Whenever you hear about things to do in the White Mountains in winter, you immediately think of skiing
Whether your idea of a fantastic ski vacation is making fresh tracks in black diamond glades OR making sedate runs on a freshly groomed blue trail with some time in a toasty sauna after, the ski mountains in and around North Conway will fit the bill!
Even if you are traveling with someone that likes the cold, crisp mountain air but doesn't want to get too far from the niceties of city living, North Conway, NH will work! Toasty saunas, candlelit dinner, spa afternoons, and outlet stores as far as the eye can see will satisfy those that appreciate the finer things in life.
Traveling with little ones? Check out North Conway's kid friendly ski resorts. If skiing doesn't tickle their fancy there's always these things to do in North Conway; tubing, skating (in Schouler Park), exploring, hiking, making snow angels and selecting their favorite candies at the North Conway 5 & 10 Cent Store.
Most vacationers drive about three hours to North Conway and vacation heaven! The Mount Washington Valley has been a vacation destination since the early 1800's.
North Conway abuts the 800,000 acre White Mountain National Forest which is home to 5 ski resorts, is a perfect haven for cross country skiing, winter hiking, and for the brave at heart - ice climbing. (contact IME for ice climbing info)
North Conway originally was a one horse town with skiing being the only thing to draw folks to town. The opening of Settlers Green in 1988 changed all that!
Once the North Conway Outlets took off, scads of restaurants popped up all over North Conway
It's been said there there are 95 restaurants in North Conway! Personally, I love that... I can go three months without having to eat the same thing twice!
Back to skiing...
As the "birth place of American Skiing" North Conway's most popular activity is strapping some wood to your feet and flying down a frozen mountainside!
What a blast! Here is a list of all the downhill ski resorts in the North Conway area (none of them are more than a hour drive from Four Seasons Lodge).
1. Cranmore Mountain Resort
Right in the center of North Conway is Cranmore Mountain. A beautiful kid-friendly ski resort filled with activities and trails for all ages and levels and it's right down the street!
Cranmore began operations is 1937 and was run continuously by the Schneider family until 1984. It's currently going through a major renovation plus they are building a huge lodging facility on-site.
One of my favorite things to do in North Conway is snowshoe to the top of Cathedral Ledge and look at the lights of Cranmore Mountain at night!
Seriously, try it. It's a blast! They have night skiing so their trails are lit every night.
Cranmore Mountain has a total of 57 trails and 7 lifts with snowboarding terrain and a tubing park right on the mountain.
Your options for lift tickets are 4 Hour, 1-Day, or 2-Day. They also have season passes and group rates.
You can rent all of your equipment and you can have your existing equipment adjusted, waxed and/or sharpened.
Once you get everything settled and you're at the top of the mountain enjoy the beautiful views of the surrounding their peak and enjoy your trip down to the bottom.
They have food for sale with Zips Pub and Grill right by the lodge and The Meister Hut on top of the mountain so you can warm up wherever you are.
Cranmore's mascot is C-More the penguin and can always be seen on Saturday afternoons at Cranapalooza
Cranapalooza celebrations include a DJ, s’mores and games. Families and friends can enjoy fireworks on certain nights, bands on weekends and vacations, children’s entertainment, and more.
2. King Pine Ski Area
This small intimate mountain is great for novices and intermediate skiers and riders.
Family owned by the Hoyt family since the 1800's and is located in Madison, NH. It's only a 20 minute drive from the Four Seasons Lodge and been in operation for 50 years.
Their the Ski and Snowboard Camp for kids is the longest running ski camp in the country.
I have to admit that I am a huge fan of King Pine. Small mountain, family owned, great ticket prices and friendly staff make it a no-brainer for me!
King Pine Ski Area has a small lodge, 45 skiable acres, 17 trails and 6 lifts. Mostly covered in greens and blues with 2 black diamond Nordic trails, it's got a great mix or terrain for your group.
Wildly, Pitch Pine, their double black diamond trail is one of the steepest trails in New England!
If terrain parks are your deal then, Twisted Pine Terrain Park, with hits, rails and challenging elements will keep you busy for the day.
If cross country skiing is your style, they have 22 km of skate- and track-groomed cross country trails as well as snowshoeing, Zamboni-groomed ice skating rink, very affordable snowtubing, and really fun horse-drawn sleigh rides.
Winter events include pond skimming, a cardboard box derby, and ski and snowboard races.
They have night skiing on Tuesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and every night during the Holiday seasons.
You can rent or tune up your equipment right here at the resort, and you can sign up for lessons.
They also have a handful of great snowshoeing trails if you're interested in walking on tennis rackets for the day.
3. Attitash Mountain Resort
Another large mountain area is Attitash Mountain Resort on Route 302 in Bartlett, NH.
The trails were constructed in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Attitash Mountain is able to be located in the White Mountain National Forest because of a special-use permit.
It's a large mountain with a total of 68 trails running for 23 miles and 10 lifts. The trails have just the right numbers: about 1/3 are easy, 1/3 are moderate and 1/3 are difficult.
Both mountains face north extending the season for skiing and snowboarding from November thru April.
