Much is made of the fact that no one is sure why the White Mountains of New Hampshire are called the “White Mountains,” but once you see them in winter, the reason becomes obvious. The White Mountain range that extends through the state contains some of the most rugged and highest peaks in New England. In New Hampshire there are 48 mountains over 4,000 feet alone. These provide you with an opportunity to experience winter outdoor activities in a way that is just not available in other states. Whether your activity of choice is skiing, snow-shoeing, ice-fishing or shopping; the White Mountain range offers you the best choices in how to spend your time outdoors in winter.
Cannon Mountain is the go to place in New Hampshire for down-hill skiing. The highest ski mountain in the state, it is also one of the Four Thousand Footers. It has a mixed range of ski slopes available that suit all levels of ability. The state parks and recreations also sponsors several ski schools and workshops so you can develop your skill or try the sport safely for the first time. One of the most important resources you will need for your ski trip will be a reliable source of weather information. The state service issues ski related weather reports that you view to make sure the travel times you have will match a good day.
Cross-country skiing is another popular winter sport in New Hampshire. Areas such as Bretton Woods, Loon Mountain and Granite Gorge all have highly developed trail systems and respected resorts. In New Hampshire, there are over 50km of developed cross-country ski trails available. If you think that this type of skiing is too slow and tame for you, think again. The sport has transformed and also goes by the name of Nordic Skiing. The sport and fitness style of Nordic Skiing is considered to be one of the best workouts available, challenging your core, back, legs and arm strength while requiring a developed sense of balance and fluidity. Many of the best cross country or Nordic skiing opportunities are combined with downhill ski resorts, you can find lodging and access ticket deals by looking at our list of lodging resources.
The White Mountains also offers a range of snow-shoeing experiences for all different levels. From the advanced trek on Lonesome Lake Loop in Franconia Park to the introductory trails offered in the Bretton Woods areas, you can find something that matches your skills and ability. The Appalachian Trails Club maintains a list of snowshoe trails and their ratings so you will know exactly what you are getting into before you get out there. If you are trying a new level of trail and need to upgrade your equipment, or need different equipment to accommodate the unique potentials of the New Hampshire trails, such as personal pepper spray to protect against bears and mountain cats, check out our gear shop. We’ve selected the best of what you need for the trails in New Hampshire that may not be common to other winter adventure areas.
Ice-fishing is one of the most unique ways to combine a love of fishing and the love of the winter outdoors. Many of the lakes in New Hampshire have managed stock so fishing is always good. When it comes to ice-fishing, New Hampshire hosts many tournaments that also serve to contribute to a charitable cause. If you have never been ice-fishing before it is a good idea to take one of the ice-fishing workshops to find out more about safety, etiquette and the fishing licenses required. The workshops are a great choice for introducing children to the sport as well.
Snowmobiling & Snowboarding
There is plenty of snowmobiling and snowboarding to be done in the White Mountains as well. Most of the resorts that offer ski trails will also have slopes and trails for these sports. One word of caution, make sure to check with the resort or park before you commit to them to make sure that the restrictions on these two activities in your chosen area won’t take away from your fun. There are areas in the White Mountains, such as the Bear Notch Trail System, that are maintained with snowmobiles in mind so you won’t have to worry about dodging someone on snowshoes while out enjoying your day.