Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year's Eve at Cranmore Mountain

New Year's Eve will be a celebration at Cranmore once again. We're hosting a special early New Year's party with fireworks going off at 7:30 and tons of other fun stuff leading up to it. Many activities are free and open to the public; others can be had for special package pricing, be it skiing, snow tubing or the new indoor Fun Zone. The list below indicates pricing, time and location of each activity.
The schedule: Thurs. Dec. 31

2:00pm Grab a hug or photo with C-More, Cranmore's beloved penguin mascot, as he makes his rounds at the resort - FREE

3:00pm Face painting in the Penguin Den - FREE

3:30pm Cook S'mores with C-More next to the Ticket Haus in Schneider Square - $3 per s'mores kit

3:00-4:00pm Children's entertainment at the Eating House with Marcus Gale - FREE

4:30-7:30pm Live music at the Eating House with Dennis and Davey "Four Feet Two Shoes" - FREE

7:30pm Fireworks on South Slope! - FREE

2-8pm Night Skiing - $29 all ages

9am - 9pm Snowtubing - $22 for 2 hours, all ages

3-8pm Fun Zone indoor activity center - $12 for all ages

2-8pm Super Slider Ticket - Fun Zone, Lift ticket and 2-hr. snow tubing ticket all for one package price - $49

Cranmore is located in the heart of North Conway Village near area hotels, shops and restaurants. So make it an early family night for New Year's Eve at Cranmore!

Check out photos from last years New Years Eve Cranapalooza

Monday, December 28, 2009

Jimmy Mersereau Memorial

We'd like to thank the many people who turned out last night to help us celebrate the life of Jimmy Mersereau. It was a moving and dramatic evening including a snowcat procession and torchlight parade. Special thanks to Thom Pollard who produced a special commemorative video and to Katy Cohn of Top Notch Photography for the wonderful photos posted here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Paying Tribute to a Great Man

Jimmy Mersereau
1943 - 2009

Jimmy Mersereau was born May 5, 1943 at his family home in Bartlett, NH. Jimmy passed away peacefully at his home December 23, 2009. He had been employed at Cranmore Mountain since 1971 and was responsible for many aspects of resort operations.

Jimmy loved life and was passionate about fishing and hunting, and recently took up the game of golf. He was at home in the outdoors and spent much of his personal and professional life outside. He loved his friends and family and was especially fond of his canine companion Sandy. He is survived by his adored long time partner Andrea Libby.

Jimmy was known for his fantastic sense of humor and for his homespun quips such as “It’s a lazy wind today. It doesn’t want to go around you, it goes through you.”

His first job was at the Willey House in Crawford Notch caring for the animals. Then he worked for the State of NH doing plowing and road crew work through the Crawford Notch. He then worked construction for Whit Duprey. He found his niche at Cranmore and began a storied career there in 1971.

Jimmy was a legend in the ski industry having been a pioneer in now-common practices such as grooming and snowmaking. His expertise was recognized when he was chosen to be a groomer at the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics.

He was also a leader in environmental practices, applying for and receiving a grant for Cranmore to switch its grooming vehicles to biodiesel fuel in 2003. Their use of the fuel became a case study and a benchmark still used today in the use of this alternative fuel in cold weather applications.

Cranmore was his home away from home and family referred to the mountain as “Uncle Jim’s Yard.” After a long hard winter on the mountain, Jim retreated each spring with his friends and loved ones to Grand Lake Stream, Maine to fish and recreate in the outdoors he loved so much. He then spent summer weekends at his camp in Pittsburg, NH fishing, reading and relaxing. He was a founding member of the Cranmore golf league team, the “Swingin’ Penguins,” who enjoyed consistent last place standings in Julie Rivers’ Traveling League.

Jimmy was beloved for his youthful and exuberant outlook, having unbounding energy for every aspect of life in the Valley, be it his role as guest conductor at an Arts Jubilee concert in 2006 or wearing the Penguin mascot suit when called upon at special events. Fireworks held at the mountain had special place in his heart.

Jim’s son Joshua and daughter in law Jennifer recently announced that they are expecting Jim’s first grandchild in May, 2010.

Jim is survived by his longtime partner Andrea Libby of Conway; son James Allen Mersereau, Jr. of Uncasville, CT, John Cobb Mersereau of Conway; son Joshua Mersereau and daughter in law Jennifer of Palm Coast, FL; daughter Jessica Montgomery of upstate New York; brother Herman Mersereau; and sister in law Dottie Mersereau of Braintree, MA; brother George Mersereau and sister in law Nellie Mersereau of Mashpee, MA; brother Norris Mersereau and sister in law Betty of Plano, TX; sister Patsy Rogerson and brother in law Bucky Rogerson of Bartlett, NH and aunt Margaret Mersereau Margison of Fredricton, New Brunswick; and numerous nieces and nephews.

