Winter in the White Mountains
Skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, ice climbing, snowshoeing, and the list goes on...If you are looking for fun outdoors this winter, Mount Washington Valley has it all.
There are five alpine ski areas in the Valley with a mix of skiing for all levels: Attitash in Bartlett is a good intermediate mountain with a couple of excellent expert trails; Black is for novices and those intermediates that want to look good on any trail they take; Cranmore is novice-intermediate right in North Conway, the mountain many of us learned at; King Pine is a well-cared-for little area for those starting out; Wildcat is the big one with the longest expert trails in the Valley, though also a surprisingly good novice area.
There are three major cross-country ski areas: Jackson Ski Touring has been judged by no less an authority than Ski Magazine as the finest in the east; Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring's trail layout enables one to ski from one participating inn to a number of others; the newest, Great Glen Trails, sits at the base of Mt. Washington with spectacular views and a quite complete base facility.
If not a skier, nor wishing to be one, New Hampshire has snowmobile trails that one can hop on and tour the whole state. Back-country hiking and ice climbing can provide adventures you won't soon forget. There are skating rinks in Conway (indoors at the Ham Arena in Conway) and in North Conway's Schouler Park illuminated for evening skating. Jackson Resort Association coordinates events leading up to Christmas, and the Mt. Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce has programs during the holiday week between Christmas and New Years.
Yes, there are sleigh rides and caroling and apres ski at dozens of fascinating lounges. But for many of us there is nothing like the first snowfall. James Russell Lowell's words, "The snow had begun in the gloaming and busily all through the night was covering field and highway with a silence deep and white..." may not turn on the plowman, but give the rest of us a special feeling.
Idea: If you're looking for an unusual winter experience, contact the Mt. Washington Observatory (356-8345) for an opportunity to stay overnight on the top of the mountain with "the worst weather on earth". The trip up is by Snowcat over an Auto Road that is apt to be buried under 20' of snow.