Friday, December 28, 2012

5 Reasons to Ski Bretton Woods, New Hampshire

You can't beat the snow at Bretton Woods. The fireplaces at the Mount Washington Resort are a great way to end (or spend) the day..

From Everett Potter's blog. Everett is a great travel writer. You can read his blog here.  

5 Reasons to Ski Bretton Woods, New Hampshire: The Mount Washington Hotel, with Bretton Woods ski area in the background. By Everett Potter. 1. The Omni Mount Washington Resort. The sprawling grand dame from 1902 is surrounded by trees and meadows, with the ...

1. The  Omni Mount Washington Resort
The sprawling grand dame from 1902  is surrounded by trees and meadows, with the bulk of its namesake mountain rising behind it. This massive wooden structure with wide porches has a vast welcoming hallway festooned with antlers and comfortable chairs surrounding a roaring fire. There’s an elegant dining room as well as a great bar, the Cave, a Prohibition-era speakeasy. The Spa is a 25,000 square foot space with a great range of treatments. Surrounding the hotel are 100 kilometers of cross country trails. But my favorite amenity is the Dining Room at Bretton Arms, a separate building that’s a short stroll (even in winter) from the main hotel. It’s hands down the best fine dining in the Valley.Visit the Omni Mount Washington Resort.
Mount Washington, New Hampshire, as seen from Bretton Woods.
2.Mount Washington
Mount Washington, which looks like a series of icy domes glittering in the sun, lies directly across the road from Bretton Woods. The largest peak in the Northeast at 6,289 feet, its significance is two-fold. It is in large part responsible for the intense micro climate of the valley –  it held the record for the worlds highest wind speed, 232 miles per hour,until 2010. It may not be tall by Western standards, but it grabs every bit of moisture  blown out of nearby Canada and deposits it here.. But Mt Washington is more than the driver of a weather system. It’s totemic, and unqiue. It’s too rounded to be  Alpine, and it’s not like the Rockies or the Tetons. I prefer to think of it as the wild New England of Thoreau personified. By the way, you don’t actually ski Mount Washington unless you’re bold enough to attempt Tuckerman Ravine in the spring. Instead, you gaze at it all day long from Bretton Woods. That’s enough for most of us.
3. Snow
See above. Mount Washington not only snags passing clouds but seems to generate snowfall aplenty. Many’s the time I’ve skied here in a swirling snowstorm and left to find it bone dry 10 or 15 miles away. At a time when winters seem less reliable than ever, there’s a good bet that there will be snow on the trails at Bretton Woods this winter and for winters to come.
The Mount Stickney expansion at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire
4. The Mountain
Bretton Woods is New Hampshire’s largest ski mountain and I’ve always been impressed by the grooming, vast carpets of corduroy that are great for an early morning run. While these boulevards are fine, I like the almost hidden narrow trails that snake down the mountain, trails that only the locals really seek out, especially during busy holiday periods. Kids ski school is also a winner, well organized even on a busy weekend. The mountain is expanding this season, part of a $70 million dollar expansion plan. The new Mount Stickney area, which will have 30 acres of gladed skiing, is  a throwback to New England skiing as it was decades ago. The new T bar that serves it will also be a throwback, though anyone who skis Europe will recognize the efficiency of these retro lifts. To sweeten the deal, they’ve built a new log cabin at the top of the lift, giving you a fine place to warm up and an outdoor fireplace to huddle around when those winds blow off Mount Washington.

5. Family
Bretton Woods is one of the most family-focused ski resorts I’ve ever visited. I’ve experienced it firsthand, since visiting Bretton Woods has always been about staying with my brother and his family, who have spent every winter weekend here for more than a decade. There’s no nightlife here to speak of, unless you count cocktails at the Mount Washington Hotel followed by dinner. Instead, there’s a lot of condo and townshouse hopping between families. Everyone meets up throughout the day at the base lodge, which seems to function as an extension of their living rooms. The hotel is a bit different, and yes, there are plenty of vacationing couples. But even here, its families with kids who make up a large share of the guests. The emphasis on family gives Bretton Woods a laid back vibe – this is not a place for scenemakers —  and it  gets my vote for the best family ski experience in the Northeast.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

10 Books that Celebrate, Support, and Inspire Outdoor Families

From the AMC's Great Kids, Great Outdoors (blog). 

