By: Byron Mackelroy
New Hampshire has a rich history of downhill skiing. These days, the Granite State hosts some of the best ski areas in New England. Just a short drive up I-93 from Boston, central New Hampshire and the White Mountains offer a wide variety of terrain for all types of skiers and snow boarders. Here is a quick guide to three great ski resorts for a fun winter getaway.
With three detachable quads, one four-passenger gondola and a combined total of twelve serviceable ski lifts, Loon Mountain Ski Resort sees more visitors than any other resort in New Hampshire. While the mountain hosts a large number of skiers, is has more than enough terrain to disperse the crowds. At nearly 3,070 feet tall, Loon Mountain has over 50 trails with 324 acres of skiing terrain.
This ski resort truly has something for everybody. The Loon Terrain Park offers freestyle jumps, slide rails and half pipes if the kids want to practice their tricks. There is a decent variety of beginner trails with names like Snubber, Little Sister and The Link. For the true beginners check out Sarsaparilla with its carpet lift. When it comes to experts, Loon is a real treat. On powder days, you might want to think twice about going to the office and head up to Loon Mountain instead. The entire North Peak offers superb expert trails with great vertical and a skier’s choice of mogul runs. Once you get to North Peak, stick to the North Peak Express Quad and you are sure to get enough runs under your belt to last you a long time. After a day of fun, be sure to visit the Common Man Restaurant in Lincoln for some wholesome food and a great après ski atmosphere.
Situated on Mount Tecumseh in the White Mountains, Waterville Valley Ski Resort offers an astounding 2,020 foot vertical drop. If you are looking for long runs and you don’t mind a decent incline, then Waterville is the mountain for you. While the surrounding town is quieter than Loon, the mountain generally has fewer skiers clogging up the excellent variety of trails. The valley run with its detachable quad offers a challenging day of fun for any beginner. With most trails classified as blue squares, intermediate skiers will have full range of the mountain. For the experts out there, the great vertical drop makes most of the intermediate runs quite enjoyable and on good powder days, the Sunnyside Lift offers access to some of the best expert terrain in the state.
Gunstock Ski Area
Gunstock is a great choice for anybody who enjoys a relaxed mountain with great views. The Gunstock Ski Area is perched on the edge of Lake Winnipesaukee. With fantastic panoramic views of the lake, a decent variety of runs and more affordable tickets, Gunstock is a great choice for a quick day trip to hit the slopes. For anybody traveling with kids, the Gunstock Ski School is one of the best in the business. If you live anywhere near this mountain be sure to consider it if you want to get your kids ready for the bigger slopes.
The Gunstock Ski Area is a short drive from the rest of the Lakes Region and I-93. If you are planning a weekend, look into a New Hampshire hotel near Winnipesaukee so that after skiing you can hit the hot tub relax for a bit and then head out to one of the lakeside towns for a quaint dinner and a movie. Enjoying the greater lakes region area definitely adds value to a Gunstock Getaway.