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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.


‘Art Along The Trails’ at Jackson Ski Touring Center

On Saturday, February 11th abstract painters Rebecca Klementovich from Bartlett and Kristen Pobatschnig from Conway will display their art in nature at the Jackson Ski Touring Center in Jackson, New Hampshire. Instead of a traditional white-walled gallery, this gallery consists of walls made from nature – snow, hemlocks, and birches!


Klementovich and Pobatschnig are a painting duo who call themselves the “Femme Fatales of the North.” They are working to bring more attention to female painters in northern New Hampshire, especially abstract artists.

Viewing hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The cost is $5 on foot, or $21 for a trail pass for those on skis or snowshoes (less for seniors and children). For more information about this event, please visit http://jacksonxc.org/events/list-of-events/ or call the Jackson Ski Touring Center at 603 – 383 – 9355. 

Winter Wildlife Tracking in the East Bear Paw Lands

Winter is alive and thriving here in the Mount Washington Valley and it’s time for children and adults alike to go outside and play! The Upper Saco Valley Land Trust’s Easement Exploration Series welcomes you to attend their January exploration in Winter Wildlife Tracking  on Saturday, January 21st, from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. The event, co-sponsored with the Tin Mountain Conservation Center, will be lead by Dr. Rick Van de Pol. Explore the Bear Paw Lands, where wildlife abounds, and snowshoe the trail network of approximately 6 miles long, an excellent beginner’s adventure.

Participants are asked to meet at the Maine Visitors Center, located on Route 302 in Fryeburg, Maine. It is recommended that participants dress warm, bring a lunch, and pack their snowshoes or rent a pair from Tin Mountain Conservation Center. To reserve a pair of snowshoes, please call 603-447-6991. For more information about this event, visit http://www.usvlt.org/easement-exploration-series/. Please email info@usvit.org with any questions about the event.

About the East Bear Paw Lands
The East Bear Paw Lands consist of a 500-acre section of easment located off of Route 302. Within these lands is a trail network of approximately 6 miles long, that is excellent for beginner mountain biking, hiking, snowshoeing, and trail running. The forested landscape is home to an abundance tracks from fox to fisher and the Easement Exploration Group will snowshoe in search of these and other signs of wildlife.


About the Easement Exploration Series
Upper Saco Valley Land Trust’s “Easement Exploration Series” showcases conservation easements and properties we own and is designed to connect community members with the protected lands that surround them.  Once a month they host a themed visit to a preserve or easement.  Visitors might find themselves walking, hiking, running, snow-shoeing, or even canoeing or kayaking through local conservation lands.  These events are led by Land Trust staff, board members, and volunteers, as well as experts in the field: naturalists with specialties ranging from tracking to birding, from limnology to lichenology.  Most of the events are open to the general public, whereas a few visits to easement lands where public access is limited are open only to Land Trust members.

A core component of USVLT’s mission is “to preserve the ecological systems and cultural values of the Upper Saco River Valley.”  Providing a tangible way for community members to connect with these protected lands furthers our mission at its most basic level.

About the Snow in Mt. Washington Valley, NH!

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Welcome to About the Snow, a weekly look at everything snowy in the Mt. Washington Valley.
November 21, 2013
Skiing at Bretton Woods as the snow guns blast more snow onto the trails, November 19, 2013. Photo by: Mark Butterfield/Bretton Woods, Omni Mount Washington Resort.
Snowmaking at King Pine, November 14, 2013. Photo courtesy of King Pine.


11/29, 11/30, 12/1, 12/7, 12/8, 12/14 and 12/21

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Up-to-date information about winter fun in the Mt. Washington Valley can always be found at AboutTheSnow.com.
AboutTheSnow.com is your resource for up-to-date information on contests, weather reports, winter activities, events, and, of course, current snow reports from Mt. Washington Valley’s 13 ski resorts and XC centers.


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* Conway Info Booth – 250 Main Street, Conway, 603-447-2639

* North Conway Village Information Booth – 2615 White Mt. Highway, North Conway Village,     603-356-5947 


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This Week: Snowmaking Continues

Snowmaking continues throughout the Valley after a brief warm-up in temperatures earlier this week. Bretton Woods is open for skiing and riding every day, with the other ski resorts not far behind. Opening day at Wildcat will be this Saturday, November 23, while Cranmore anticipates Friday, November 29 as opening day. Along with skiing and riding, Thanksgiving week in the Valley also includes a number of activities for the whole family to enjoy, so read on for all the details.
Next week, About the Snow will be on holiday to celebrate Thanksgiving. But don’t despair, a copy of the About the Snow newsletter will be back in your email inbox on Thursday, December 5. In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving, and think snow!

This Week’s Weather Report: The weather forecast is calling for partly cloudy skies tomorrow, Friday, November 22, with a chance of snow showers on Saturday. Daytime temperatures throughout the weekend will be in the mid 30s, with overnight temps falling into the 20s – perfect for making snow! For the complete Ski NH Outdoor Lovers weather forecast, click here.