10 Books that Celebrate, Support, and Inspire Outdoor Families:
In the current din of parenting advice—from tiger moms and drinking mommies, hipster daddies and tool-belt fathers—parents looking for advice on raising outdoor children may not realize how much their corner of the parenting bookshelf has grown over the past decade. Books for outdoor parents now go beyond guidebooks to include manifestos; new research in psychology, neurology, and health; how-to guides for different stages in family life; and inspirational family narratives.

The 10 books listed here illustrate that expanding range. Some are classics from an earlier era; some are newly published; some will be familiar to regular readers of AMC Outdoors and the “Great Kids, Great Outdoors” blog. Together they add to our increasing understanding of the value of bringing up children who are self-reliant, comfortable in and knowledgeable about the natural world, and capable of becoming good stewards of that world.

The Little House books—fictional portrayals of her family’s life on the American frontier by Laura Ingalls Wilder—have given generations of young people their first intimate, visceral sense of the natural world. “They inspired me and many outdoor-oriented women I know,” said Appalachia editor Christine Woodside this past fall. “The themes alternate between courageously dealing with nature’s furies, respecting the patterns of wild animals even as they fear/hate them, and journeying on to unseen locales.” As she was telling me this, Woodside was experiencing nature’s furies herself in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, lighting candles “just as Ma Ingalls did during the long winter.” The first book in the series, Little House in the Big Woods (1932), is among the many outdoor stories that parents can share with their children, and which can inspire them both. 

Read about more outdoor children’s classics from Great Kids, Great Outdoors: “Island Reading: 6 seashore books for children,” “Junior Naturalist: Snowflakes,” “Of Neighbors and Three-Dog Nights,” “'North' and other picture books for a snowy day.”

Cultural Critiques and New Paradigms
In recent years, several critically acclaimed books have drawn on a growing body of research in how spending time outside—or not—affects the health and well-being of children and communities, as well as expressing a growing sense of unease over changing family lives, technology, and the environment.

Last Child in the Woods, the best known of these books, starts from the premise that “our children are the first generation to be raised without meaningful contact with the natural world.” Author Richard Louv makes a persuasive case for why that contact matters; the updated 2008 edition includes a “Field Guide,” offering numerous ways for families and communities to build stronger connections to nature.

Read “The Nurture of Nature” (AMC Outdoors) and “Do kids really need nature?” (Great Kids, Great Outdoors).

Five years ago, Lenore Skenazy wrote a newspaper column about letting her 9-year-old son take the New York City subway home from a department store, alone. She never expected that other parents would accuse her of child abuse or that she’d be vilified on national television as “the worst mom in the world.” In her subsequent book, Free-Range Kids, Skenazy uses facts, statistics, and humor to debunk such “worst-first” thinking—“taking the worst possible outcome and acting as if that’s likely to happen”—while highlighting the benefits of letting children roam. “You can tell the health of a community,” she argues, “by how many children are outside.”

Read “Room to Roam” (Great Kids, Great Outdoors).

Psychologist Wendy Mogel wrote The Blessings of a Skinned Knee after noticing that many of the affluent and well-educated parents she was seeing in her counseling practice “were looking in the wrong places to remedy their families’ distress.” Mogel uses Jewish teachings to help parents create opportunities for their children to develop self-reliance, independence, gratitude, and a sense of responsibility for the greater world. “In communities of abundance,” Mogel writes, “parents often try to fill their children’s lives with ‘stuff’—toys, tutors, therapists…. But ask any adult about his or her fondest childhood memories, and you’ll always hear the same things: time spent with family, especially in nature or having an adventure, the smell and taste of favorite foods, the personality and warmth of a beloved relative.”

