Cranmore: 4 minutes
This is an obvious choice as it’s located right in the heart of North Conway. Cranmore is one of the smaller mountains in the area but a great place for beginner and intermediate skiers and riders. It’s also a great place for families with young kids. An easy drive from the center of town this local favorite offers tubing for those looking for a different kind of winter adventure.
Attitash: 13 minutes
Just a short drive from the center of town Attitash is an easy trip to make. This resort has two peaks one old and one new. The Attitash side has been in existence since 1965 while Bear Peak was added in 1994.
Personally, I prefer the Attitash side as it has that old school mountain feel; long, narrow, winding trails . Bear Peak has some nice big open runs for those who prefer a lot of space to make those big carving turns. Also the terrain park is on this side so if thats your style head that way. There’s a decent bar at the base of Bear Peak too. Actually… there’s a bar on both sides, so don’t worry, you can find a beer wherever you decide to have lunch.
Bonus: Attitash is a blast in the summer as well. They have a zipline, mountain biking, a mountain coaster, an alpine side and some water attractions for the little ones. Don’t underestimate the alpine slide, it is so much fun! Make sure you give the people in front of you a lot of room if you like to tear it up because you can get some serious speed on this thing. They have two tracks side by side so Amanda and I always go full throttle the whole way down trying to be the first one to the bottom. I have yet to beat Amanda but I plan on changing that this summer. I’ve been reading some inspirational quotes in my free time so i feel pretty good about it.
Wildcat: 26 minutes
Wildcat is situated directly across Route 16 from Mount Washington. A chairlift to the summit provides some of the best views of Tuckerman’s Ravine and an excellent photo op. So break out the selfie stick and clog up the unloading zone. Getting this picture with your ski buddies is a right of passage. With that being said, because it is in such a volatile area weather-wise (Mount Washington has some of the most extreme weather recorded) it can be suspect to icy conditions and occasional lifts closures due to high winds. Make sure you check the weather before you come.
However, on a good day it’s an amazing mountain. The views speak for themselves but the runs from the top are some of the longest I have found in New England. The last time I went i was totally spent after five runs, I know it sounds pathetic but I was exhausted. I usually don’t stop until I get to the bottom, or to make sure I haven’t lost my other half (just kidding she’s way faster than me) but at this mountain I had to stop and take breaks halfway through the run.
Bretton Woods: 41 minutes
Ah, Bretton Woods… I’ve just discovered you and you stole my heart!
So I will start off by saying that Bretton Woods does not have a lot of vertical feet. The runs are short and even the steepest sections of the mountain are never that steep. With this being said if you are looking to bag your first double black diamond this is probably the place to do it!
So what made me fall in love with this seemingly mild mountain you ask? Well, I visited on a powder day with fresh tracks on every run and Bretton Woods has tons of glades! Have I mentioned yet that I love glades? Hey! Guess what… I love glades!!! So now that I’ve expressed how I feel about dodging trees let me tell you why you need to go here.
There are glades for almost everyone on this mountain!!! Their tree runs range from blue squares to double blacks giving you a wide variety of glades to choose from. Also they are spaced out, even the doubles. I usually have to drag Amanda into the trees as she is not as big of a fan as them as I am but at Bretton Woods we pretty much spent the whole day exploring them. If you have never done glades before and want to give it a try this is a great place to start as they are easy to get in and out off at any time and you can start small. Get in there! You’ll thank me for it.
Sunday River: 1 hour 18 minutes
Ok, so it’s a little over an hour but I promise it’s worth the extra 18 minutes. Sunday River is one of my personal favorite East Coast mountains and for good reason. First of all, it has six peaks! This means tons of terrain to explore and something for every skill level. Second, there are tons of glades, and nothing gets me more pumped than an amazing day scootin’ around some trees. Third, there are some serious steeps at this mountain. Don’t miss White Heat if you like getting your adrenaline pumping by plummeting down a run so steep it’ll get you nervous just looking at it (you can scope out the whole run from the chairlift).
Sidenote: The first time I did this run I spent the whole ride up the chair freaking out to Amanda about how I didn’t know if I could do it. I went back and forth between telling her we had to because if i didn’t i would feel like a scaredy cat and then backing out. She basically told me I was being woos and to get over it… which I did because it was so much fun we ended up going down it four times. Later, after a few drinks at the bar I declared to the bartender that we “totally spanked White Heat”.