The big three winter sports have always been downhill skiing, cross country skiing and now, snowboarding. New Hampshire ski resorts and ski centers offer combined sport slopes and trails so that you can get the most out of your experience on your vacation. One of the additional bonuses of snowboarding now being commonplace on the slopes is that it allows for more variety in your choice of activities. You can do a different snow sport every day of your stay, or your whole family can do the one that appeals to them but still meet up for lunch and be together during the day. Winter sports in New Hampshire are serious business. It is not only an important part of their economy, but the ski industry helps to support maintaining the natural wonder of the New Hampshire mountains and valleys as well. With the Appalachian Trail running though the state, there is much here that can’t be seen anywhere else.
The White Mountains make New Hampshire one of the best places for downhill skiing. Mount Cannon offers the highest elevation for slopes and the slopes in Waterville valley can rival anything in Aspen or the Alps. One of the things that makes the downhill skiing so wonderful in New Hampshire is there has been a concentrated effort by the state and local businesses to develop a ski industry that provides for education and recreation. Some of the “off groom” trails can take you down slopes and over drop ledges as part of a trail system that also helps you to preserve the natural beauty of the mountain. There are schools and workshops to introduce beginners to the sport or increase your skills in the advanced levels. The state sponsors information links and sites to keep you current on the latest weather and conditions for all the ski areas. Trails and slopes are maintained in a variety of ways to allow for a full range of ski styles from the speed of the packed slope and machine groomed trails, to loose powder.
Cross Country Skiing
There are plenty of prepared and groomed cross country ski trails in the White Mountain region of New Hampshire, but there are also significant trails in the Lakes region as well. Waterville Valley and the Lake Sunapee area have some of the oldest cross country ski centers and there are over 50km of trails documented in New Hampshire alone. Nordic skiing is becoming more and more popular. This is the sport form of cross country skiing that many people are familiar with from watching the Olympics. Nordic skiing is fast and strenuous and there are many races and competitions featured through the region. The groomed trails for Nordic skiing are kept separate from the traditional cross country passages. While many of the ski centers offer both, it pays to check out what the focus of a particular center is by type. You should also check out the maps and regions in New Hampshire if you are interested in the more traditional form of cross country skiing. Many of the commercial centers abut state and national parks and their trail systems join. If you are new to Nordic or traditional cross country skiing, no matter where you go in New Hampshire it is easy to rent a pair and get a lesson. Cross country skies have been in use for centuries in New Hampshire as a means of travel and just about everyone is familiar with them.
Tuckerman Ravine in Pinkham Notch is one of the most popular places for snowboarding. While there are many different ski resorts and winter centers with prepared trails and snowboard ramps, rails and obstacles – in Tuckerman you will find the best backcountry trails to try. Snowboarding backcountry trails is wildly different, and much more difficult than running the half pipes or parks. Backcountry trails are available on almost all of the 4000k peaks registered with the Appalachian Trails Clubs so you can make it your mission to not just do each one, but to register each one as it is done with the club. Backtrail snowboarding requires a speed of movement and several types of techniques that you won’t use on a groomed trail. It can be very challenging and exciting as well as exhausting, make sure that you pick lodging that is going to be close enough to the peak you want to snowboard so you can truly enjoy your stay.