Trip Report: New Hampshire's Gunstock Takes Relaxed, Family-Friendly Approach To Winter
“We are in the business of making people smile,” Gunstock Mountain Resort’s Bill Quigley told SnoCountry.com. Quigley says people who aren’t skiers and riders miss out on an amazing element of living in the Northeast: the ability to love being outside in the winter, whether they ski, ride, bike, snowshoe or tube on the snow.
“Our unique spot overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee offers stunning views for those willing to come out and enjoy the fun of winter,” he adds.
Although the die-hard skier might subscribe to the rule that the best parking spots, fresh powder and pristine corduroy are the rewards for early risers who can make it for first tracks, Gunstock takes a more relaxed and family-friendly approach to getting on the hill.
“We know families with young kids and teens have a lot of logistics to manage, and at Gunstock there’s no pressure to get here early.” Gunstock is open until 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday night and 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, giving the family ample time on the slopes. Many of the families who live in New Hampshire’s Lakes Region take advantage of the safe and low-pressure feeling at the resort.
“We may be the cheapest babysitting service in the county,” laughed Quigley, referring to the many parents who drop off their teens to play under the lights while mom and dad enjoy a quiet dinner on their own at one of the many nearby restaurants. Gunstock claims to have the most night skiing terrain available in New Hamsphire, with 21 lit trails and five lifts.
They’ve also got the largest night terrain park in the state, with 12 acres of features. As we soared over Blundersmoke Park on the Pistol Lift, I watched in awe as kids launched themselves high in the air and landed with finesse onto the corduroy below.
The main base lodge, built with lumber cut and milled in the area and with granite quarried from Cobble Mountain in the 1930s by the Works Progress Administration, offers a quintessential New England lodge feel, painstakingly maintained, right down to refinishing the wood floors every spring. A free and friendly bag check in the Stone Cellar keeps tables in the food court clear for dining, and a roaring fire in the fieldstone fireplace makes for a welcoming spot to warm up after a few runs.
Gunstock will host the B.Y.O.D.C. Pond Cross on its last day of the season, Sunday, April 5. “Bring your own dry clothes” for this event. Gunstock’s take on the mountain rite of spring includes live music, giveaways, an outside barbeque, drink specials giveaways, and raffle prizes. Entry fee for the Pond Cross is $10.00.
Photos: Top -- Gunstock’s Blundersmoke Park offers twelve acres of features. (Gunstock/Flickr); Bottom: Sweeping views of Lake Winnipesauke reward Gunstock skiers and riders. (Gunstock/Flickr)