They have plenty of ticketing options and rentals, including a two mountain pass partnering with Wildcat mountain (more information on Wildcat below).
The mountain hosts trails for all levels of skiers and riders and the Abenaki Terrain Park.
Abenaki Terrain Park develops in the stages. Early in the season, Bear Peak Base is the place to go. As the season progresses, Kachina Park opens for the intermediate riders and skiers. The most challenging of the parks is Myth Maker (I like to refer to it as Widow Maker!). Not for the faint of heart as it's intended for experts with "big, burly features for the best freestylers out there".
Attitash has small concerts and pubs all around the resort including The Bears Den at Bear Peak and Ptarmigans Pub.
Attitash After Dark is another great event held at Ptarmigans Pub. It's a three-part concert series held throughout the winter season.
4. Shawnee Peak
Heading in the opposite direction, take a short trek to Bridgton, Maine to reach Shawnee Peak.
Shawnee Peak is great for all ages and levels (the Bunny Hill is a magic carpet but after that you get right onto a small lift to take the easy hills that are great for learning. It's awesome if you want to learn how to ride the lift right away).
There are black diamonds, moguls, glades, blues, and greens. Shawnee Peak has 43 trails and 5 lifts (one heading down the backside of the mountain).
For the more adventurous, there are three terrain parks.
They do have lessons, rentals, repairs, and a ski shop as well as Blizzard's Pub and cafeteria all right in the lodge.
They have a some terrain parks for riders and skiers alike and beautiful views from the top of the peak. Especially on a clear day when you can see Mt. Washington.
5. Black Mountain Ski Area
Coming back to NH, right around the corner in Jackson is Black Mountain.
Black Mountain traces back to 1935 when a rope tow was installed to draw vacationers to Jackson.
The following year, Sears and Roebuck shovel handles were added to make the ride easier! The pub on site is called Shovel Handle Pub in honor of that crazy invention!
This mountain is at a height of just over 1,000 feet with 2 chairlifts, 2 surface lifts and one rope tow.
It is a great location for the whole family with plenty of green circles, blue squares, black diamonds and double black diamonds.
Even though it is a little smaller than some of the surrounding resorts it is one of the oldest ski resorts in the state of New Hampshire.
They have season passes, single day tickets, rentals, lessons and there is plenty of fun to be had! It's great for all levels.
They even have plenty of summer activities (like horseback riding--my favorite!).
6. Wildcat Mountain
Wildcat Mountain is a bit of a drive but worth EVERY minute of it! Located in gorgeous Pinkham Notch, there are views that will knock your eyeballs out!
Mount Washington, Tuckerman Ravine and surrounding Presidential Range are all there and perfect for viewing, selfies and family photos! Ski Magazine's Resort Poll has named Wildcat #1 for scenery in the East many times.
With 48 trails and 5 lifts, Wildcat is a great place to spend your day (and nights!) skiing and riding. The Express Quad will catapult you to the top of the mountain in UNDER 7 MINUTES! That's 2100 vertical feet in just 7 minutes - Yowza!
There are great trails for a skier or rider of any age and ability and they are notorious for the longest season in the area due to their upgraded snowmaking.
They are the sister mountain to Attitash which is only 20 minutes down the road from 'Cat. You can attack both hills in the same day if you wish with a ticket purchased at either mountain! THAT is a great deal!
They have tickets available in 1-Day, 2-Day, 3-Day or Night Skiing for all ages. They have group rates and discounts as well as season passes and military discounts. They also offer a "snow guarantee" that basically says, if you ski for less than an hour and are not happy with the snow conditions, they will give you a pass to return within a year for a day of free skiing.
They hold many events, besides just daily food and drink, at their Wildcat pub. The apres-ski entertainment at the pub is great!
7. Bretton Woods
Last but not least we have Bretton Woods in Carroll, New Hampshire.
A beautiful slope hosting 97 trails and 10 chairlifts the possibility for a never-ending adventure is only a 45 minute drive from the Four Seasons Lodge into the White Mountain National Forest and through the beautiful Crawford Notch.
As the largest ski resort in New Hampshire they host a large variety of activities.
Along with Nordic slopes Bretton Woods also has tubing, sleigh rides, a spa, a canopy tour, rock climbing, snowmobiling dog sledding, and rock climbing.
They offer a variety of packages so that you can get the most out of your trip.
As for the Nordic slopes they have rentals, lessons, racing and terrain parks.
Ski resorts in North Conway and the surrounding areas are abundant but no matter which resort you go to you will have an adventure that the entire family will enjoy!
Come stay at the Four Seasons Lodge and enjoy our close proximity to all of these mountains resorts. We can even house enough people to get to use all of the group rates at the mountains--plus you get to enjoy the heated indoor pool and toasty sauna after your cold day on the slopes.
If skiing or riding is not your thing here is a list of more things to do in North Conway during the winter months!
Feel free to contact me at (603) 662-5391 or check out our website www.FourSeasonsLodge.com for lots of insiders information about North Conway!
We are locals and know the ins and outs of North Conway.
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