Jim is predeceased by his father Reginald Mersereau; his mother Beatrice Keniston; sister Doris Rutledge; brother Gerald Mersereau; sister Betty Mersereau; and nephew Norman Mersereau; and mother of his children, Judi Eisner.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Jimmy Mersereau Scholarship Fund, c/o Cranmore Mountain, PO Box 1640, No. Conway, NH 03860.

Calling hours will be from 10am-1pm at the Furber & White Funeral Home on Route 16 in North Conway, NH on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2009. A reception will be held at Cranmore’s Eating House starting at 5pm. A Snowcat and Torchlight parade will be held at 6:30pm in Jim’s honor. There will be no church services. Burial will be a private family service at a later date.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Cranmore Mountain Lights Up North Conway This Christmas Vacation Week

Happy holidays from your friends at Cranmore! This will be the place for families this Christmas vacation week with a variety of fun events and activities, ranging from its second annual New Year's Eve event, a terrain park competition, live family entertainers, fireworks, night skiing, snow tubing and more.New Year's Eve at Cranmore will give families a fun and early night of festivities with fireworks at 7:30pm, and skiing and riding until 8pm.

In addition to fireworks, Cranmore will also offer a fire dancer performance at 5-7pm. Their Arctic Blast Tubing Park will slide away until 9pm New Year's Eve and every night during vacation week.Popular Celtic crooners Dennis and Davey are featured live music in Zip's Pub from 4-7:30pm on the 31st. The same afternoon, children's entertainer Marcus Gale will wow the little ones in the Eating House stage from 3:30-4:30. Both acts are free and open to the public.

Cranmore's indoor "Fun Zone" offers kids indoor action with a giant inflatable bouncy house, 65-foot two-person obstacle course and games including tennis, floor hockey and basketball. New for this year is the addition of the Euro-Bungy Mega Trampoline which lets kids and adult bounce, jump and flip. The Fun Zone also enhanced its pre-schooler options with an enlarged and improved toddler play area and a smaller bouncy house sized for younger children.The Fun Zone opens Saturday nights and holiday weeks throughout the winter season from 3-8pm.

Christmas Vacation week, the Fun Zone opens December 26, 2009 - January 3, 2010. A variety of ticket packages are available ranging from $12 for just the Fun Zone to $26 for a Mega Fun Zone ticket which also includes the Euro-Bungy and 1 trip up the indoor climbing wall.

A Super Slider ticket offers snow tubing, night skiing plus Fun Zone admission for $49.

Cranapalooza will light the skies with night skiing and fun activities on Dec. 26 and Jan. 2 in addition to New Year's Eve. Cranapalooza is Cranmore's Saturday night festival where children can make s'mores with Cranmore's penguin mascot, get their face painted and get free goodies and prizes while playing games with C-more. Live music and children's entertainment also takes place every Saturday night.

Not to leave out older kids, teens and others who love to shred, Cranmore's Darkside Terrain Park will serve up the first terrain park event of the year, the Monster Mash. The Monster Mash rail jam competition takes place in the Darkside Terrain Park on December 27. The Monster Mash is sponsored by Eastern Boarder.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Ready to Roll on Ticket Roll Back Day

Friday, December 18 marks the start of Cranmore’s daily operations for the season. We had a great opening weekend and have been closed midweek with the snow guns roaring 'round the clock.

For Friday, thanks to the hard work of our snowmaking team, we are forecasting 22 trails open, 87 acres open, 7.3 miles of skiing and riding.

That's 46% of our terrain ... and it's only mid-December! Hard to believe two weeks ago we were looking out at brown slopes with rain coming down. That's New England weather for you. If you don't like it - wait a minute.

Here are the trails we plan to have open for this weekend: Easy St. East Slope, Schneider, Gibson Pitch, Lower East Slope, Lower Schneider, Artist Falls, Gibson, Oompah, Lower Gibson, Beginner’s Luck, Snow Train, Lucky Pitch, Outta Luck, South Slope, Upper Hurricane, Middle, Comp Slope, Lower North Slope, Skimeister, Lower Skimeister, and Beginner Basin.

This means that off the summit, you can ski on terrain for all abilities, in all 4 directions! Thanks to our 80 new tower guns, we've been able to make more snow faster and open more terrain earlier in the season.

