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Ski NH (x3)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

     I am going up to New Hampshire on 03/25-03/29.  It is my first ski trip up there.  We will be staying at a friend's in Littleton, so it's pretty convenient to a bunch of places (Loon, Cannon, Waterville Valley, Wildcat, Cranmore, etc,etc,etc). 

We will be skiing 3 days and can't seem to be able to commit.  Our group will be:  me - favorite runs are black crusiers - steep speed.  I'll probably go in a glade run (if open) just to check it out, but mostly on steep groomers.  Sister - pretty good intermediate; she'll try a black run or two, but will stick mostly to blue cruisers.  Son - 5yr old, has gone one time.  He'll probably ski Fri and Sun and be placed in the all day school; three days might tire him out a bit much.  Wife - doesn't ski.

So - I need some challanging terrain and some cruisers, but I also want a really good ski school for the boy to hang out in.  It wouldn't hurt to have somewhere for the wife to go while we're skiing (but not a deal breaker either). 

I've heard good reveiws about many of the places up there and I guess I'm kinda stuck in "paralysis by analysis."  I'm thinking maybe Loon on Friday (so it's less crowded), Wildcat on Saturday, and Cannon on Sunday.

Does my plan sound good?  Anyone out there have better suggestion for making the most of our trip (esp for the boy).

post #2 of 4
I live in NH but can only talk about Loon, Waterville Valley, and Bretton Woods from my own experience...we have a place in WV and ski there the vast majority of the time.
Hitting Loon on Friday is an excellent choice, you should all have a lot of fun there. They have terrain to suit everybody...I'm guessing you'll really enjoy Angel Street. Our daughter has used the ski school there and liked it. The bad thing about Loon (that was part of the decision to buy a place in WV instead of Lincoln) is that is tends to be so crowded on weekends that it's not much fun.
Bretton Woods would probably not be a good choice, despite having a reputation as a great family place. I think you'd be bored there...the challenging runs seem to be the glade and deep woods bump runs, and most of the cruisers aren't very exciting.
Waterville Valley is sort of a mini Loon, decent terrain variety but just not as many runs to choose from. No groomer quite as thrilling as Angel Street and also not enough greens for the beginners. The ski school is top notch, though, one of their great strengths. I love skiing there and the weekend crowds aren't too bad, plus the town is cute and fun to hang around in...Lincoln seems like a big strip mall desert to me, although there are a lot of restaurants to choose from.
All I've heard about Cannon is that there are very good runs there, but the place tends to get icy between storms...it has a reputation for being an expert's haven. I don't know a thing about Wildcat other than it is in NH.
Cranmore is on my pass (with WV and BW), but I haven't been there yet. I wish we got around more, but WV is obviously convenient and cheap for us on the 3dom pass. Cranmore is actually a very long drive for us if we're staying in WV.

Have a great time, but be prepared for spring conditions...sounds like it's going to be around 40 at the base at WV tomorrow, unfortunately. There should be plenty of snow for some time after the 3' dump last week, but it seems to be warming up fast.
post #3 of 4
As stated above, Loon on a weekday is a good idea.  Lots of blue cruisers but some blacks too.

Hit up Cannon for blacks and if even if you like cruisers, try dabbling in the blue and black bumps off the Zoomer chair.  You may find you like them.  Also, a couple of the trails have one side groomed so you can cruise and dabble in bumps in the same run.  Cannon is classic NH skiing.

If you get a real nice sunny bluebird day, ski Wildcat.  Just for the view it's worth it.  Also classic NH skiing.

I don't know that I'd bother driving past Loon and Cannon to ski at Waterville. It's not bad but as stated above, it's just a smaller Loon.  I've skied it a couple Sundays as kids are $12 on Sundays which makes it cheap for my family.  It is not crowded on Sundays.  If you are headed South on 93 to go home (if you go home that way) and want to do something other than Loon or Cannon, that would be an option.

Never skied BW or Cram.

post #4 of 4
As others have said, Loon and Waterville will be mobbed on the weekend.  Friday should be workable there though.

Regarding your non-skiing wife.  Cannon and Wildcat are both ski "areas" not resorts, meaning that there is not much at either one except skiing.  The town of Lincoln is fairly close (10 miles south through the notch) and has various shopping / dining opportunities.  The town of Franconia is a few miles away to the north, but I've never done anything except ride my bike through it in the summer, so I don't remember if there's anything there.  Wildcat is in the middle of the White Mountain National Forest.  Jackson is the nearest village, but it's tiny.  North Conway is about 20 miles from Wildcat, and is a shopping / dining / entertainment mecca.

Cannon does have two draws for non-skiers:  the tram base is home to the New England Ski Museum, and non-skiers can purchase a one-time tram-ride ticket to check out the view.  If it's a blue-bird day -- the view of the notch from the top of Cannon is absolutely amazing.  There is a lodge up top, so sightseers can step inside to warm-up if need be.

Cannon was my hangout for several years.  Cannon is something of an upside-down mountain; i.e., the steepest stuff is off the Zoomer chair, which is off the bottom.  If you feel like skiing some relatively-open non-groomed terrain, Cannon has its entire Mittersill slack-country area "official" now (it's on the map...  just take Taft from the top and keep going.  Eventually you'll need to start hiking; it's about a 10 minute walk to get over there.  All natural, never groomed, etc.  You can ski back to the Cannon side if you can find the cutoff; but as you're a rookie -- check with the Cannon base to see if they're running the shuttle between the Mittersill and Cannon bases, or you might get stuck doing some serious hiking to get back).

I've only skied Wildcat a few times.  If it's a clear day (big "if") , the view of Mt. Washington (highest peak in the Northeast, which is literally across the street) is another jaw-dropper.  I remember Wildcat having some really fun classic New England terrain (i.e., the blacks are narrow, winding and were left ungroomed the times I've been there).  

Not to complicate the issue, but Attitash is in that area as well.  I've never found it all that crowded, and they have some fun steep cruising that you'll probably enjoy.  Again, there is very little at Attitash except skiing, but it is quite close to North Conway.
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