In the 19th century,
summer was considered the only time of year to travel to the
valley. In the 1880's and 1890's vacationing meant packing for the
"season," complete with maids, chauffeurs and
innumerable trunks for the trek from Boston to the Mt. Washington
Valley. At summer's end, most of the early-day inns and hotels
closed their doors. Figuratively speaking, the villages rolled up
their sidewalks for the winter. Then, in the 1920's, the athletic
hikers who spent their summers on the open fields and hills
rediscovered the valley in winter. Lugging seven foot-long boards
uphill, these hardy souls plied their skills in a new interest --
By the time a fledgling
Sun Valley in the West had been serenaded by Glenn Miller, skiing
had already become a popular sport in the East. During this time
Carroll Reed opened in Jackson Village the American Branch of the
Hannes Schneider Ski School of St. Anton in Arlberg, Austria.
20,000 train passengers disembarked at the old North Conway
Victorian-style station each season. Newspapers in Boston and New
York competed for coverage of the celebrities and top skiers, as
well as the novices who flocked to the valley to try the new
winter sport. In 1938, Harvey Dow Gibson opened Mt. Cranmore with
a unique ski lift vehicle he called a Skimobile. A year later he
assisted the "father of modern skiing," Hannes
Schneider, escape Nazi persecution in Austria by bringing him to
the United States. The Mt. Washington Valley now had the world's
top ski instructor, and for the next two decades the valley was
the "in" place to ski in the Northeast.
Today, the tradition
continues in spades. There are seven ski resorts in the Mt.
Washington Valley. The Skimobile has been replaced with four
quads, two of them high speed detachable devices. 234 trails
offering everything from bunny hops to double-diamond challenges
abound, and area ski resorts offer programs ranging from
traditional instruction, Ski-Wee programs, and daily rentals, to
some of the best apres ski lounging in to be found anywhere. Four
areas offer night skiing on 36 trails, all available every night
of the week except Sunday. And, nowhere in New England can you
find more trailside lodging than in the Mt. Washington Valley.
But Alpine Skiing is just
one winter snow activity. Cross-country skiers glide past New
England winter splendors on 346 kilometers of groomed trails plus
225 kilometers of back country trails. They all start at six
valley world-class Nordic centers.
There are snowshoeing
opportunities, too. Snowshoe to a hidden pond in the forest. Plod
on to a frozen falls somewhere in the foothills. Or, explore the
valley floor at your leisure. In the realm of snowboarding, the
valley offers some of the best snowboard terrain in the East for
both beginners and advanced riders. The valley is at the leading
edge of this rapidly growing wintertime sport.
Late November into April.
7 lift-serviced ski areas and 6 cross country ski areas
within 30 miles of North Conway, with more than 1,000 skiable
acres and 450 kilometers of Nordic trails.
39 lifts at 7 areas. 2 high-speed detachables. 12 triples.
234 alpine ski trails with 35 percent expert, 45 percent
intermediate, and 25 percent novice, plus a total of 346
kilometers of groomed cross-country trails with an additional
225 kilometers of backcountry trails.
4 of the valley's 7 alpine ski areas offer night skiing on
38 trails. Available every night of the week except Sunday.
An average of 99% coverage top to bottom at seven areas. 3
have 100 percent coverage. One Nordic center has snowmaking
Washington Valley Alpine Ski Areas
Snow phone (603) 374-0961,
Contact: Marlie Owtnga
This resort area offers 2 mountain peaks, 2 base lodges,
and a points-based ticket that lets you pay as you ski. The
Grand Summit Hotel will be in full swing for the 1997-98 season.
As a part of the American Skiing Company, Attitash Bear Peak
participates in several cooperative programs that promote skiing
throughout New England.
Snow phone (800) 475-4669
Contact: Melissa Bearns
A family resort, Black Mountain's southern exposure allows
for acceptable temperatures even on the coldest days. Its gentle
slopes are tailor-made for the youngest and newest skiers. Black
offers a Family Passport package which gives two adults and two
juniors a full day on the slopes for only $89. And, it's good on
weekends and holiday periods. A special bonus is the tubing park
on Whitney's Hill which gives non-skiers the opportunity to get
out into the snow and have a day of it.