Speaking of terrain, we'll have several elements set up by the Lucky Loop lift on lower Beginners Luck.

And to get you to all that lovely terrain, we'll be running 5 lifts.

The Tubing Park will be open Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 4pm then opening daily starting Christmas Day, Dec. 25.

We received a surprise snowfall last Sunday of 4-5" and another inch or two the other night. It's not a blizzard, but this on top of the 8 inches from last Wednesday and it's looking mighty white out there at Cranmore today! Weather forecast calls for ideal snowmaking temps continuing right through the week. Those warmer temps around Thanksgiving are just a memory now!

Snowmaking will continue on Friday. We will be moving to Hurricane, Rattlesnake, Ledges, North Slope, Zip (Darkside Terrain Park) and the Upper Tubing Park. For Christmas we hope to have almost 70% of the mountain open which means we will be in great shape for the holiday week.

So hurry up finish up your shopping so you can come skiing this weekend! Hit the outlets after a day on the slopes!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

We're open for the season!

Cranmore opened today, Saturday, Dec. 12th. Conditions are spectacular! Here are some photos shot this morning. Popular trails like Artist Falls, Easy Street and South Slope are wow-ing skiers and riders today under brilliant blue skies. Come join us this weekend.
We'll be closed for snowmaking Mon. - Thurs. reopening Friday for our famous Ticket Roll Back Day - only $3.30 for all lift tickets on Dec. 18th. See you then!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

8 Inches of Snow!

It's an early Christmas gift from mother nature here at Cranmore! We have received 8 inches of the powdery stuff already in today's storm and we could get up to a foot before it all winds down tonight. It is still snowing gang-busters out there as I write you this note. I just ran out and took the photos below - the snow is up near the top of my boots! I only wish Cranmore were open today so I could get some shots further up on the mountain.

But never fear - we open for the season starting this weekend skiing and snow-tubing. Jimmy tells me snowmaking has been going like crazy on Easy Street, Beginner's Luck, South, Artist Falls, Gibson and many other favorite trails. We will be open from top to bottom with the Quad running.

Join us Saturday and Sunday for opening weekend including Welcome to Winter, where the first 50 ticket buyers receive a really good free Goodie Bag. We will close Monday - Thursday next week to really amp up the snowmaking and then reopen on Fri. Dec. 18th for our famous Ticket Roll Back Day, only $3.30 for lift tickets.

See you Saturday on the slopes!


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Opening Weekend, December 12-13, 2009

We have several productive days of snowmaking already this week - as you can see from this photo from this morning.

That plus a predicted snow storm for Wednesday should put us in great shape for opening this weekend.

For Saturday, December 12 and Sunday, December 13 we plan to open Top to Bottom with the following trails: Easy St., Gibson, Lower Gibson, Beginner’s Luck, Lucky Loop, South Slope, Snow Train/Lucky Pitch or Upper Beginner’s Luck, and Beginner Basin. We will plan to run the Quad, South, Lucky Loop, and Magic Carpet lifts. We will also open the lower tubing park with two runs and the handle tow lift.

If snowmaking progresses well we may also be able to add Upper Schneider and Artist Falls. Stay tuned.

Ski Area Operating Hours will run from 8:30am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Tubing from 9am to 4pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Please note that we will close Monday through Thursday (Dec. 14 to 17) for snowmaking and reopen for daily operation on Friday, December 18 (Ticket Rollback Day - $3.30 tickets).

We will be offering a special discounted lift ticket rate for the weekend of Dec. 12 and 13; $39 for adults, $31 for teens and $24 for youths. Tubing will start at full price: $22 for two hours.

We will offer a Learn to Ski or Ride package for $89 for ages 6 and older. All lessons will be private. For those looking just for lessons without a package, one hour privates will be available for $60.

Special lesson options for children 5 and under will be made on a case by case basis for our first weekend. Daycare will be open.

Food and Beverage will operate the Skimobile Station Legend’s Grille and Zips Pub will also be open. Retail and Rentals will also be open.

See you Saturday and check back later in the week for the latest updates!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Gunning for December 12 Opening

I've got good news and bad news.

The good news is that colder temps returned overnight and Jimmy, Johnny and the crew were cranking out snow on South Slope, Beginner's Luck, Gibson, Easy Street, Beginner Basin, Lucky Pitch and Middle, plus the lower tubing park. Current operations call for more snowmaking overnight tonight, Tuesday, then resuming on Friday after Thursday's anticipated rain event.

Here are some photos of some of our 80 new guns cranking out snow on the South and on Middle this morning.

