From the Balsams in the far north to Granite Gorge in the south, New Hampshire boasts over 30 ski resorts. The majority are clustered in the White Mountains, which is home to the highest peak in the Northeastern United States: the mighty Mount Washington.
Accommodations range just as much as the mountains; from the grand old Omni Mount Washington Hotel, with its luxurious spa and dining, to the cozy Kearsarge Inn, which has in-room fireplaces and Jacuzzis, there are lodgings for every budget and every type. Ski New Hampshire offers information on most of the state’s ski resorts, but here are five tried and tested spots to hit.
1. Bretton Woods, White Mountain National Forest; 2. Franconia Notch State Park, Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway & Ski Area, New England Ski Museum; 3. Cranmore Mountain Resort; 4. Jackson Ski Touring Foundation; 5. Loon Mountain Resort.
Linda Clarke is a freelance travel writer whose work has been published in the Boston Globe, New York Daily News, and several other print and online publications.
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Bretton Woods is part of the Omni Mount Washington Hotel property and with 464 acres of skiing and snowboarding, it is New Hampshire's largest ski area. There are 62 downhill trails and 35 glades, and around 62 miles of cross-country trails for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, half of which are in the stunning White Mountain National Forest. There is a full-service PSIA (Professional Ski Instructors of America-American Association of Snowboard Instructors) ski school, a full-service facility (for rentals, ski repair, and waxing) as well as locker rooms. Once you've had enough skiing (if that's a thing), The Bretton Woods Canopy Tour puts you among snowed-over giant Hemlocks. Latitude 44°, a restaurant at the resort's summit, is a very special place to take the weight off.
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Located within Franconia Notch State Park, at 4,080 feet, state-owned Cannon Mountain's summit is the highest of any New Hampshire ski area. Still, Cannon Mountain is probably more famous for being the site of North America's first passenger tramway; built in 1938, it was replaced in the 1980s and still runs year-round. Cannon Mountain Aerial Tramway & Ski Area has 72 trails on 178 acres, as well as the 86-acre Mittersill Backcountry Area, which first opened for skiing in 1933. Following a couple of decades of closure, Mittersill was resuscitated for Nordic skiing and snowshoeing, and is now known as the Mittersill Terrain Area/Backcountry Area. For more history, the New England Ski Museum is located near Cannon Mountain's base lodge.
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Cranmore Mountain Resort is among New Hampshire's oldest ski areas, dating back to 1937, when it opened with just one rope tow. A lot has changed since then; with around $10 million pumped into updates to its 170 acres since 2010, it's weathering the times well–and there's more to come with expanded base lodge facilities and another condo development, too. From black diamond to bunny, Cranmore's 56 trails offer great skiing, and there are a handful of terrain parks, too. Cranmore specializes in learning programs, and the gently inclined and lengthy Beginner's Luck slope is one of the best baby slopes for perfecting your ski and boarding skills. There's a snow tubing slope, the 25-miles per hour Mountain Rollercoaster, and aside from the copious base lodge dining, the slope top Meister Hut is a favorite for view seekers.
Cranmore Mountain Resort
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Mountain slopes are all very cool, and no one doubts the spectacular views they offer--should you actually stop skiing or snowboarding to enjoy them--but the views over the flatter terrain of Jackson Ski Touring Foundation, better known as Jackson XC, are surprisingly gorgeous. Set in peacefully picturesque Jackson Village, this nonprofit organization focused on affordable cross-country and snowshoeing is ranked among the country's top Nordic skiing centers. The 95-plus mile long trail system meanders through snow coated meadows and along streams; there are warming huts for breaks and nearly ten miles of pet friendly trails, too. Yellow snow can't stop a true athlete. Jackson XC has gear rental, a retail shop, and even alpine skiers can enjoy some backcountry skiing there.
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Loon Mountain Resort might not be the biggest resort, but it boasts more snow terrain earlier in the season than any other New Hampshire ski spot. That's because of their newly installed innovative snowmaking equipment, which allows the resort to take advantage of short snowmaking windows and make snow even in marginal temperatures. Thus, Loon Mountain is among the first resorts to open in the state, often in mid-November. Loon Mountain's eco-friendly efforts include Tesla and EV charging stations, and a partnership to support conservation and restoration projects in the White Mountain National Forest. Should visitors need a break from its 61 alpine trails over 27 miles, award-winning terrain parks, and over 12 miles of Nordic trails, Loon Mountain has a really cool antique steam locomotive. All aboard for some mountain sight seeing.
Gus Noffke, Loon Mountain Resort