This Week’s Photos: The Chamber’s Flickr gallery is a great place to view the most up-to-date photos of winter fun from around the Mt. Washington Valley.

View our photos on flickr

Valley Finds of the Week

View of Mount Washington from North Conway Village. Photo by: Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative.

This winter, and year-round, the Valley is full of great deals, giveaways and specials, just waiting for you to discover!

Here are the Valley Finds for this week:

    • Book your Northern Extremes guided snowmobile tour or snowmobile rental online by November 30 and receive a 15% discount. Use the promo code: EARLY.
  • Sap House Meadery is hosting a Food Drive. Through November 30, bring in a non-perishable food item and receive 10% off your purchase.
  • Earn a free hike-only ticket for Wildcat‘s “Cans or Cash” Jib session on Saturday, November 30 with a donation of three canned goods or a $3 donation to a local food pantry. The jib session will be held at the base of Wildcat, and the ticket for the hike-jib session will be separate from a ticket for lift access.
  • Get your season pass at Jackson Ski Touring for only $115! This special pricing is good through November 30 for adult season passes.

For a complete list of 2013/2014 ticket deals and special rates at Mt. Washington Valley’s 13 ski resorts and XC centers, click here.


Top Five Ways to Get Ready to Ski and Ride This Season

It’s time!
You’re ready to head to your favorite Mt. Washington Valley ski resort or XC center and fly down the slopes or glide on the tracks through the woods.
Here are a few tips to make sure your first day on the snow is as perfect as you dream it to be:
    1. Tune your skis or board. North Conway stores such as EMS, Bob & Terry’s Sports Outlet, Great American Ski Renting Company, Joe Jones’ Sun and Ski Sport and Stan & Dan’s Sports offer ski tuning. Check with the ski shop at your favorite Mt. Washington Valley ski resort or XC center for tuning options, too.
  • Go through all your skiing and riding gear to ensure that your jacket, ski pants, gloves, helmet, boots and all that you need for a day on the trails are still in working order (and still fit!). There’s nothing worse than getting to the ski lodge and realizing your kid’s gloves no longer fit, or your jacket has a large tear. Need new gear? Check out any of the sports stores throughout the Valley including the L.L. Bean Factory Store, Olympia Sports, Ragged Mountain Equipment, Pearl Izumi Factory Store, IME, EMS, Bob & Terry’s, Joe Jones’ or Stan & Dan’s for the latest gear and deals on 2012 and 2013 gear.   
  • Buy your season pass! There are still plenty of pre-season sales, but they won’t last much longer.
  • Sign up for a lesson. There’s no better way to start off the ski season than with a refresher  to help get you back in the groove of skiing and riding.
  • Do your part! Join your fellow snow lovers at Black Mountain on November 23 for the Annual Snow Dance and Jackson Ski Touring on November 30 for a potluck dinner and the Snow Gods Bonfire.

Snow Much Fun: Thanksgiving Week Fun

Thanksgiving week in Mt. Washington Valley is filled with activities for the whole family.

There will be skiing and riding, shopping, bonfires and snow dances, train rides, visits with Santa, shopping and more. What are you waiting for? Make plans to head to the Valley!

Will you be in town on Thanksgiving Day? Leave all the clean up to the Valley’s restaurants. The Mt. Washington Valley Chamber has compiled a list of all restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinner. Arrive hungry!

Shopping at Settlers’ Green Outlet Village. Photo by: Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative.

There’s no better place to do your Thanksgiving weekend shopping than North Conway Village. Settlers’ Green Outlet Village is celebrating Black Friday with Midnight to Morning Madness on Friday, November 29. All stores will open starting at 5:00 am, with many stores opening at midnight and offering a free Settlers’ Green gift to the first 200 shoppers at midnight. In North Conway Village, the independently owned stores will open early, at differing hours, with each offering special sales for the holidays.

On Saturday, November 30, head to downtown North Conway to celebrate the holidays with the Snowflake Festival and Small Business Saturday. Enjoy special Snowflake Festival sales and Small Business Saturday Specials, with Snowflake Soap Giveaways by Fields of Ambrosia BATH-BODY-AROMA, ice cream treats by Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop and sweet treats by The Met Coffee House. Activities will include a tree lighting in Schouler Park, holiday card making, face painting and caroling by M&D Productions.

Looking for a locally-made and unique gift for the holidays? Head up to Pinkham Notch for the Great Glen Trails Annual Holiday Craft Fair on Saturday, November 30. More than 30 crafters will be on hand, with live demonstrations, a raffle, and bake sale to benefit Great Glen Bill Koch Junior skiers.

SnowDancephotoHelp encourage the weather gods to bless the Valley with a snow-filled winter. Join fellow winter lovers at Black Mountain on Saturday, November 23 at the Annual Snow Dance. Gather around the bonfire as Charlene, the experienced snow dancer, leads a snow dance to the snow gods. Afterward, warm up in the Lostbo Pub and enjoy live entertainment. The bonfire will begin at 4:30 pm.