The bad news is that despite the headway we are making, that our opening day is now projected for Sat. Dec. 12. This will allow us to maximize snowmaking over the weekend when colder weather becomes more firmly entrenched.

Plan on skiing, riding and snow tubing on the 12th. With any luck we'll have the Lucky Loop jib park set up as well.

In the meantime, visit us at the Settler's Green mini-tubing park on Sat. Dec. 5th from 11am - 3pm in North Conway. Finish up your holiday shopping and let the kiddos ride a snow tube down a mini tubing hill right in the heart of the outlet village! C-more the Penguin will be there and Santa usually goes for a slide as well.

Our friends from the Mount Washington Valley Children's Museum will be at the event selling penguins for the January 9th Great Penguin Race at Cranmore to benefit the Museum. They are a great organization and need our support now more than ever. These cute little penguins are only $5 and make great stocking stuffers even if you can't make it to the Jan. 10th event. As a thank you, we'll be giving out discount coupons for our Tubing Park and Fun Zone. Stop by to enter to win a Tubing Season Pass too!

In the meantime, do your snow dance, say your prayers and we'll see you on the 12th!


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How Hannes Got His Poles Back

Everyone who visits Cranmore is familiar with the bronze statue of Hannes Schneider who is poised forever in mid-schuss in front of the Ticket Haus at the North Conway ski area.

And an even more familiar question is, "what happened to his poles?"

Apparently in the 20 years since his installation, a generation of children have merrily pulled and swung the poles right off the statue.

Now Cranmore is working with the statue's sculptor, Edward Materson, to help Hannes get his poles back.

Materson came to Cranmore today and worked with Cranmore's Rick Oakes to reinstall the poles. Later, the resort will put a fence around the sculpture, in the hopes that his poles will remain with him for a while.

Friday, November 6, 2009

First Snowfall!

Photo taken the morning of November 6, 2009 by Bill Lee. Coming into work and seeing the top of the mountain covered in snow is a great way to start off the day!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Countdown Begins!

It's hard to believe that the countdown to opening day has begun! And this being "crunch time," Cranmore has been super busy preparing for the upcoming season, and opening day... December 5th!

Whether they are hiring for the upcoming season, installing snow guns, welding and revamping terrain park elements, or planning this season events and marketing the mountain, it's safe to say EVERYONE here at Cranmore has been plenty busy! It seems that everything is starting to fall into place...now we just need the Snow!

Above, the snow cats (groomers) are arriving back to their winter home and are ready to prowl the mountain.

The snow making crew has had their hands full moving snow guns around the mountain, and installing the 80 brand new snow guns as they arrive to the mountain! Below you'll see snow making pipes ready to be installed on the South Slope.

The Darkside staff has has also been busy painting and making sure all of the park elements are ready for winter shredding (weather depending, Lucky Loop will be open Thanksgiving weekend with some rails and boxes set up for some preseason jibbin!) Check out there newly designed website!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ghoullog Opens to Rave Reviews!

The Ghoullog opened this weekend and I can personally tell you that it is the scariest yet. I don't want to give away any surprises, but let's just say that the undead have taken over. That's right - zombies now roam the grounds of the Ghoullog.

Lance Davis, head ghoul and leader of Death Becomes You Productions, shares that this year, Zombies are hot. Just ask anyone about Zombieland, the new movie that was #1 in the box office this last weekend.

But that's not all that's new at Ghoullog this year. Be sure to check out the Demented Carnival. "That is sick, that is horrible. That is SO BAD," stated my new marketing coordinator Becca Deschenes. I have to agree. I mean, who would want to hurt little kittens and puppies? But it's all in fun and no animals will be harmed, we promise. But don't go in that vintage Airstream trailer where the carnies hang out. And definitely do NOT talk to that crazy clown guy.

This is the third year of the Ghoullog and we have found that Columbus Day weekend tends to be the busiest. So if you are coming up for leaf peeping (and the leaves are just about at peak as of today) then be sure to reserve your tickets now as Saturday and Sunday nights are sure to sell out.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Mountaintop House of Horror - the Ghoullog!

Hard to face it, but Labor Day is behind us and summer is over. But good news - the Ghoullog is returning to Cranmore, and can ski season be far behind?

The Ghoullog. for those of you in the dark (get it? in the dark?) is New England's only mountain top haunted house. We're going into our third year and the guys at Death Becomes You Productions, our partners in grime, are telling me it's truly going to be the scariest one yet.

