After a slow start to winter that left winter sports enthusiast wondering if they’d ever get to ski this year, this week’s cold snap has changed their frowns to smiles. Thanks to sustained cold weather, snow makers and groomers have been working overtime to cover the trails with snow. Here is a rundown on a few New Hampshire ski areas and what is available out there for the upcoming Martin Luther King Jr holiday weekend.
Cranmore Mountain, North Conway NH
Historic Cranmore Mountain Ski resort has substantial snowmaking capacity and it’s working not only at night but all day as well. As of mid-week Cranmore had 22 trails open, for a total of 8.21 miles of trails on 79 acres. By the weekend this is expected to expand to more than 100 acres of skiable terrain, with 70% of the available terrain open. Today, snow is being made on the North Slope, Upper Hurricane, Schneider, Bandit, Lower Arlberg, Beginner’s Basin and Skimeister as well as on Competition Slope, North Slope, Middle and Lower Skimeister, all of which should ensure great skiing for the weekend. Five lifts are operating with more opening as conditions allow. Rates are $70 for adults, $57 for teens, $43 for juniors and $48 for seniors. Cranmore guarantees the best price when booking lift tickets online, with up to 39% discounts.
Cranmore is also planning a Cranpalooza outdoors party for Saturday afternoon and evening starting at 2 PM. It will include s’mores around an open fire pit, music provided by a DJ, a magician and fireworks at the base of the South Slope at 6:30 PM. For the non-skiers in the family Cranmore has one of the best tubing hills in New England with ten long lanes and costing only $29 for two hours of tubing fun. Lifts make getting back to the top of the hill easy.
Attitash Mountain Ski Resort, Bartlett NH
Only a few miles up the road from North Conway, Attitash is a modern full-service resort with a huge snow making capacity that it uses well. They have made snow on some of their slopes and left it ungroomed for a few days so that skiers who favor ungroomed terrain can have that experience. Attitash, as of mid-week, has 33 trails open, double what they had last week, served by 5 lifts. Twenty-six of the trains are groomed packed powder and seven are ungroomed. Open acreage totals143 acres with a base depth of 12–30 inches including 6 inches of new snowfall in the past 3 days. As one might expect, they continue extensive snowmaking, currently on Ammonoosuc, Grandstand and Moat on the Attitash side of the resort, and on Lower Myth Maker and Wandering Skis on the Bear Peak side. Attitash hopes to have even more open for the weekend.
Wildcat Mountain Resort, Pinkham Notch NH
Wildcat Mountain has, without doubt the most spectacular views of any ski mountain in the east. Located on the east side of Pinkham Notch, Wildcat’s view from the top of the lift looks directly across the valley at the top of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range. Wildcat is also known for its challenging skiing. Currently it has 16 trails open, covering 102 acres for a total of 5.9 miles of outstanding skiing, served by three lifts. More good news is that Wildcat, in addition to its robust snowmaking capacity, has also just received 9 inches of fluffy natural snow, creating superb conditions. There are several top-to-bottom options. If you can arrange to get to Wildcat on Monday, January 25, you can ski this great hill for only $29 for Attitash and Wildcat Anniversary Discount Day.
Where to stay
The Mount Washington Valley has many options, but we like to stay at small, comfortable inns and B&Bs. A good resource is Country Inns of the White Mountains, an association of small, independent inns. The Kearsarge Inn in North Conway is a great place to check into and in Jackson we like Christmas Farm Inn and the Inn at Jackson. Attitash has several different types of accommodation on the mountain, and two excellent inns nearby: The Bernerhof Inn and Notchland Inn. Attitash partners with Wildcat in special deals; check the Attitash website.