Read “The Blessing of a Broken Arm?” (Great Kids, Great Outdoors)

There have long been guides for hiking with children, including several published by AMC. Recent books have upped the ante, going beyond hiking to other sports and guiding parents of infants and toddlers.

In Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids, Eugene Buchanan, a former editor of Paddling magazine, pitches his message to fellow adrenaline junkies, reassuring them that they can continue to ski the deeps, paddle whitewater, and ride single-track even after they have children. The book offers tips on gear and games to play with children in nine chapters, covering one sport per chapter, plus Buchanan’s adventures with his own children.

Read “Outdoor Parents, Outdoor Kids, the book” (Great Kids, Great Outdoors).

Jennifer Aist wrote Babes in the Woods: Hiking, Camping, and Boating with Babies and Toddlers to encourage parents to take even very young children on outdoor adventures. The easy-to-use guide covers clothing, child carriers and other gear. It also lists age-appropriate activities on hikes and in camp, provides clear recommendations for safety, and gives tips for perennial family-trip concerns, such as going to the bathroom and sleeping in the outdoors. Aist is the mother of four children and the director of parent education at Providence Children’s Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska.

Family Narratives
The most intimate voices on the outdoor parent bookshelf are those that tell the particular stories of individual families. The best of them make us think differently about our own family lives.

Up, Trish Ellis Herr’s story of hiking New Hampshire’s 4,000-foot peaks with her young daughter is a personal narrative of a mother learning to follow and guide her children’s passions that can also be used as a trail-tested resource for hiking families.

Read “Up: A Mother and Daughter’s Peakbagging Adventure” (Great Kids, Great Outdoors).

In Wild Play, environmental educator David Sobel reflects on ideas he’s devoted his career to—principles of children’s development in connection with nature, and strategies for developing those connections—in the light of his own experiences as a father. Wild Play describes childhood development using natural metaphors—meadows, forests, rocky ridges—and provides a strong example for the value of story-telling in building a lifelong connection between children and the natural world.

Read “Wild Play: Parenting Adventures in the Great Outdoors” (Great Kids, Great Outdoors).

Two-time National Book Award finalist Melissa Fay Greene has written about civil rights, AIDS, and Africa. No Biking in the House Without a Helmet is the story of her family—four children who came home from the hospital, and five who came home from the airport—a “Cheaper by the Dozen for a new planet.” Greene’s humorous, heart-breaking family story shows parents and kids taking risks of the best sort—both inside the house, as the title says, and outside. (Try the chapter on sandlot baseball or the one called “Squirrels We Have Known, Also Insects.”)

Michael Lanza, his wife, and their two children spent a year traveling to 11 of America’s national parks. Before They’re Gone weaves the story of their adventure around a meticulously researched and sometimes painful-to-read chronicle of how climate change will alter, in some cases beyond recognition, these beloved natural places. The book is a compelling and honest accounting of a parent’s hope that we can change the arc of that story, for our children and our children’s children. “The great challenge about dealing with climate change,” Lanza says, “is that it feels hopeless. But to be hopeless is to give up on a future.” In Before They’re Gone, Lanza embraces optimism, “for the sake of my children.”

Read “Before They're Gone” (Great Kids, Great Outdoors) and “Warmer in the Whites” (AMC Outdoors).

Learn More
AMC has recently launched a guidebook series, Outdoors with Kids, specifically for outdoor families. Outdoors with Kids guides for Boston and New York City were published earlier this year; a guide for Philadelphia is due next spring. You can join the accompanying online community at

Photo by Ryan Smith.

Great Kids, Great Outdoors is an Appalachian Mountain Club blog. This post was written by Kristen Laine.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Not-So-Secret Tips for a Happy Ski Vacation

With all of the early season snow in the Mount Washington Valley has received recently (2 feet in the last 72 hours!) these are some great great tips from Martha. Read her blog here.  