For starters, they've added a Demented Carnival to the festivities that take place in the base area. Play games you can't win, like the knife catch and the kitten toss (don't worry, no real animals will be injured, we promise). And also new this year, the haunt has been expanded to include a whole new area at the start of the haunt, before you even get on the lift. If you've come in previous years, don't worry, you will be surprised and frightened at every turn once again.

Tickets are already selling briskly especially for our popular Local's Nights with $19 tickets for Carroll, Coos and Oxford county residents. Buy yours online at www.cranmore.com/ghoullog today as dates do sell out.

And for those of you from out of town, check out our new haunt and stay packages with area hotels and motels.

See you at the Ghoullog!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Summer Concert Series a Hit!

Over 1,300 happy concert goers enjoyed a beautiful summer night here at Cranmore on Thurs. July 9 when Livingston Taylor visited our storied slopes.

Taylor's concert is the first of 5 outdoor summer Thursday night concerts at Cranmore in North Conway, NH. This Thurs. July 16, we welcome Portland rockers Rustic Overtones for what is sure to be the biggest turn out of the summer.

Buy your tickets for Rustic Overtones here. Complete concert series information can be found here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Cranmore Tubing Park, Fun Zone, and Disc Golf now open!

The day has finally arrived. The Cranmore Tubing Park, Fun Zone, and Disc Golf are now officially open! Buy your tickets online in advance, and come on up and join in the fun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

More Tubing Park Construction Photos!

The construction fun continues at Cranmore! Johnny, Jimmy, Rick and the rest of the Cranmore ops crew have been out on the hill daily, rain or shine, setting up the new Tubing Park along with our new friends from Neveplast.

Here's Johnny removing the matting from the back of the truck on the day it arrived!

Rick's watchful eyes on the whole process.

The matting pieces together - almost looks like a Lego set, doesn't it?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tubing Park - Under Construction!

We are working hard here at Cranmore to prepare for the July 1st opening of the Tubing Park and Fun Zone. It's always fun to see construction photos on the mountain so I wanted to share with you these photos, thanks to our good friend and photographer, Bill Lee.

Here's the magic carpet lift, installed at the base of the South.

This shot gives you a sense of its placement on the Slope. Check out those newly painted South Chair towers - love the new black paint!

Another angle showing its placement on the South. The tubing lanes will go on skier's right of the Carpet.

Happy tubers will ride this Magic Carpet lift to the top of the new tubing park and then slide down on the special Neveplast tubing surface. You will also access the Disc Golf Course from the top of this lift. Don't worry, we are installing a hand rail on either side and we've planted grass where you see dirt here!

And here is the scope of the entire park area. The Fun Zone will be set up at the bottom of the South along with a snack shack where you can also buy tickets.

Speaking of tickets, our summer e-store is up and running so check in, buy your tickets and be ready for fun in the sun at Cranmore for your summer vacation!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cranmore Opens Tubing Park for Summer

Everyone knows and loves the Cranmore Tubing Park in winter. That's why more people tube at Cranmore than any other tubing park in the state! So it's only natural that starting this July, we're opening a tubing park that can be used without snow!

Thanks to a special matting surface made by Neveplast, the tubes used in our winter park can slide down the slope. The park will be serviced by a Magic Carpet Lift.

Just to keep it interesting, we'll also set up an outdoor Fun Zone with a bouncy house, giant inflated slide, volley ball, tether ball, sand box, jungle gym and Snack Shack. We're also setting up a 9-hole disc golf course.

Projected opening date is July 1. We'll be publishing information soon about a special local's day to introduce everyone to the new park, so stay tuned!

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Hills are Alive with Music at Cranmore!

Is there anything better than music outside on a warm summer night? We don't think so! That's why we are expanding our summer concert schedule to include two new shows! These shows are both on Thursday nights, so when combined with the existing Arts Jubilee Shows on Thursdays, that means nearly every week there is a show that evening in July and August.

The July 16th show features Portland-based Rustic Overtones. Formed in the early 90s, Rustic Overtones gained popularity with funky horn-infused jams and a rock solid, rock-ready style. In their years together, the band gained a passionate following with their high energy live set, tirelessly touring college campuses and local clubs up and down the east coast, sometimes playing close to 200 shows a year Their latest album, Light at the End, was released nationally by Velour Music Group in March 2008.

Opening band Audio Kickstand is a Mount Washington Valley favorite. They cite musical influences including reggae, funk, hip hop, rock, groove, or bluegrass.