Kick off the XC season with a traditional skiers’ bonfire at Jackson Ski Touring on Saturday, November 30. The Bonfire will begin at 5:30pm, with music, hot chocolate and refreshments. Bring some old wooden skis to throw on the fire as a sacrifice to the snow gods. The bonfire will be outside the touring center in the large parking lot across from the J-Town Deli.

Don’t forget about bringing the kids to visit Santa! Christmastime at Santa’s Village runs every weekend through December 22, while Santa’s Holiday Express on the Conway Scenic Railroad begins on November 29, with trains every weekend through December 21. And, Santa’s first visit to Jackson Village takes place on Friday, December 29 at the Jackson Village Gazebo at 4:30 pm. 


Ski Area Improvements

Cranmore, November 13, 2013. Photo by: Dan Houde/Wiseguy Creative.

Even in the off-season, the ski resorts and XC centers throughout the Mt. Washington Valley are hard at work in an effort to enhance your experience. Whether by upgrading and adding new lifts, adding snow guns, or thinking up new ways to enjoy winter, the ski resorts and XC centers have been working to make sure the 2013-2014 ski season is the best yet. Here are just a few of the recent upgrades and improvements made this year:

Attitash: Attitash spent $1.3 million on a rehabilitation project of Thorne Pond, the resort’s snowmaking pond, with another $250,000 spent on major lift maintenance projects for both the Summit Triple and Top Notch Double lifts. Additionally, an entirely new fleet of Head rental skis has been purchased to improve the rental process and skiing experience for customers.

Black Mountain: The mountain has invested in two new Ingersoll Rand compressors and more than 40 high tower efficiency snow guns, increasing its snow making capacity significantly. Black has also developed and cut a new giant slalom run with the ability to accommodate 40 turning gates.

Bretton Woods: Upgrades at Bretton Woods range from the addition of 40 new snow guns on Crawford’s Blaze and 20 upgraded snow guns on the Ben trails to the addition of 3km of Nordic trails on the high-country terrain on Mount Stickney. The Resort has also added four zip lines on the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour for more off-slope fun.

Cranmore: Cranmore has invested $100,000 in snowmaking equipment, including the addition of 35 new energy efficient tower guns, and additional snowmaking trails. Additionally, new Rossignol equipment has been added to the Rental Dept, and a new methodology of Terrain Based Learning is being implemented in all ski school programs.

Great Glen Trails: Great Glen Trails has added a new snowmachine to its fleet. The Artic Cat-Bear Cat has nordic grooming features and is designed to better handle grooming in low snow conditions. An additional SnowCoach has also been added to the fleet so that additional tours can be offered on busy days.

Jackson Ski Touring Foundation: A new grooming vehicle and early season and detailed grooming implement have been added to supplement the grooming fleet. Improvements to the trail network include a new bridge connecting two major beginner areas, an expansion of the Storyland Element Garden and an expanded parking lot at East Pasture.

Shawnee Peak: Shawnee Peak has made a significant capital investment in a new electric plant and state-of-the-art electric air compressors instead of traditional diesel compressors. The switch to electric reduces the need for diesel fuel by 18,000 gallons, cuts carbon emissions by 50% and should produce an energy cost savings of 15% each year. They can now make the same amount of snow with less energy. Shawnee Peak will be the largest user of these new compressors in New England.

Wildcat: An investment of $250,000 was made to upgrade the network of snowmaking pipe on the mountain and the snowmaking pumps. One of the greater benefits of this investment will be improved snowmaking capacity and efficiencies mountain-wide, especially on the Polecat trail.


Stay a Little Longer

One of the terrific things about the Mt. Washington Valley is all the options for alpine and cross country skiing, plus all the other outdoor adventure from dogsledding to snowmobiling, skating, tubing and more.

And there’s no better way to explore all that great variety than to stay a little longer. Don’t just visit for the weekend. Spend a few midweek days with us! Our midweek Snow Much Fun Vacation Packages make it easy, and the variety of properties gives you plenty of choices.
Make your winter adventure even better with a terrific lodging deal. Book your stay at one of the four full-service Appalachian Mountain Club lodges before December 15, and save 20 percent off two nights or 30 percent off three or more midweek nights (Sunday through Thursday) through March 31, 2014, at any combination of AMC’s full-service lodges in New Hampshire and Maine. Use the promo code WINTER14 before December 15 to take advantage of these special rates. 

Weekly Contest

Each week we give away a lift ticket or trail pass to one lucky About The Snow reader. We announce winners on the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber’s Facebook page. Stay tuned to our Facebook page to see if you are a winner. 

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Happy Thanksgiving

Believe it or not, next Thursday is Thanksgiving. The About the Snow newsletter will not be published on Thanksgiving. Enjoy the time with your family, and we’ll be back in two weeks on December 5 with up-to-date news about events, snow conditions and winter fun throughout Mt. Washington Valley.