Think snow and get the kids out to play! Enjoy.
Not-So-Secret Tips for a Happy Ski Vacation
As any parent knows, expectations run high this time of year for young and old alike.  With so many tasks to juggle, I'm hoping this list of tips will help make your ski vacation be just that: a true vacation from the everyday, with time to truly cherish some family moments.

Following your holiday festivities with Santa next week, many of you will be joining me for a week filled with all things Winter Fun: skiing and riding, skating, snowshoeing, dogsledding, sleigh rides, tubing, and of course, a little hot chocolate at the end of the day.

Here are a few dos and don'ts as you head to the resort next week:

Make sure that you make reservations for all the great activities you'd like to take part in.  Ski school,  canopy tours, babysitting, sleigh or dogsled rides and many other activities fill up over vacation week, so be sure to call the activities desk ahead of time to make sure you don't miss out.  (And don't forget your Spa reservations; you deserve it after all you've done to get the gifts under the tree and the family to the mountain!)  Lift tickets, rentals, and ski school reservations can also be made online ahead of time, which will give you more time when you're at the mountain to be on the snow.

Show up for first tracks.  There are some days when it's nice to linger over your morning pancakes and coffee, but vacation week is the time to get an early start.  You'll get a better parking spot, avoid lines for rentals, lessons, the lifts, and enjoy some fresh corduroy, or even perhaps some untouched powder tucked away in the woods.

Make use of those friendly red-coated Ambassadors you see in the parking lots and along the entrance to the lodge.  Need some help carrying all that gear AND managing the kids? They'll be happy to help. Wondering where to go for lessons?  They'll head you in the right direction.  At your mid-morning break, search them out: they'll be handing out steaming cups of hot cider to warm you up.

Ski on trails that you can't see from the lifts.  There seems to be a draw for people to ski on Bigger Ben and Range View, perhaps because you can see all the great snow you'll find as you speed over those trails on your way up the lifts.  But if you're looking to find a trail that's a bit less populated, do a little exploring.  Just to skier's left of Bigger Ben, In Between is a "hidden gem" that winds over the terrain cut to take advantage of the contours of the mountain.  Crawford's Blaze will also take you away from the masses along an undulating ride through the forest.

Ride on lifts you can't see from the base lodge.  When the Bethlehem and Zephyr lifts get busy at high times, usually between 10:00 and 2:00, enjoy some of the terrain you can access from the Rosebrook or West Mountain lifts.  The lines at these lifts are usually much shorter, and again, you can explore new trails that are less frequented than those that you can see from the lifts.

Break early for lunch. The base lodge will get busy at high noon with hungry skiers and riders looking to fill up on hearty soups and sandwiches, so buck the system and head in closer to 11:00 for lunch - you'll be ready for some chow by then, since you arrived for first tracks!  Then, when everyone else piles in for lunch, you can be back out on the trails.  For an elevated lunch, try Latitude 44, at the top of the Bethlehem Express Quad, for a quick sit-down lunch and stunning views of the Presidentials.

Relax and have fun.  Remember to enjoy each other's company, whether you're sharing a lift ride or just waiting in line to pay for that chocolatey brownie you'll share as a reward for a few good runs.

Mount Washington Valley Children’s Museum’s New Partnership

The Mount Washington Valley Children's Museum is is a great way to spend some time with the kids over the holidays. Information on the Mount Washington Valley Children's Museum's new partnership with the McAuliffe-Shepherd Discovery Center is below.

MWV Children’s Museum’s New Partnership

Sunday, December 9, 2012

North Conway area ranked best value in the East by TripAdvisor's Ski TripIndex

Congrats to North Conway and Mount Washington Valley for taking top honors in the East!

Courtesy of AlpineZone.


NEWTON, Mass., Dec. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ — TripAdvisor , the world’s largest travel site, today announced its TripIndex Ski, a cost comparison of 25 popular ski destinations throughout the United States and Canada.

TripAdvisor TripIndex Ski highlights the combined average cost of common ski trip expenses including a one-night hotel stay, a single-day lift ticket, a basic ski equipment rental package, and a meal at a local restaurant consisting of a burger and fries and a bottle or draft of domestic beer.

