Posted by: Jack Spratt | February 26, 2010

Quick Trip Through My New England Ski Resorts

Watching the skiing at the Vancouver Winter Olympics for the last two weeks has my mind wandering back to my early days of skiing in New England.

I was introduced to skiing at Pat’s Peak in New Hampshire by a friend. It was my first winter in New England and he decided I should be introduced to the sport and he would teach me – bad move.

I can’t remember what grade slope he took me on to learn – but it was long and steep, and I came down it mostly in a horizontal position. I figured it took me over an hour to come down. He took me up again and on my second run I was determined to get down quicker.

I did – it was probably less than a minute. I just pointed the skis straight down and let it rip. Totally “out of control” and a hazard to everybody else on the slope nonetheless I beat him down. I had no time for the slow turns where I kept falling down on the first run.

He then introduced me to the second activity when going skiing – “the lodge.”

I felt I could get used to “the lodge” experience. A warm fire and drink and food on a cold snowy day seemed like a better place to be than on a steep slope wearing heavy stiff unforgiving boots attached to long planks of fiberglass.

My Pat’s Peak experience luckily didn’t “scar me for life” and a few years’ later I took lessons at Wachusett Mountain in Princeton, Massachusetts and had a much better experience. Wachusett is probably Massachusetts largest ski area and has a thriving night time skiing program.

Wachusett Mountain caters well for beginners and intermediate skiers and it’s as good as many of the facilities in Vermont and New Hampshire. I’ve even tried cross country skiing there as well.

Subsequent years saw my skiing trips extend beyond Massachusetts as I took in Killington in Vermont, and Bretton Woods and Attitash in New Hampshire. I found the winter scenery of these resorts breathtaking and it became as much a thrill to stop and admire the mountains and surrounding valleys as actually do the run. Bretton Woods in the Mount Washington Valley area particularly became a favorite as it had plenty of easy slopes, great atmosphere, and a wonderful lodge with a central roaring fire.

Over the years as I had kids and took them skiing as well we visited a whole bunch more of New England ski resorts, including: Stowe, Vermont, Cranmore in North Conway, Wildcat in Pinkham Notch, and Loon and Gunstock in New Hampshire.

I’ve probably missed mentioning a few ski areas I’ve visited and we seem to have lost plenty of ski resorts in New England since I started skiing here. Winter in New England can be tough and long and I’ve found that getting out on the slopes helps me get through the worst of the weather, and enjoy our beautiful views and mountain air.

As I finish writing this post it’s time to watch how the U.S. team is doing on speed skating and bobsleigh – two sports that somehow make the strange apparatus we use for skiing seem “normal”… and even sane.

Enjoy what remains of the Winter Olympics and the New England Winter.

Jack Spratt

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