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!