July 30th headliners deSoL are the Asbury Park, NJ "rock band with the Latin soul" signed to Curb Records and touted as "up-and-comers" by Rolling Stone. This seamless blend of seven inspired musicians is a brotherhood whose heady, polyrhythmic mix of chanted melodies and mystical atmosphere embraces the contemporary edge of big modern rock hooks with flourishes of rap and hip-hop. deSoL’s vibrant and colorful live show – an infectious display that forces audience members out of their seats – has been pivotal in seeing the band earn praise in The New York Times, Boston Globe and New York Post.

Opening for deSoL is New York based Evan Watson, an up-and-coming singer-guitarist now working on his first album release. Watson cites influences including Eric Clapton, Allman Brothers and Ben Harper.

Both shows are only $5 per person entry, ages 12 and under free.

These new shows were put together with the help and support of our friends at WMWV 93.5!

Complete Thursday night summer concert schedule at Cranmore:

July 9
Arts Jubilee Presents Livingston Taylor
7:30pm - $5 suggested donation (ages 12 and under free)

July 16 Rustic Overtones 7-9pm with Audio Kickstand - 6-7pm $5 per person (ages 12 and under free)
Newcastle Brown Ale Summer Concert Series, presented by WMWV

July 23
Arts Jubilee presents Symphony Pops with Fireworks
7:30pm - $5 suggested donation (ages 12 and under free)

July 30 deSoL 7-9pm with Evan Watson 6-7pm $5 per person (ages 12 and under free)Newcastle Brown Ale Summer Concert Series, presented by WMWV

August 6
Arts Jubilee presents Big Band Jazz & Swing
7:30pm - $5 suggested donation (ages 12 and under free)

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Fat Lady Sings

It's official, folks. Cranmore is closed for the season. This moment is always bittersweet for me, the penultimate opposite of the excitement of opening day.

On one hand, it is hard to see the grand old mountain with its patchy spring snow. You really appreciate what our groomers do once they stop doing their thing. The remaining snow degrades quickly. They don't call it grooming for nothing.

Snowcats and snow machines are still zipping around the mountain as Cranmore's mountain ops team takes down all we took pains to build all winter. Terrain park elements are removed. Food venues are cleaned and closed. Signs are taken down and turned off.
But some things remain the same. Cranmore's resident geese honked me a very good morning greeting today. They're not going anywhere. And neither is the small crew of us who remain here year round. I am already working on plans for this summer and next winter.

We are busily rounding up photos and content for the next issue of Cranmore North Conway Magazine. And stay tuned for news on a new summer concert series that will be in addition to the Arts Jubilee concerts we already host.

And believe it or not, Threedom Passes and Cranmore Happy Trails passes are already for sale for NEXT winter. If you're counting pennies like many of us, you'll want to save the money and buy passes early before prices increase. Kids passes are just $149 for Cranmore season passes, ages 6-12. What a great Easter Basket gift idea!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Still Plenty of Snow Left at Cranmore

Cranmore's sunny locale and wide open slopes makes for long bright days skiing this time of year. The good news is that the warm days are followed by cold nights, allowing the snow to firm up again.

I skied for a few hours today and my picks were anything in the East Slope area (East, Schneider) and Artist Falls. All are good picks earlier in the day when the snow is still firm. Plus, it gives you an excuse to ride the classic East Double Chair, the oldest operating double East of the Mississippi!

Try out trails with less exposure later in the day when the air temp warms and softens up the snow.

In case you are wondering, our projected close date is March 29, so we have two more weekends left. While we still have a boatload of snow, the downside of all this sunshine is that spring does eventually take its toll. So after the 29th, it's time to move on to other pursuits, whether it is skiing at other mountains with a higher elevation or northerly orientation, like our sister resort Waterville Valley. Or time to dust off those golf clubs and head south. I hear you can actually see the ground down in Boston. Imagine that!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sweet Corn Snow at Cranmore

There's a reason why Cranmore has a reputation as being a great early spring mountain and I have the sunburn to prove it. I did not heed my own good sunscreen advice before going out to watch yesterday's fabulous Meister Cup Race at Cranmore. Sunglasses anyone?
We are still 100% open and conditions have turned to corn, or in the vernacular, that would be "mashed potatoes" or as others call it, hero snow. We've let Ledges bump up and they are a joy to fly through, as forgiving as they are.
We still have excellent coverage although on some areas with underlying ledge, direct sunlight or heavy traffic might have some dirt or rock surfaces poking through. You'll also want to wax your skis as sometimes the wetter surfaces can slow you down. But in looking at this week's forecast, there's an off-and-on weather of various types then colder temps returning. What's good for maple syrup is good for skiing - cold temps at night and warm temps during the day. Are pancakes in order?
One of the pleasures of my job is working with many excellent photographers. We've recently completed working on several different shoots as well as our daily efforts for our CAM shots and of course, our blog.

