INSIDER’S ADVICE FOR BEST SPRING SKIING TRAILS AT MT WASHINGTON VALLEY’S SEVEN SKI RESORTS
Look for a full round-up of pond skimming events to round out the ski season too
North Conway – Normally, we’d be donning shorts and Hawaiian shirts for spring skiing season, but this year, we’re strapping on the powder skis and boards to take advantage of multiple Nor’easters, dumping feet of snow on Mt Washington Valley’s seven ski resorts in early March. Yet, fear not. The beers-on-the-deck days are coming along with pond skimming fun and plenty of warm spring skiing and riding days. The March snowstorms have simply put icing on the cake allowing our favorite places on the mountains to stay snow covered throughout the spring skiing season. There’s no better time than March and April to sneak in the last few runs of the year while soaking up the sweet springtime sun.
Speaking of favorite spring spots, we went to the experts – the marketing managers at each mountain – and asked them to share their insider advice for the best place for spring skiing at each resort. And because it’s the ultimate spring ritual, we’ve also offered a round-up of pond skimming events throughout the mountains here too.
Liz York, Director of Marketing at Black Mountain in Jackson, NH told the Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce, “Here at Black we love Juniper and Jackson Standard, they are usually pounded during snowmaking and hold up really well throughout the whole season into spring!”. Black Mountain’s southern exposure translates into shorts and t-shirts once the temps warm up. Be sure to welcome spring to the mountains with the first all-day pond skim of the season on March 24, 2018.
Jack Fagone, Director of Marketing for Attitash Mountain Resort and Wildcat Mountain, had some great insider advice for those seeking the peak of the peak spring skiing at these two mountains. “At Wildcat, start off with fresh cord at the top on Upper Polecat and warm up the legs before hopping into Black Cat, complete with snowmaking whales and soft bumps! Finish it out on Alley Cat to the let the legs recover from the bumps! End destination: Wildcat Pub Deck for a cold one. This run is great for length, variety of terrain, and views the whole way down. And the suds…it’s not Spring skiing without a 60th Anniversary Hairball Ale from Tuckerman Brewing Co.” After qualifying at all the other pond skimming events, show your pond skimming skills here on April 14th. The last pond skim of the season.
Jack had this insight for those seeking the ultimate spring skiing terrain at Attitash Mountain Resort. “Enjoy beautiful views of the Mt. Washington Valley on Upper Saco and sink your edges into pristine corduroy. Get your heart rate up with a few quick turns down Upper Ptarmigan before heading to Grandstand to bash spring bumps! As you get down to the bottom of Grandstand you’ll hear live music cranking off Ptarmigans Pub Deck.” Mark March 31st for the chance to skim through an 80-foot pond of water at the base of Attitash.
Megan Penny, Marketing Communications Manager at Cranmore Mountain Resort, polled the others in the marketing department and collectively they shared this advice. “We are thinking the trail Koessler offers a great view of the Valley, Moats and downtown plus fine spring skiing. The sun hits it just right and it is often left ungroomed if you’re seeking some bumps. You can then grab a flight of Tuckerman beer on the back deck of the Meister Hut and you can actually see the top of Koessler looking down from the deck!” Cranmore’s Spring Festival takes place on March 31, 2018, including the Spring Splash Pond Skimming Competition. Brave participants will compete for prizes and bragging rights. Prizes will be awarded to best costume, best splash, & best skim.
Jenn Huntoon, Assistant Marketing Director for Omni Mount Washington Resort and Bretton Woods offered this insider advice. “Bretton Woods is well known for its extensive network of glades that range from low angle, wide open birch tree glades like Enchanted Bear and Aggassiz to narrow, steeper chutes like Blowdown Gully and Minahan’s Ridge. Stop in at Latitude 44, Mt. Stickney Cabin or the Cog Car for lunch out on the deck. Be sure to check daily snow report for the latest!” Spring skiing, live music, tasty food and great friends make the 31st Annual Bretton Woods Beach Party on March 31, 2018 a day to remember year after year. From 10:00-2:00pm, catch the Fujiwhara 4X DH, an on-snow, downhill mountain bike race that will be sure to be a treat for both spectators and participants alike! And from 1:00-3:00pm, the slush pool is ground zero for everything from rubber ducky races for the little ones to the ultimate in pond skimming.
At King Pine Ski Area, the experts in the Marketing Department are diverse in their opinions. Director of Marketing, Thomas Prindle advises, “Come spring time, I enjoy skiing Pine Brule at King Pine for a couple reasons. Arguably, though short, Pine Brule is among New Hampshire's steepest trails and can develop nice moguls and bump lines with the right snowpack and when mountain operations allow it to remain ungroomed late in the season. With the sun hitting this East-facing slope early in the day to help soften snow, Skiers can enjoy laps on the Black Bear lift providing great access and viewing of other skiers shredding Pine Brule underneath. Another reason this is a great trail in the spring is the parking access at the base of the Black Bear lift. Skiers can literally back-up and park slope side which is pretty much perfect for lunch-time grilling and lawn chairs.”
Meanwhile, Aly Moore, Assistant Director of Marketing at King Pine and Purity Spring Resort, shared her feelings on the best places at King Pine for spring skiing. “Choosing one trail is difficult! I think if I had to choose just one trail, it would be the namesake trail, King Pine. There are a couple reasons for this choice, the first, the name holds the history of our mountain, as the King's Broad Arrow was blazed on a couple pines that gave this ski area's its name. The King Pine trail also intersects on the East Open Slope where the King's Mark Big Air Freestyle Series (March 24), Cardboard Box Derby (March 25) and Pond Skimming (April 1) occur as the season comes to its grand finale. The sun always seems to hit the valley just right as you peer across the King Pine trail and towards Purity Spring Resort and the side to side snow coverage is always in great shape with spring conditions.” It's snow joke! You’ll round out the ski season at King Pine with April Fools Day Pond Skimming Fun on April 1st. Participants will attempt to cross the man-made shark-pond at the base of King Pine on the final day of the season. Hawaiian shirts recommended!
At Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, Maine, just 17 miles from North Conway, get to the summit of the mountain and all trails reveal a spring vista of Moose Pond below. On March 24th, celebrating the beginning of Spring at the 34th Annual Spring Fling with plenty of soft snow, live entertainment and lounging on the Blizzard's Pub party deck, catching rays and enjoying the weather! The Slush Cup (starts at 1:30pm) pits skiers and snowboarders against a 100-foot-long man-made pond of ice cold water. Skim along as far as you can go, before falling victim to the laws of gravity! Register (for free) in guest services until 11:30am. Kids under 18 MUST have a parent or guardian accompany them to sign the liability paperwork.
Of course, once the lifts close, all eyes shift to Mount Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine for the ultimate in rites of passage. Take the hike up to HoJo’s cabin, relax on Lunch Rocks and watch the spectacle of skiers and riders as they make their way down the wall. With the snow we’ve had this spring, we hope that the Tuckerman ski season may last into June.
For more information about spring skiing and other spring getaways in Mt Washington Valley, go to www.mtwashingtonvalley.org or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH). To learn more about planning a spring trip to New Hampshire, go to www.VisitNH.gov.
Photo courtesy of Bretton Woods