New Hampshire’s Cranmore is celebrating the snowy start to winter by offering skiers and boarders what it calls “Snow Strudels” – homemade baked Austrian pastry dusted in powdered sugar and wrapped around bits of apple – if it snows six inches or more during the previous 24 hours.
Bring on a snowy 2019! If your resolution is to ski/ride more, you’re in the right place - read on for the snow jackpots in our forecast.
As baby boomers were building families in the 1970s and 1980s, ski resorts were putting steel and concrete in the ground, expanding both lifts and terrain. The skiers and riders of today are benefiting from those infrastructure improvements. Lifts are faster, ticket-checking is RFID-enabled to speed up lines, and snowmaking and grooming have never been better or more energy-efficient.
Now the focus is on affordability and on-hill experiences.
Sunny spring tele turns at Cranmore. (Cranmore/Facebook)
Nothing like a consecutive string of nor'easters to put a smile on the faces of Northeast skiers and riders. Due to above average snowfall this season, resorts across the region have announced extended ski seasons.
Family time at Cranmore. (Cranmore)
As Cranmore celebrates its 80th anniversary in the historic ski town of North Conway, New Hampshire, skiers and riders can also enjoy the perks of the present day, including everything from new onsite lodging to a vibrant economy that embraces skiing as the state’s official sport.
The liftee needs a place to live, too. (Vail Careers/Facebook)
So you want to be a ski bum? Get a job at a resort, find a place to live, and get a pass for free. All sounds cool -- except for the “cost of living” thing.
Guided family hikes take in Presidential Range views at Bretton Woods. (Bretton Woods)
New Hampshire’s mountainous playgrounds plan to celebrate with family-friendly events across the state Labor Day weekend.
Cooling off at Bromley. (Bromley/Facebook)
Pisten Bully representative Josh Nelson hands over keys to Cranmore's Ben Wilcox, Tyler Fairbank, Brian Fairbank, Rick Oaks, Glen Harmon and John Mersereau. (Cranmore/Facebook)
At a belated ceremony at New Hampshire’s Cranmore Mountain Resort, PistenBully New England Regional Sales Representative, Josh Nelson, handed over the keys to the first 600E+ in the East.
Thanks to a mix of natural and man-made snow, Sunday opens Nov. 23. (Sunday River)
A mild fall kept many Northeast skiers and riders fearing we might face another winter like last year, but the temps have dropped, snow has arrived and opening days are happening across the region.
A 2.3kW solar installation at Aspen Highlands ski patrol headquarters. (Aspen Skiing Company)
During the past couple of decades, a majority American ski and snowboard resorts have come to embrace that climate change is a reality – and a threat to their futures.
Evidence of resorts engaging the principles and practices that reduce fossil fuel use and carbon footprint can be found at many venues and in many ways. Low-energy snowmaking is spreading, as is on-mountain recycling, car pooling priority parking and biofuel use.
Here’s SnoCountry’s sampling of some of the green projects at U.S. resorts:
Sugarloaf. The northern Maine resort has gone all in to reduce its footprint, including revegetation to reduce erosion and composting at area restaurants that produces “black gold” soil used on the Sugarloaf Golf Course.
Cranmore. New Hampshire resort added its first electric/diesel groomer snowcat to supplement a fleet that has been burning biodiesel for a decade. New condo project will heat and cool with efficient electric pump systems.
Crystal Mountain. The Michigan resort got recognition for carbon-reducing LED lighting in parking lots, and its high-speed Crystal Clipper chair that runs solely on wind power credits.
Stevens Pass. All the lift cables at the Washington mountain are lubricated by non-petroleum castor oil, and management actively seeks out “green” vendors for its food and beverage services. Snowmobiles burn low-sulfur diesel, and operate as much as possible during off-hours.
Squaw Valley. Can’t buy bottled water at the California resort; instead, you can fill up water bottles at refill stations for free.
Aspen-Snowmass. The Colorado resort complex chose a political route in addition to e-efforts. Partnering with Protect Our Winters, all employees wear the organization’s patch, and resort officials lobby hard for local, regional and national climate change awareness and action.
The National Ski Areas Association lists 200 U.S. resorts that have signed on to its Sustainable Slopes program – and more than a dozen have received money for “green” projects through the program.
Tahoe’s Freakers Ball will have DJs, gogo dancers, laser lights, plus $10,000 in cash and prizes costume contest. (MontBleu Resort Casino Spa/Facebook)
While the snow starts to fall on the high ground – and the snow guns get fired up – there’s still a couple of non-winter celebrations to enjoy at mountain resorts, including favorite Halloween.
A number of resorts across the nation put up the haunted houses, game booths and scary rides in October to get the nerves on edge for the big night, Oct. 30.
Here’s SnoCountry’s list of a few hair-raising, scream-filled events at ski and snowboard resorts:
Lake Tahoe. The 38th annual Freaker's Ball, Lake Tahoe’s largest, oldest and most extravagant Halloween party, brings the wild with a four-ring costume circus under one room on Saturday, Oct. 29, at MontBleu Resort Casino and Spa.
Nashoba Valley. The popular Witch’s Woods is open Thursdays through Sundays through Halloween at the eastern Massachusetts mountain. Admission ticket gets a ride on Haunted Hayride, entry into three haunted houses, and unlimited time in the Jack O’Lantern Jamboree and Horrorwood Chamber of Chills.
Cranmore. The Ghoullog has been going on in the Artist Falls Lodge for 10 years. Four “haunts” challenge with “chases through dark woods,” plus nighttime rides on a swing, zipline and Mountain Coaster. Runs weekend evenings through Nov. 5.