North Conway, New Hampshire offers the best value of ski destinations in the Northeast with a TripIndex Ski cost of $247.

Read the full press release from TripAdvisor.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cranmore and Bretton Woods Team Up to Offer the Sun-N-Snow Season Pass

Great deals from Cranmore and Bretton Woods. Great value in the Valley to rival the Attitash / Wildcat pass. Think Snow..

Cranmore and Bretton Woods Team Up to Offer the Sun-N-Snow Season Pass

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Two New Hampshire family-friendly ski areas, Bretton Woods at the Omni Mount Washington Resort and Cranmore Mountain Resort, have teamed up to offer a new pass option this winter. The "Sun-N-Snow" Season Pass offers skiers and riders a great value, with the pass being valid mid-week non-holiday periods all winter long.
The pass costs just $499 when purchased by November 30th and is valid at both mountains, all lifts, Sunday-Friday with holiday blackout dates: 12/26/2012 – 1/1/2013 ; 1/19/2013 – 1/20/2013; 2/16/2013 – 2/23/2013. Passes can be purchased online or in person at either resort starting Sat., Sept. 1. Prices will increase as of Dec. 1.
Both mountains are located within 30 miles of each other in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. 

Cranmore, with 57 trails and glades, is located in the heart of North Conway Village, NH. Bretton Woods, with 102 trails and glades, is located on Route 302 north of Crawford Notch in the shadow of Mount Washington, the tallest peak in the East. Together they offer snowsports fans coming to Mount Washington Valley and northern New Hampshire the best variety of terrain available on a single season pass.
"We are really pleased to offer great variety and value in a Sunday through Friday pass by teaming up with our friends above the Notch, Bretton Woods," stated Cranmore General Manager and President, Ben Wilcox.
"We feel the new Sun n' Snow pass represents the best ski experience the White Mountains has to offer with the greatest value. Midweek means no lift lines, first tracks on a powder day, and long lunches on a sunny deck." stated Bretton Woods Director of Ski Operations, Chris Ellms.

Both resorts are reporting significant investment in new trails, lifts and snowmaking for the coming winter. Cranmore is replacing its East Double Chair with a triple chairlift. This chairlift will increase the uphill lift capacity and add 300 feet of vertical to the southern slopes of the resort. This new lift represents a $1 mil. investment.
60 new snow guns are being added to Cranmore's arsenal, furthering the resort's dedication to the best in snowmaking and grooming, key attributes in low snow years such as the past winter. Cranmore is now up to 300 high efficiency snow guns which will increase snowmaking power while also reducing energy consumption.

The Soaring Eagle Zipline, installed in summer 2012, will also operate all winter long joining Cranmore's popular tubing park, mountain coaster and giant swing rides and attractions.
Bretton Woods announced the addition of lift service to the Mount Stickney area. The resort will welcome adventurers and families with a step back to a traditional New England skiing experience. The Mount Stickney expansion, whose last addition included 30 acres of gladed tree skiing, continues with the addition of a T-Bar surface lift and warming cabin.

The new 2,000-foot Doppelmayr T-Bar will serve the Mount Stickney Glades. The gladed terrain is being expanded and enhanced to open up the steep drop offs and cliff area. For the less adventurous, many of the glades are being fashioned so they will be skiable even in lean snow years and cater to all abilities and age groups. Bretton Woods has also invested in 50 new low energy tower guns for one of their core trails, Range View. This upgrade to the current snowmaking system will help to facilitate opening more terrain early in the season.

For more information on Cranmore Mountain, call 1-800-SUN-N-SKI or visit For more information on Bretton Woods, call 1-800-314-1752 or visit

Monday, December 3, 2012

Preserving a Winter Tradition: Skating in North Conway's Schouler Park

The holidays are a great time to get the family together and get outside. As we count down the days to Christmas we are looking forward ice skating in North Conway's Schouler Park.  The article below highlights some of the improvements to the rink. Until then, let it snow..

