A guide to northern New Hampshire ski mountains
There is no shortage of amazing mountain and backcountry skiing in the Mount Washington Valley area of New Hampshire. Despite the recent -108 degree weather at the Mount Washington summit in early February 2023, the surrounding towns nestled at the base of the mountain see great snow and moderate winter temperatures for skiing. With a choice of 28 mountains to ski in New Hampshire, we’ve gathered a list of the best of the north country.
Wildcat is nestled in the White Mountain National Forest’s Pinkham Notch in the town of Gorham. It’s 2100 vertical feet gifts skiers with sprawling, picturesque views of Mount Washington and consistent, fresh snow. Wildcat has a great old-school ski mountain vibe with a healthy mix of groomed and natural terrain that suits all abilities. Getting a lot of skiing in isn’t a problem at this mountain — Polecat trail is New Hampshire’s longest ski run and Wildcat’s high-speed quad is one of the fastest chair lifts in New England! Wildcat is also well known for opening early season and closing late season, so there will be plenty of time for you to hit the slopes in the fall, and lose those layers from some springtime fun in the sun.
A quick 2-hour ride from Boston in Lincoln, NH, Loon Mountain is a large, family-friendly spot — a frequent choice for weekend warriors from Massachusetts. Boasting 370 open acres, it attracts skiers and snowboards alike to cruise along its 3 peaks, 60+ trails and 4 parks navigated by 10 lifts. Almost all of the mountain is groomed and hard packed, and all abilities can find terrain that suits their level and style. After a long day on the slopes, you can relax in one of their 8 dining and après venues, including the Summit Cafe at the top of the main mountain peak where you can take in the beautiful views of Lincoln and Mt. Moosilauke!
Attitash Mountain, located in Bartlett, NH in the White Mountain National Forest, is a unique combination of new and old. The mountain boasts terrain for all levels — the traditional, challenging New England-style skiing mixed with modern, open cruisers. In the mid-90s, Attitash added Bear Peak to its repertoire, with a high-speed quad to continue its history of red carpet customer services via short lift lines. Bear Peak brought new glades and with it, great alpine racing terrain.
Black Mountain is a small, local mountain tucked into the quaint hillsides of beautiful Jackson, NH. Opening in 1935, Black is a classic New England skiing and riding mountain with a rich history. Black had the first overhead cable lift in the country and one of the earliest snowmaking systems in New England. The Shovel Handle, a refurbished barn from 1842, still sits at the base of the mountain warming mountain-goers after a long day. On a Friday night, you can find dozens of backcountry skiers donning headlamps and skinning up the mountain to get some night skiing in.
Cranmore, just one mile from the popular downtown of North Conway NH, is known for its festive and fun atmosphere, with programs including a comprehensive kids ski school, night skiing, and seasonal community events. With 8 lifts and 170 acres, Cranmore is a family-friendly mountain for all ages and all abilities. However, Cranmore isn’t just for skiers — its tubing center has been voted the #1 in New Hampshire, and its Mountain Adventure park provides thrills all year long.
Situated across from the iconic Omni Mount Washington Resort, Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski area with close to 100 trails and 464 skiable acres. 10 lifts, including an 8-passenger gondola and 4 high-speed quads will whisk you up to the summit at 3100 feet. The mountain offers alpine, nordic and uphill skiing, as well as terrain parks and guided ski tours. With many apres-ski options to choose from and live entertainment, there is no lack of things to do at this sprawling ski mountain!
The first thing you take in when arriving to Cannon is the breathtaking views in Franconia Notch, once home to the Old Man in the Mountain. Cannon itself is home to the first passenger tramway in North America. The refurbished version still runs today as a way for skiers to reach the summit. On the slopes, Cannon has close to 100 trails, most of which adhere to the classic New England — winding, narrow and tree-lined. Though there are not many commercial amenities on the mountain, a few local bars and restaurants are filled with the skiers who brave the sometimes challenging winter weather the mountain sees with its northern facing peaks.
Whether you’re pole-planting through moguls, catching air in the park, or cruising down the state’s longest run, we hope you enjoy all The Valley has to offer!