This photo is from the shoot we did with Rob Bossi who works with many major ski areas throughout the country. I've been managing photo shoots for many years but I learned a boatload that day working with him, and the results are spectacular.

We also welcomed back John Webster to photograph our terrain parks after the terrific work he did for us last year. His photo shoot added new meaning to the term "Darkside" as he and Jess Richitelli and crew shot at dusk and after sunset. Thanks John!

Last but not least, North Conway denizen and "snow-ga" practician Bill Lee has faithfully provided photos for this blog, in addition to a fun shoot we did last fall for the Ghoullog. He has a gift for capturing that special sense of place that makes Cranmore North Conway's gem in the heart of the Presidentials. I just love this rock on the North Conway trail, don't you?

There's still plenty of skiing left in March. And as you may know, March is the snowiest month up here. Don't let this tease of spring weather fool you. I'm not putting away my shovel just yet.
We're hosting the Buddy Warner races next week which will bring hundreds of racers and their families to our sunny slopes. Be sure to join them here at Cranmore!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Supreme Snow Conditions Continue at Cranmore

I am running out of hyperbole for snow conditions this winter. We got another foot of snow Sunday night, adding to the foot we got on Thursday. Today was another blue bird beauty and the combination of sunshine and powder was irresistible.

I went out with sales manager Krissy Fraser to do some product testing, you know, all the better to tell the many boy scout troops who come to our mountain every weekend. Here she is at the bottom of Jughandle, which was chock-a-block full of pow-pow. Yummy!

Next came a run through Red Pine Glade to Ledges, which was unexpectedly left ungroomed for a change. Don't let anyone tell you Cranmore lacks challenging terrain - this steep beauty left my heart beating fast as I finished up the run. Sweet!

And is there anything better than a run down the East Slope to the classic East Double Chair on a sunny day? You can still find untracked powder on skier's left on lower East.

Speaking of untracked powder, I skied as many glades as I could today - Beech, Treemeister, Black Forest, Pipeline - all wonderful, all full of stashes of powder still today, 48 hours post-snow storm.

This week's forecast shows more fair weather which should hold up conditions nicely throughout the period. New Hampshire school vacation week is in full swing. Grab a few days in the winter sunshine snow while you can!

Kathy Bennett

Monday, February 16, 2009

Snowmaking Resumes at Cranmore

I spent just about all day yesterday on the mountain and had the pleasure of skiing nearly every trail. I am happy to report that Cranmore's groomers are miracle workers and the mountain has rebounded in spectacular fashion from last week's precipitation event, or as some of you call it, the "R" word.

Saturday night I went for a ride down and around the mountain with Snowcat Johnny, Supervisor of Cranmore's grooming and snowmaking team.

These massive machines with knowledgeable hands at the wheel till the snow surfaces the way a plow carves through soil. There is still a TON of snow out there, and with the right people at the helm like Johnny, the snow transforms to corduroy every night.

And just to sweeten things up even more, Johnny and the crew hit several of our most popular trails with snowmaking last night, including Middle, North and South.

When I came in from my long day on the mountain yesterday I saw for the first time the tell-tale sign that the sun is now higher in the sky than before - freckles and rosy cheeks from the sunshine on my face, which I did not have to cover in fleece and neoprene to survive my day outside. Time for sunscreen once again! Break out the sunglasses and Tan More at Cranmore!

For those of you who are fans of Facebook, do yourself a favor and after you add Cranmore as a friend, seek out the Cranmore Geese who have somehow waddled around and set up their own Facebook profile. I honestly do not know who set up this profile but the Geese have an uncanny ability to capture the true essence of a day at Cranmore. Break out the bread crumbs!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Reach the Peak

Because I work at a ski area, I work with a lot of really, really good skiers and snowboarders. I know this sounds obvious but as someone who learned to ski as an adult, I am a little self-conscious about my skills, even though by most standards I'm not bad. I get to ski more days in a month than most people do in years.

Considering I work with all these great skiers, and have access to lessons on a daily basis, one would think that I would have taken a lesson or two over the years. But in the 7 winters I've worked here I have rarely done so. That changed yesterday when I made a visit to the Sunday morning ladies' group that our ski school offers every non-holiday period.

There were about a dozen of us coached by our ski school director Karen Dolan, instructor Sally Anderson and seasonal program coordinator Mary Miller. I work with Karen every day but had never taken a lesson from her. What a treat!