Via Conway Daily Sun

Preserving a winter tradition

Revamped North Conway Rink to be dedicated Saturday

By Tom Eastman
There's new look to the old rink in North Conway's Schouler Park.
Through a consortium comprised of local businesses, the North Conway Water Precinct, the North Conway Outing Club, the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Conway, the rink is being re-dedicated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony set for 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, followed by a tree-lighting ceremony at 5 p.m. 
11-24-schouler-park-skatingFollowing a tragic accident last year that claimed the life of a local woman, the town, the precinct, the chamber and outing club came together with a new plan for the governance of the rink.
As attendees will see come Saturday, the result is a newly remodeled warming hut. New 10-inch, 2-by-10-inch pressure-treated, low wood boards will be installed by next week to replace the old chest-high hockey rink boards.
The boards will be attached to rebar.
Donations have been raised by the community through the Community Celebrations group formed by the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the town, water precinct and local businesses to promote local holiday celebrations.
"Everyone pitched in,” said town manager Earl Sires, who said that the town Parks and Recreation Department will staff the rink this upcoming season.
The North Conway Water Precinct annually makes a budget article contribution, which this past year was $6,750.
The rest of the maintenance cost has been matched by local businesses, bringing the budget to $12,000.
“No taxpayer money other than the precinct voter contributions will be involved this year,” said Sires Tuesday.
Under the arrangement, the town will provide liability insurance and supervision of the rink during operating hours.
No ice hockey will be allowed on the rink — it will be for figure skating only. Hours for the December to March season will be 2 to 8 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and every day Dec. 23 through Jan. 1, Jan. 21, and Feb. 18 through 28; and Sundays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Those hours could be extended, should fund-raising efforts allow, noted Conway Parks and Recreation director John Eastman.
“Janice Crawford [of the Mount Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce's Community Celebrations] is continuing to seek business and community donations,” said Eastman during a tour of the new warming hut and skating area this week.
Eastman noted he was happy to see the improvements and to see how the community has responded.
As he spoke, rec department staffers Lee Champagne and Chris Rouleau were busy putting the finishing touches on the warming shack, which has been painted to match the colors of the Conway Scenic Railroad's 1874-built North Conway Train Station.
“Russ Seybold [of the CSRR] nicely gave us the paint code so we were able to get the warming hut colors to match,” said Eastman.
The windows in the warming hut were replaced with five larger recycled windows that were taken from the town transfer station.
“Now, people will be able to sit inside the warming hut and look out the windows to the kids skating on the rink,” said Eastman.
The door will now feature a carpeted ramp leading from the hut to the ice surface. The inside flooring of the hut has also been covered with a matting. Benches are being installed, and the propane heater has also been upgraded.
Lighting has been upgraded on both ends of the hut, which features an equipment/maintenance room.
As he spoke, Champagne and Lee erected the new sign that has been created by Gemini Designs of Conway.
Names shown on the metal sign include: the North Conway Water Precinct, the Town of Conway, the North Conway Outing Club, the Home Depot, Bryant Wrecker Service, J&J Flooring, D.W. Eletrical Contractors, the Colonial Motel, Ragged Mountain Equipment, Mount Washington Valley Ski Touring and Snowshoe Association, Leone, McDonnell and Roberts; the Valley Originals, Zeb's General Store, Cranmore Mountain Resort, the Mount Washington Radio Group and Gemini Sign and Design.
The rink will be situated on the softball diamond, with the raised pitcher's mound removed for the winter.
“We've placed the rink in a position so it will be best served by four of the ballfield lights,” said Eastman, noting that the department is currently working on upgrades to the sound system for music to be played for skaters. “The new sign will also be well visible from Main Street.”
Eastman saluted the efforts of John Cannell of the North Conway Outing Club and the commissioners of the North Conway Water Precinct (chair Robert Porter and fellow commissioners Jim Umberger and John Santuccio).
“The North Conway Outing Club and the North Conway Water Precinct have been instrumental in keeping the rink alive,” said Eastman, a Conway native and athlete who played many a hockey game in his youth at the old Schouler Park rink.
Although hockey will now be a thing of the past in the park, Eastman said he thinks that the public will respond well to the upgrades.
“The rink is such a focal point for the village. It's part of the local tradition of a small New England village,” he said.
Although hockey is no longer allowed in Schouler Park, players of all ages may play at the indoor Ham Arena, built by the community in 1998 off West Main Street in Conway. The Ham also offers indoor figure skating and programs offered by the MWV Skating Club.
Eastman's comments were echoed by Cathy Hunter of the Village Barbershop of North Conway.
“I learned how to skate on that rink when I was 3 years old,” said Hunter, while giving a haircut at the local landmark establishment this week. “That rink is part of our local heritage.”
She has received donations form her patrons, just for the rink. “We raised $500 in the past month and we're going to keep it going,” said Hunter. “The rink is something that locals and visitors alike can enjoy.”