Snow phone (603) 278-5051,
Contact: Ben Wilcox
Sitting at the top of the valley in scenic Crawford Notch,
Bretton Woods offers one of the best views of 6,288 foot-high
Mt. Washington, the tallest mountain in the Northeast. A recent
Snow Country reader survey ranked Bretton Woods as
number one in trail grooming and snow quality in the East. A
family mountain where everyone is comfortable, the resort area
offers Kids Night Programs during the holidays, a mountaintop
restaurant, and an attractive, roomy base lodge where it seems a
fireplace is tucked away in almost every corner.
Snow phone (603) 356-8516
Contact: Carissa Flood
North Conway's in-town mountain continues to expand its
facilities. The Skimobile Express, a high speed detachable quad,
has been followed by new retail shopping facilities and
improvements to their on-mountain restaurant. Cranmore has
awesome snowmaking capabilities, night skiing on 10 trails, and
all the history and charm that can be found in the ski town that
originally put it all together.
|King Pine, East
Snow phone (800) 367-8897,
Contact: Janice Crawford
Just south of Conway in East Madison King Pine offers a new
beginner triple chair, expanded night skiing, 100% snowmaking
capability, and free handle tow access to an improved beginner
ski area. This resort offers "2-for-1" tickets on
Tuesdays and Ladies Day every Wednesday that includes a free
group lesson and half-price nursery care, as well as a Thursday
Snow phone: (207) 647-8444,
Contact: Amy Brown
Bridgton, Maine, just across the state line, is famous for
its night skiing which six days a week offers 16 trails freshly
groomed every afternoon for evening skiers. New at the mountain
is glade skiing, a tubing area, snowshoe rentals, and a
mini-riders snowboard program for kids age 7-12. Shawnee Peak
offers a special "2-for-$30" ticket for twilight or
night skiing on Monday or Tuesday.
Snow phone: (888) SKI-WILD, Email:
Contact: Chris Major
Located in Pinkham Notch, this ski area has the highest
vertical (2,100 feet) in the Mt. Washington Valley. Voted having
the best scenery and best value in the East by Snow Country
magazine readers, Wildcat is known for its steeps, bumps and new
double diamonds. There's a tamer side of the mountain ideal for
beginners and intermediates, as well. Wednesday the resort
offers a $36.00 "2-for-1" ticket.
Touring Center, Bartlett
Contact: John Garland (603) 374-2277
The center offers 60 kilometers of groomed trails, plus
access to unlimited back country terrain. Bear Notch is a prime
snowfall location and is usually one of the first areas opened
and among the last to close.
Cross Country, Crawford Notch
Contact: Ben Wilcox (603) 278-5051
A full-service cross-country center with over 100
kilometers of lift-accessed trails and breathtaking views of the
White Mountain National Forest.
Trails, Pinkham Notch
Located at the base of Mt. Washington, this resort areas
offers unique cross-country skiing opportunities, as well as
snowshoeing, kicksledding, ice skating and tubing. Great Glen
also offers a snowcat ride half way up the 8-mile Mt. Washington
Auto Road with the option of riding back in the cat or to ski
down the mountain. A full service base lodge hosts barbecues,
parties, and local entertainment.
Contact: Tom Perkins at the Jackson Ski Touring Foundation
Called #1 in the East, the center offers 154 kilometers of
trails geared for any skiing ability -- from the Wildcat Valley
Trail on the backside of Wildcat to the more gentle Ellis River
Trail -- all with spectacular views of the valley and
|King Pine Ski
Area, East Madison
Contact: Janice Crawford (800) 367-8897
With 28 kilometers of groomed trails, King Pine offers a
wide variety of skiing opportunities, including alpine and
Nordic ski areas, as well as a fitness center.
Valley Ski Touring Association
Contact: Peter Rattay (603) 356-9920
Based in Intervale, this center has 65 kilometers of
groomed trails that run along the valley floor and into North
Conway. 10 inns and businesses provide the trail system that
offers "out-the-door" trails to visitors.