, ME.

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The day marked the first time in a long time since visiting the historic resort, which opened close to 80 years ago. Known for its night skiing, my last two trips to Shawnee were in the evening, so it was a nice change of pace to see the place in daylight. It also opened up many trails I had never had the pleasure of experiencing.

Our favorite runs of the day (and the ones with the most packed powder, no coincidence) were on the eastern slopes of the mountain. Fewer crowds meant morning corduroy lasted longer into the afternoon and soft turning conditions run after run. Considering last Wednesday brought warm temps and rain, Shawnee’s grooming and snowmaking team deserve kudos for restoring snow surfaces so quickly. And the 6 inches of powder Friday didn’t hurt either.

Shawnee is a skier’s mountain, meaning the layout and fall lines are thoughtfully put together and its orientation to the sun and the surrounding bodies of water make for a wonderful experience. Sunday brought blue bird skies and brilliant views to the Presidentials to the west. And it’s always thrilling to ski down a mountain that sits lakeside. Views to Moose Pond and Kezar Lake, among many others in Maine’s Lakes Region, are resplendent from Shawnee.  With its warm sunny exposure and water frontage, no wonder its original founders called it Pleasant Mountain.

Shawnee caters to families and rug rats were plentiful.  They also nod to the twin tip and snowboard crowd with a well developed terrain park.

As one of the last independents, less slick and less developed than its counterparts to the west and north, Shawnee has an old school feel that is welcoming. I stopped for pizza and hot cocoa and the total, with tax, was about $5 – an unlikely figure at many ski areas nowadays. What it lacks in 6-pack lifts and high speed quads, it makes up in value and a cheery “Mom and Pop” vibe.

With February vacation week coming up, try something new and give Shawnee Peak a try, day or night. It’s a short drive from the Valley, but a friendly and less frenzied experience than larger resorts. Find them online at shawneepeak.com


New Snow, Snowmaking & Ton of Events Highlight MLK Weekend at Attitash & Wildcat

Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain have been and continue to make snow around the clock with the focus on expanding terrain for the long MLK holiday weekend. Mother Nature has also assisted with a significant snow fall Tuesday night with Wildcat Mountain picking up eight inches of snow and Attitash receiving six inches and significant additional snow is forecasted for the weekend.

Wildcat Mountain has taken advantage of every opportunity to be making snow since early November opening on November 25 and have been operating daily since then with multiple summit-to-base trails and routes open. Wildcat is currently making snow on the Wild Kitten trail for the weekend. It is a favorite among all abilities, but an especially inviting cruiser for novice skiers and snowboarders. It is over a mile in length. Wildcat expects to have half its total acreage open for skiing and riding this weekend.

Attitash Mountain Resort has recently opened up all connecting trails between its two mountains. The snowmaking and grooming teams will be pushing hard through the week to open many additional trails. Snowmaking is underway on Upper and Lower Cathedral, Lower Saco, Chicken’s Pitch and Ammonoosuc on the Attitash side. At Bear Peak, snowmakers have completed Trillium, Moonbeam and Reckoning and are firing up Wandering Skis. Snowmaking continues on Lower Myth Maker. Attitash expects to have over 50% of its 68 trails available and over 60% of its acreage. Attitash will also be adding a terrain park on Bear Peak for the weekend.

Attitash & Wildcat offer the only reciprocal ticket & pass program in New Hampshire. Lift tickets and season passes are valid for use at both areas. The ski areas are located a short 20-minute drive from one another and will offer a combined 50 trails, over 268 acres, and terrain park features for skiing & riding this upcoming holiday weekend.

For on-snow events, Attitash has a Rail Jam slated for this Saturday that will kick-off of the three-event Attitash Freeride Series. Snowmaking has been underway all this week on the Lower Myth Maker trail and the terrain park build has begun for Saturday’s Rail Jam.

Both ski areas offer great après entertainment all season long. The Wildcat Pub features musician Ryan St. Onge on Friday and DJ Mike for this Saturday. Attitash will feature musician Scott Baer performing in The Den at Bear Peak while the popular local band Livin’ The Dream perform in Ptarmigan’s Pub Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4 pm. A Patriots Playoffs Viewing Party beginning at 4:30 p.m. will include food & drink specials and prize giveaways throughout the game including a grand prize, a “Fat Tire” mountain bike.

Attitash Mountain Resort, located in the Mount Washington Valley, offers skiing & riding on two connected mountains, Attitash and Bear Peak, and is recognized for its advanced snow making systems, terrain parks, ski school and children’s programs, and quality slopeside accommodations featuring the Attitash Grand Summit Hotel. Attitash was most recently voted among the top ten ski areas for value, après entertainment, off-hill activities & kid-friendly by readers of SKI Magazine. For further information, please visit attitash.com or call 1-800-223 SNOW.