Friday, November 30, 2012

Cut Your Own Christmas Tree in White Mountain National Forest

Tis the Season.. the air has a bite to it and it is almost time to start thinking about Christmas..

If you are looking for a great experience in selecting a tree,  why not cut your own?

The article reminded me of National Lampoon's Christmas when Clark hauls the family out to the woods to get a tree...  Just don't forget the saw!


Ready to get a Christmas tree? The national forests are full of them—and you're invited to hike in and cut your own.

Tree-cutting permits cost just $5; in the Northeast, they are available for the White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and the Green Mountain National Forest in Vermont. In addition to cash or a check, you will need a handsaw or ax, warm clothes and other essentials for a winter hike, and a family patient enough to spend some time looking for the right tree and then working together to bring it out. (You have to select a tree that's at least 100 feet from a state highway, and not in or near a campground, picnic area, Wilderness, or other off-limits area.)

You can buy tree-cutting permits at White Mountain National Forest offices in Gorham, Conway, Campton, and Lincoln, New Hampshire; and at Green Mountain National Forest offices in Rutland, Middlebury, Manchester, and Rochester, Vermont. Before driving to the region to cut a tree, make sure the nearest office will be open.

Once in the woods, you may want to look for fragrant balsam firs, which retain their needles well, or spruce, with their full branches and classic shape. Or maybe a tiny, somewhat misshapen "Charlie Brown" tree will tug at your family's heart. In any case, you will be building outdoor memories to last a lifetime.

Learn More
Not sure how to distinguish between a fir and a spruce? Read some tips from AMC.

Photo by Christian Schwier -

Great Kids, Great Outdoors is an Appalachian Mountain Club blog, written by Heather Stephenson.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cranmore Mountain Named Among Best in the East for Family Programs and More by Ski Magazine

Our family had a great time at Cranmore last winter. This article from AlpineZone highlights why Ski Magazine names it one of the Best in the East. Think Snow!


via » News by AlpineZone News on 10/24/12

NORTH CONWAY, NH — Ski Magazine has published its 2013 Resort Guide, naming Cranmore Mountain in four categories for Best in the East. The historic North Conway, NH based ski area ranked #2 for Family Programs; #3 for Off Hill Activities; #7 for Apres Ski; and # 10 for Terrain Parks.

When measured against other New Hampshire ski resorts, Cranmore came in at #1 in Family Programs, Apres Ski and Off Hill Activities and #3 for Terrain Parks.
"We're excited to find ourselves regarded so highly by readers of Ski Magazine," stated Cranmore GM and President, Ben Wilcox. "With $8.3 million invested in the resort since 2010, Cranmore has focused on its kids snowsports programs and our Mountain Adventure Park activities like the Mountain Coaster. So it's not surprising that we are now being recognized in those areas. We thank Ski Magazine and its readers for this honor."

Last year, Cranmore launched KidsRule Mountain Camps, their exclusive children's day-long snowsports lessons. The Camps focus on safety, communication, fun and learning for children who want to ski or snowboard. Cranmore also recently built a dedicated learning center and developed gentle beginner terrain with its own lift.