Bretton Woods. On Halloween weekend, the northern New Hampshire resort opens its Wicked Woods center for Halloween activities. Scheduled are costume parties for both young and old, game booths and annual Trunk or Treat Family Celebration.
Mammoth. Bring scooters, skateboards, roller blades or roller skates for an evening on Oct. 28 at Mammoth RecZone in Mammoth Lakes. Plenty of carnival games to play while circling the rink.
Copper Mountain. The Colorado resort combines Halloween scary fun with a fundraiser for a local infant with a brain tumor. Entrance fees donated to family – plus cover candy, games and freaky fun.
Park City is a popular Utah destination with a huge range of vacation properties.
You’ve fallen in love with the skiing and riding lifestyle, so is now the time to invest in a mountain home to call your own?
Prices have continued to climb since the 2008 recession’s precipitous drop, but since most mountain vacation properties have not reached 2006-07 peak prices, good values can still be had.
Eastern Inventory Driving Price
Buyers wanting to get into a vacation home for the ski season should get prequalified if going for a second home mortgage, advises Michelle Penner, managing broker of Peabody and Smith’s Bretton Woods office in New Hampshire.
Bretton Woods’ inventory is limited and prices have been climbing, although not yet back to peak levels. There are good values with condominiums and homes ranging from $225,000 to $950,000, Penner told SnoCountry.com.
Crawford said condo prices are starting to increase but there are still very good values. Prices for two-bedroom condos range from $70,000 to $200,000 depending on location, amenities, and the homeowners association. Three- and four-bedroom units range from $100,000 to $715,000.
At neighboring Pico, slopeside condos range from under $50,000 for a one-bedroom/one-bath unit to $109,000 for a two-bedroom unit. (A Killington season pass includes skiing at Pico.)
Western Properties, Pricy and Affordable
At famous western destinations like Aspen, Jackson Hole, Vail and Park City, prices have gone up faster and properties costing millions are common at the resorts while nearby towns offer more affordable options.
Park City is a popular destination with people from Salt Lake City and nationwide, investing in vacation properties because it’s convenient — half hour from the airport — and within an hour’s drive of 11 resorts and minutes to three, Realtor Quinn Eichner of Summit Sothebys International Realty told us.
Prices have seen a “good recovery” and depend on the property size, age, amenities and neighborhood, with some at or near 2007’s peak prices, Eichner said.
Slopeside at the Canyons, prices start in the $700s for a condo hotel unit while estate-sized residences go for $5-$18 million. Smaller (600 sq.ft.), older units can be found in the $200s and hotel rooms in the low $100s as well as fractional ownership units starting at $110,000.
More affordable pricing can be found in Midway, a Swiss-themed mountain town 20 minutes away where condos range from $199,000 (two bedroom/two bath) to $300,000 for large units.
Other more affordable towns include Sandy with a median home price of $249,998 and Huntsville at $169,950.
Getting in on ‘Ground Floor’
Pre-sales are common for new projects, and when a property turns out to be very popular, owners can do well with re-sales as well as rentals.
Brett Newton, real estate sales manager for New Hampshire’s Kearsarge Brook at Cranmore, reports the new base-area condo village breaks ground Sept. 27 with a first phase of 18 upscale units ($395,000 to $599,000). There’s a good selection available for fall 2017 occupancy.
Refundable deposits of $1,200 for Century Club reservations are being taken for those interested in condos in the soon-to-be renovated Hampshire and Dix Houses at the historic New Hampshire Balsams Resort. Single hotel room and suite 100-day fractional ownerships will sell for $100,000 to $280,000 and include a 10-year season ski pass and golf.
Hit high speeds on alpine coaster at base of Snowbird (Snowbird/Facebook)
Since the mid-1990s, summertime alpine coasters have sprung at winter resorts all over the country. The wind-in-your-face speeds, high-speed turns and mountain vistas mimic the sights and sounds what skiers and snowboarders feel during the snowy times.
Cranmore Resort has announced plans for a $50 million condominium and base area redevelopment that will provide ski–in, ski–out ownership at the base of Cranmore and in the heart of North Conway, one of America’s most dynamic ski towns.
As we celebrate the long-awaited return of winter in New Hampshire, the flakes are falling on more than just the ski slopes. For the full mountain resort experience, savor a jaunt through the woods on a traditional horse drawn sleigh ride, get your adrenaline rush on a zipline, or control your own speed on a mountain coaster.
It's a challenge being a snow reporter staffing the desks at New England's Bromley, Cranmore, and Jiminy Peak resorts. When winter storms pound New England, at 6:30 a.m. there are just so many ways to say, "corduroy," "powder" and that other snow report staple, "stoked."
Today’s ski and snowboarding instructors range in age from 14 to 83 and don’t necessarily have to be black diamond level skiers. The Fairbank Group resorts – Jiminy Peak in western Massachusetts, Bromley in the Green Mountains of Vermont, and Cranmore Mountain Resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire – announced plans to fill 250 ski and snowboard instructor positions by the start of the ski season in late November.
As the kids make their way back to school, resorts in the White Mountains of New Hampshire are making preparations for the upcoming foliage season. Leaf peepers and thrill seekers still have plenty of time to enjoy the mountains as we wait for the snow to fly.
After a day of hiking the high peaks or kayaking a mountain river, a well-earned beverage is in order. Across the Northeast this summer you can find local ales worthy of a pilgrimage all of their own. Can you say road trip?