Downhill skiing is available throughout New Hampshire in three different flavors – downhill, extreme alpine and Olympic alpine skiing. Olympic Alpine is becoming more and more popular due to the fact that many of the Pro/Am International and National competitions take place in New Hampshire which not only has increased exposure to the sport, but it has left behind competition grade slopes for people to try. Olympic Alpine Skiing focuses on moguls, slalom, grand slalom and straight speed. The slopes groomed for this type of activity are custom powdered or ice sheened to create a desired effect. This is why the ski related weather reports have become one of the most visited links on the Internet in New Hampshire during the winter months. If you are going to go out and take this on, you want to learn where the best places to go are and who is going to have the best conditions. It is rare that Olympic Alpine slopes will be left to the mercy of a natural winter storm. While general alpine and even extreme alpine skiers will handle anything that comes their way, Olympic Alpine skiing requires strict management of conditions to allow skiers to maximize their skills on the slopes.
Learning how to do it
While the time honored way of learning how to ski downhill consisted of renting a set of skis and then taking to the bunny slope for a lesson or two before hurling yourself down a slope while hoping for the best; the art of learning alpine skiing has come a long way. The competition level slopes in New Hampshire also offer the teaching services of many former and current professional and amateur skiers to help you master cutting and carving. If the competitive side of things interests you, there are classes in jumping and slalom as well. Once you master the basics of each skill you can practice on the slopes or even enter one of the many amateur competitions sponsored in New Hampshire. The “Bump or Bust” annual professional and amateur mogul competition on Gunbarrel is one of the best events to try your hand at to see just how far you have come.
Cannon Mountain is getting a lot of notice these days as it was recently featured in Ski Magazine as one of the best places in the world for Olympic Alpine skiing. Lodging in the area is plentiful and access to the slopes is affordable. Cannon Mountain offers the highest elevation ski slopes in the entire region. This creates the perfect condition for long runs and allows for full competition courses to be set up and maintained. They have workshops, classes and ski schools on the mountain and guides and instructors available locally to get you up to speed on how to handle a world class course like this.
Loon Mountain is located in Grafton County and is just a hair higher than 3,000 feet which puts it out of the running of the 4000k list of peaks in New Hampshire. It is a broad mountain that offers over 53 trails for skiers of all levels. What draws the Olympic Alpine crowd in is the south peak of the mountain. Here expert skiers are challenged by the Ripsaw trail and 3 new expert trails that opened in 2012. More people come to Loon Mountain than to any of the other ski areas in New Hampshire. Surrounding the area there is much to do for both entertainment and a wide array of outdoor businesses that specializes in gear for all winter sports. While not as high as Cannon, Loon Mountain offers Olympic Alpine skiers some of the most challenging slopes in their sport.
Bretton Woods is another of the popular winter sporting sites in New Hampshire. It has an established mix of sports from Alpine skiing to cross country to ice fishing and snowmobiling. One of the benefits of the Bretton Woods area is that it is the most developed for a range of activities and ages. You can find everything from Olympic Alpine competitions to senior groups on snowshoes. Nordic competition skiing also has a heavy presence here. The other benefit is this area has long been a year-round resort. The choices in entertainment, food and lodging off the slopes is varied and of a high quality.