This summer, Cranmore added to its Mountain Adventure Park, home to their "off hill" activities, with the addition of the Soaring Eagle Zipline. The Zipline opened in July and will also operate during the ski season. It joins the popular snow tubing park, mountain coaster, giant swing and indoor adventure center, all of which offer winter-time family fun, whether after a day of skiing or for those who aren't yet into snowsports.

The apres ski scene at Cranmore is unique and family focused, with weekly Cranapalooza apres ski festivals hosted by their penguin mascot, C-more. Every week, families can sprawl out in the base lodge and watch family entertainment, including magicians, clowns and live animal shows, after making s'mores around an outdoor fire pit. The apres scene wraps up with a family movie and on select weekends, early fireworks at 6:30pm. The goal? Keep the kids entertained while the parents enjoy an adult beverage or two, before heading back to the hotel or condo with a happily-exhausted family.

New this winter, Cranmore will unveil 5 new terrain parks for this winter, newly focused on families and beginners who want to get started on park elements and features. A skier/rider course is in the works as part of the new Double Feature terrain park.
Cranmore Mountain is located in the heart of North Conway Village in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, only 2.5 hours from the Boston area. Cranmore has undergone over $8.3 million in renovations since 2010 with new lifts, trails, children's center, zip line, mountain coaster, enhanced snow making capabilities and more. For more information on Cranmore Mountain and the latest news of special events, visit or call 1-800-SUN-N-SKI.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ski Bretton Woods for $12 on 12/12/12

Great deal for some early season skiing at Bretton Woods. Courtesy of the ski guru blog.

Ski Bretton Woods for $12 on 12/12/12

Bretton Woods, which already had a nice layer of snow on the mountain this past weekend, plans to open by Thanksgiving weekend, but in one month, the New Hampshire resort is celebrating the grand opening of its new Telegraph...

File:Bretton Woods Resort.jpg

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Wildcat and Attitash Mountain Prepare to Open

Wildcat and Attitash make a great tag team.. Looking forward to colder temps and more snow! 

Wildcat Mountain

Benefiting from its higher elevations, Wildcat Mountain began its initial snowmaking operations Tuesday evening and has continued to do so with the desire to open as soon as possible. If weather and conditions remain favorable, Wildcat Mountain may try to open as early as Thanksgiving Day. If not then, weather and conditions permitting, Wildcat Mountain is hoping to open the Friday or Saturday of the Thanksgiving Weekend. Operation times and/or ticket rates have not been set at this time, and we encourage you to visit for up-to-date information as Thanksgiving approaches. The guest service desk and season pass office in the base lodge will be open Friday, November 23 & Saturday, November 24 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. if people wish to pick up their season pass or purchase gift cards and other available seasonal products. In addition to opening, Wildcat Mountain will be hosting an event that had originally been scheduled for Attitash.
Cans or Cash @ The Cat | Saturday, November 4 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. – Snow/weather permitting, Wildcat Mountain will host a jib session with a rail and box set up at the base of Wildcat. Skiers/riders are asked to provide three canned goods or make a $3 donation that will go to a local food pantry. The ticket for the hike jib session will be separate from the ticket for lift-accessed terrain if Wildcat is open at that time. Visit for more details as they come together and as we know better what the conditions may be like.

Attitash Mountain Resort

Attitash Mountain Resort is prepared to begin its snowmaking efforts when conditions become more favorable for a productive and long-term push. It will not be offering lift-serviced skiing or riding for the Thanksgiving Weekend, but the Nor'Easter Mountain Coaster will be open Friday & Saturday, November 23 & 24 from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. weather permitting. For those days, Attitash & Wildcat invite all of its season passholders to enjoy one free ride on the Mountain Coaster when they show their season pass at the Attitash ticket window. Attitash also plans to have its Season Pass office open in the main base lodge from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. if people wish to pick up their season pass or purchase gift cards and other available seasonal products. Visit for more information.

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