When skiing around New Hampshire you’ll find something for the whole family. I like to check out the ski schools and every resort in New Hampshire that I’ve skied at makes a point of offering a very comfortable experience for new skiers. Don’t let this fool you there’s a lot to New Hampshire that needs your A game – including watching for the wildlife. I came around a curve and met a huge mother moose up close when she decided she wasn’t moving until she had licked her fill of salt off the road.

Here’s some of a lot of new stuff happening in New Hampshire for this 2011-12 winter season.

  • Pats Peak has added eight Fan Guns, two new Turbo Fans and 3,000 feet of new snowmaking pipe.  The Pats Peak Rental Shop is now a Burton Learn to Ride Center with 150 kids and 200 adult beginner specific snowboards.  The Bear’s Club Kids Program will now have its own fleet of rentals heading direct to the Bear’s Den. Look for a new progression park for those just getting started catching air, hitting rails and sliding boxes, and a new Freestyle Camp will be held on vacation periods.
  • Loon Mountain adds two trails on South Peak and ramps up snowmaking with the addition of over 160 new guns.
  • Granite Gorge debuts major base lodge renovations with expanding floor space and the Lookout Lounge will ad an all-weather deck. Snowmaking gets two new snow guns and there’s a new Bag Jump feature coming for some serious air-time with a soft landing.
  • Mount Sunapee will open another glade trail and snowmaking is being added to Outer Ridge Trail. The mountain will also become a Burton Learn-To-Ride Center.
  • Gunstock Mountain Resort has added a Big Air Bag Jump and the new Zip-Tour will run during the winter.
  • Cranmore adds 45 tower guns for more snowmaking and gets a new Bison Groomer to add more corduroy. You’ll see improvements to the base lodge, rest rooms, and food and beverage facilities and an upgrade in rental equipment.
  • Black Mountain will be increasing snowmaking by 35 percent.  The lodge has numerous upgrades to unveil and expanded seating for the bar and dining area at Lostboy Pub.
  • Crotched Mountain has expanded the Head ski and snowboard rental program and you’ll find the terrain parks offering many new elements, as well as an all-new park for freestyle program participants.  Improvements in the lodge and cafeteria will be up and running.
  • Ragged Mountain in Danbury is adding 100 high efficiency,  low-energy snowguns and a new Prinoth grooming machine.
  • Wildcat Mountain has been busy making improvements on the snowmaking system and the Wildcat base lodge. A new ticketing system now allows easy access between Wildcat and nearby Attitash Mountain Resort.
  • Attitash Mountain Resort has thinned glades and upgraded the snowmaking system. In the lodge you’ll find the return of Ptarmigan’s Pub.
  • King Pine and Purity Spring Resort has concentrated on major improvements to the snowmaking system.
  • Jackson XC cross country skiers will find 1.7 kilometers of new trail and a rebuild of another 1k.
  • Windblown XC will open up trails and allow for the addition of telemark and backcountry skiing.

Smugglers’ Notch Resort

There are a lot of ski areas in New York State and any given season you will find improvements all around the state. I grew up skiing New York and there’s a lot of interesting terrain around the state – from the highest vertical in the east to some major lake effect snowstorms out in the western part. I used to pray at night for those storms to save something for eastern New York. Sometimes I got my wish and we would get a light western powder but only enough to make you want more. Of course, no matter where you live and ski you always want more snow and New York gets tons of it and makes tons more for great conditions all season long.

Here are the major new offerings at New York resorts for 2011-2012.

  • Hunter Mountain debuts the Zephyr Express, a high speed detachable quad for the 2011-12 season and adds 54 new snowguns and a new groomer. A Progression Sessions program is new to the learning center specifically for intermediate or expert skiers or riders looking to enhance their skills or improve in a particular specialty area.
  • Holiday Valley, a four-season resort in Western New York State, has reinvested $5.3 million to expand and improve winter operations for the 2011-12 season.  Major projects included construction of the Sky High Mountain Coaster, a new quad chairlift, snowmaking upgrades and two new grooming machines.
  • Plattekill Mountain is opening the new “Snowkidding” Children Learning Center this season and has widened the Powderpuff Beginner Trail. You’ll find improved parking and an expanded base lodge deck along with new food service offerings featuring locally grown produce and meats.
  • Gore Mountain has acquired 160 new snowmaking guns and a new groomer for 2011-12. On the mountain you’ll find two new glades on Little Gore and a significant extension of the Chatterbox Glades. In the terrain parks there’s a new Skier/BoarderX course ,”Lower Sleighride” and the “Jibland,” for first-time and beginner freestylers.
  • Windham Mountain adds 2 new groomers, one of which is set up for terrain park maintenance. There are improvements over the entire snowmaking operation ready for action this winter. On the mountain a new trail, WinTuck, for expert skiers and riders will join two newly named trails to bring Windham Mountain’s total trail count to 49.

Upgrades and renovations have been made in the base lodge and the Club at Windham Mountain and a new Competition Center is on tap near the base lodge. Outside there will be added parking lot spaces and new Winwood shuttles with all Windham staff now in easily identifiable uniforms.

Massachusetts may seem to run a little under the radar, but they do get some very intense storms that sweep up the Atlantic coast and don’t make it much further inland then the Massachusetts borders of Vermont, New York or New Hampshire. People scream that Massachusetts is hogging all the snow, but really it’s easy driving to some very good skiing.

Here’s some of what you’ll find new for the 2011-2012 winter season around Massachusetts.

  • Bradford Ski Area, just outside of Haverhill and only minutes from Boston and the North Shore has put a new carpet lift in the learning area and added three stationary fan guns and three stationary stick guns. Night skiing gets a little brighter this season with new lighting in the terrain park as well as some new features.
  • Ski Butternut, Great Barrington, has completed a decade-long snowmaking infrastructure upgrade with this year’s new air and water pipes and topped it off with the addition of two groomers – one set up for terrain park maintenance. Interestingly, last season Ski Butternut’s snowmaking allowed the resort to stay 100% open into April.
  • Ski Ward in Shrewsbury added a 250′ carpet lift, a new fleet of rental skis and now has a bar serving beer and wine ready.
  • Wachusett Ski Area in Princeton will be completing a new beginner area chairlift for 2011-12 – the Monadnock East-Rider Express. This will make Wachusett the only ski area in Mass with three high speed quad chairlifts.
  • Otis Ridge will re-open its Bunny Slope and Otis Ridge has a new groomer all set for action.


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