Wildcat Mountain is known for its high summit elevation greater than 4,000 feet offering 2,100 vertical feet of skiing and riding. Wildcat’s elevation and proximity to Mt. Washington contributes greater natural snowfall and the longest winter/spring ski season in New Hampshire annually. Wildcat Mountain has consistently been rated #1 scenery by readers of SKI Magazine and most recently finished in the top ten for character, value, challenge and overall satisfaction. For further information, please visit skiwildcat.com or call 1-888-SKI WILD.

World’s Largest Ski & Snowboard Lesson

Want to be part of the Guinness Book of World Records? Beginner skiers and snowboarders are invited to hit the slopes at ski areas throughout New Hampshire on Friday, January 8 at 10 a.m.

Ski areas all over the United States will be holding ski and snowboard lessons in their respective time zones to set the world record for the largest multi-venue ski and the largest multi-venue snowboard lessons ever taught. This is not one giant lesson, but a series of lesson groups being taught in ski areas’ local time zones. Be part of this historical event and have some fun, too.

Participating Ski NH members are offering a “10 at 10” deal that day. For only $10, beginner skiers and riders can get a Level 1 class at 10 a.m. along with rentals and lift ticket, while participating in this Guinness Book of World Records event. (Pre-registration is required and some restrictions apply, so guests should contact participating ski areas for more information. Links and contact information can be accessed at SkiNH.com.)

Here is a current list of participating resorts:

  • Bretton Woods: call (603) 278-3303
  • Cranmore Mountain Resort: call (603) 356-5544 x392 or x333
  • Gunstock Mountain Resort: call (603) 293-4341
  • King Pine Ski Area: call (603) 367-8896
  • Mount Sunapee: call (603) 763-3564
  • Loon Mountain: call (800) 229-5666
  • Pat’s Peak: register online or call (888) 728-7732
  • Ragged Mountain Resort: call (603) 768-3600 x3032
  • Waterville Valley Resort: call (603) 236-8311 x3136

This event is part of January Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month so other opportunities are available.

Beginner specials include a $39 lift, lesson and rental package for downhill skiing and riding at participating alpine areas, and a $19 trail pass, lesson and rental package at participating cross-country ski areas. For more information, visit the Ski NH information page or http://www.skinh.com/learn.

Ski NH is the statewide association representing 33 alpine and cross country resorts in New Hampshire. For more information on ski areas, vacation planning, and updated winter events at Ski NH resorts, call Ski NH at 603.745.9396 or visit the Ski NH website at www.SkiNH.com. For statewide travel info, visit www.visitNH.gov.

Wildcat Last Ski Area Open in Granite State For A Ninth Season In-A-Row


  Wildcat Logo Black

 Wildcat Mountain is once again the last ski area in the granite state to be offering lift-serviced skiing and riding for a ninth season in-a-row. Following a brief weather closure on Tuesday and Wednesday, Wildcat re-opened Thursday upholding its reputation as New Hampshire’s spring ski area and is scheduled to operate through the weekend currently offering 21 trails and 2 lifts, including the high-speed Wildcat Express summit quad and the Snowcat triple chair. At this time, spring discount ticket rates are $49 for adults and $39 for young adults, juniors & seniors, but the area is offering a “Youth Pay Your Age” discount for ages 6-18 on Sunday, April 26.

Wildcat Mountain is scheduled to be closed Monday, April 27 through Friday, May 1 and is planning to re-open again for the weekend of Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, conditions and weather permitting. Wildcat Mountain was the first ski area open in New Hampshire for the 2014/15 season and began operating back on November 9, 2014. Up-to-date information including snow report, spring ticket rates and discounts, and 2015/16 season passes on sale now and valid at all three New Hampshire Peak Resorts ski areas including Wildcat Mountain, nearby Attitash Mountain Resort and Crotched Mountain, is available at http://www.skiwildcat.com.

Wildcat Mountain Friday, April 24

Photo – Snow flakes were falling in Pinkham Notch on Friday, April 24 while skiers and riders are still enjoying the slopes at Wildcat Mountain, the last ski area still open in New Hampshire.


Wildcat Mountain is home to New Hampshire’s most powerful quad summit chair lift and is renowned for its high summit elevation over 4,000 feet and greater than 2,100 vertical feet of skiing and riding. Wildcat’s elevation and proximity to Mount Washington contributes greater natural snowfall and a long winter & spring season annually. Wildcat Mountain has consistently been rated #1 scenery by readers of SKI Magazine. For further information, please visit http://www.skiwildcat.com or call 1-888-SKI WILD.