All of us were intermediate to advanced skiers looking to move to the next level and improve our technique. Personally, I am growing fond of bump skiing and hitting the glades. I can make it through a mogul field or tree run, but it ain't pretty.

Our first run together focused on getting forward and getting on edge. Like many other women in the group, my turns skid and put pressure on the tails of my skis. We practiced skate skiing on flat areas to build awareness of how your legs should extend on the turn and how keeping the skis flat on the snow slows you down.

Next run was down the bumps on Schneider. Half way down, Karen stopped me and told me to aim for the snow, turn on top of the bump and drive my tips into the snow. "When you approach a bump, your skis point upwards, putting you in the backseat. By concentrating on pointing your tips down into the snow, you avoid this. Keep your skis on the snow," Dolan instructed.

I tried it and it felt totally different - much more in control. I can't wait to get out there later today to work on this some more!

I also got advice on keeping forward - something I hear every time I have ever taken a lesson and something I should really work on. Feel your shin against the front of the boot; press down your big toe to initiate a turn; keep your feet hip width apart.

Cranmore has been a teaching mountain since Hannes Schneider came here 70 years ago. While we may not have the highest elevation or vertical drop in the state, we do have a ski school that can measure against the best in the country, and teaching terrain that can challenge all abilities.

If you haven't taken a lesson in years or think you're all that, try taking one of our "Reach the Peak" group lessons for intermediates, or better yet, take a private lesson. The thrill of making progress after many years of status quo is worth the effort.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wide Open

Photo taken February 6, 2009

With the all-important February vacation week coming up in just a week, you might want to know what the straight scoop is for snow conditions at Cranmore and I'm glad to oblige.

I skied for a few hours here both yesterday and today and hit a variety of trails to taste test the product. I'm happy to report I wasn't disappointed. I can't remember another year where we had so many perfect blue sky days and such beautiful packed powder conditions. No freeze thaw cycle here. In fact, no January thaw at all, and looking halfway into February, nothing ominous looks to be coming at us anytime soon.

Here's a Kats-eye view of conditions at Cranny:

East Bowl to Gibson Pitch - Packed powder, great little lip at the bottom of Gibson Pitch down to lower East -- woopie-dee-doo!

Arlberg to Jughandle to Bandit - Arlberg remains a cruiser's paradise as usual. Jughandle's powder has packed down to nice moguls. Look out for some ice and dirt on the backs of some of the bumps but you can easily fly through Juggie. Bandit's cool little banked turns are always a hoot.

Red Pine to Ledges to Darkside - You need to pick your way through Red Pine Glade but everyone knows a little challenge is fun. Ledges is in as good a shape as I've ever seen it. The Darkside - what can I say; the terrain park crew has been out there for weeks grooming and perfecting the best park in the Valley.

Skimeister to Bandit - Another of my favorite classic New England style trails on the north side of the mountain. Skimeister is a dream; cut over on Bandit to avoid the traverse by the condos at the base back to the Quad.

East to Artist Falls to Oompah to South - This is fast becoming my favorite last run of the day because it's a cruiser that dumps right down to my office in the base lodge. Lovely views of the Moats and the Saco River Valley.

I hope you join us this week for what continues to be a stellar season with pristine conditions. We're wide open. Come and get it. :)


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another Whopper Snowstorm!

Just a quick note to say Cranmore is in this current snow storm's sweet spot with up to two feet of snow forecast between now and tomorrow. So far there is about 4-6 inches of snow on the ground right now and it is still snowing like crazy.
This is my seventh winter season working at Cranmore and I would rate this as the second best ever - right behind last year's record-breaking snowfall. And there is still PLENTY of winter left so who knows where this one will end up in the record books.
Best of all, we have not had any of the "freeze/thaw" cycles that often happen up here in ski country. That means all of the snow that we made, plus all of the natural stuff, has piled up and stayed put. Conditions have been consistently packed powder surfaces and now, thankfully once again, with a sweet powder topping.
Those of you braving the roads today will already find half a foot of snow on top of the groomed stuff. By tomorrow morning, look for powder all around, especially in the woods and on trail's edge.
I know the Super Bowl is on Sunday and maybe you think this is reason enough to skip coming up for the weekend. I hope this snowfall convinces you how bad an idea this is. To make it easier, drop into our estore by Friday and buy a "Sunday Morning Solution" lift ticket. It is valid until 12:30pm on Sunday and is only $45. That way you can ski Sunday morning and still make it home in time for the big game.
Big snow and big savings - what a great combination for Super Bowl weekend!