(Sargent’s Purchase, NH, February 8, 2024) - One giant leap for all snowkind... Today is a day for the history books. For the first time, Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center offered guests a guided winter SnowCoach summit expedition up the Mt. Washington Auto Road to 6,288 feet.
Driven by 4 tracks rather than wheels, the Mt. Washington SnowCoach typically transports guests to tree line on the Mt. Washington Auto Road, at approximately 4,200 feet, into a sub-arctic world for a truly unforgettable adventure. All tours are narrated by our expert guides and the SnowCoaches are warm and comfortable.
On this historic day, supremely favorable weather forecasted by the Mount Washington Observatory (MWOBS) and unusual top-to-bottom snowy road conditions allowed guests the rare chance to continue to the summit of the ‘Old Rock Pile’.
This inaugural winter expedition has been something that Tobey Reichert, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center, and his team have been dreaming of for a while. Reichert explained that “conversations with MWOBS snowcat operators and weather forecasters determined that Thursday the 8th of February 2024 was the best day to attempt to make this dream a reality. In fact, I was so excited that I signed up to be one of the tour guides for this historic trip”. Other guided tour drivers included Kevin Devine, Nick Griffin, Ray Bergeron, and Marc Martin.
Martin, who is in his second season guiding tours up the Mt. Washington Auto Road, shared, “As someone who has driven this 100 of times this was truly a unique experience that I will always remember. The people loved it. I loved it”.
Even on a ‘perfect day’, guests experienced an authentic tour, including snow, wind, and fog all which lead to dramatic views of cobalt blue skies and expressive undercast clouds blanketing select peaks below. Guests were thrilled to get a chance to soak in scenery and take photos on the observation deck and at the iconic summit sign. There was little wind and a summit high temperature of 27 degrees. From the summit of Mt. Washington, which is normally under cloud cover for two thirds of the year, visibility was 110 miles. Operations Director, Kevin Devine, couldn’t wipe the grin from his face. After returning from the second tour of the day, he said, “guests and tour guides alike were besides themselves. We all were lucky to find a day where conditions and weather allowed for this life lasting memory”.
Due to high-demand, Great Glen Trails expanded availability to two timeslots on Thursday, February 8th, 2024. Five 8-passenger SnowCoaches left at 9:00 AM and four again at high-noon. All nine SnowCoaches successfully summitted New England’s tallest peak in winter on America’s oldest man-made attraction.
It's important to remember that Mt. Washington is often referred to as "Home of the World's Worst Weather". We are fortunate for the unique circumstances of multiple bluebird days and unusually perfect road conditions that enabled our team to safely accomplish this journey. As always, any guided tour on the Mt. Washington Auto Road is weather permitting.
The Mt. Washington Auto Road will continue to monitor weather and conditions in hopes of another ‘perfect storm’ to offer a summit trip again. Like everything else on Mt. Washington, we respect Mother Nature, and will continue winter operations safely to tree line. Regardless of if you visit Winter Cutoff (4,200 feet) or the summit (6,288 feet), guided SnowCoach tours up Mt. Washington promise guests an experience like no other. Follow both sister companies, @greatglentrails and @mtwashautoroad on social media to see if this opportunity unfolds again. Learn more at www.greatglentrails.com/snowcoach/.
About Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center: First opened in 1861, the Mt. Washington Auto Road is America’s original man-made attraction. Experience the dramatic beauty of the Presidential Range as you journey to the highest peak in the Northeast when you drive yourself or take a guided tour along the 7.6 mile Auto Road featuring four distinct ecological zones. In the winter, enter an extreme world on a Mt. Washington SnowCoach guided tour to tree line. Visit gift shops, the Red Barn Museum, and our award-winning full service bar and restaurant at the energy-efficient Glen House Hotel. Make a day of it—book your guided kayak trip and bike rentals in the summer or enjoy cross-country skiing, tubing, and snowshoeing at Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center.