Forget what the weather man says, there is plenty of snow and lots of things to do on the mountain at Crotched Mountain in Bennington, New Hampshire, only a short drive from greater Boston.
Thursday was a great day on the mountain when I went there to check out the conditions. Crotched Mountain never disappoints. The sun was shining and the temperatures mild but the snow was just about as perfect as anyone could want to have it.
The snow at Crotched Mountain
But perfect snow is one of the things that makes Crotched Mountain the special place it is. Every since Peaks Resorts took over the place more than a decade ago the emphasis has been on snow making and perfection in dealing with it once it hits the ground, whether man-made or natural.
Any one who has not been to Crotched for a while will be pleased with the new high speed quad that now whips people to the summit in just a few minutes. I always found it odd that the old quad let people off short of the summit, thereby eliminating a lot of good skiing. That has now been fixed and skiers on The Rocket, as the new Quad is called, get off at the summit with a choice of runs to left and right.
Some Trails for lovers of the steeps
To the left are a pair of black diamond trails, Jupiter’s Storm and Satellite Summit (which connects to Cosmic Blast). Both of these trails are great fun and any confident intermediate should be able to handle them. Between these trails lies the Dark Star Glades, open last I knew but somewhat thin on coverage. Connecting to these two trails are NCC1701 and Galaxy, both rated green and nice cruising. Galaxy is accessible from the Valley Lift by NCC1701 can only be reached from the black diamond Jupiter’s Storm.
And some challenging blues
To the right at the summit the blue rated Moonwalk swings down and across the mountain to meets up with Meteor, another wide blue trail that leads back to the quad. Along the way, a left turn onto Milky Way leads across the mountain to the West Lift and the nice, wide, Super Nova green trail that swings out along the west side of this north facing mountain. Some nice black trails can be reached from Moonwalk and Milky Way as well as the blue rated Velocity and Comet Drop that run from Milky Way to the base Lodge.
Nice long greens to cut train on
Use the West Lift for access to two nice green trails, Super Nova and Shooting Star, two trails that are perfect for beginners, warming up and cooling down. Use the Valley Lift to access the green rated Galaxy, another nice cruiser that swings east on the mountain before turning back west and giving skiers the option of the valley Lift or the Rocket Quad.
With vertical drop of 1,016 feet there is plenty of space on this mountain to experience the joys of skiing and riding. Even at busy times lines are short and on weekday mornings and early afternoons it is like having the place to yourself. The mountain does have an active program for school kids so when the busses start rolling in at 2:30, or so, there is slightly more traffic but not much of a problem.
Midnight Madness, a weekend Friday and Saturday blast
Another thing unique to Crotched Mountain is Midnight Madness, held every Friday and Saturday night from 9 PM to 3 AM which features skiing and boarding under the lights on the mountain, a huge bonfire to warm up in front of, a full-fledged live band playing in the lounge and lots of good people to meet. It is particularly popular with active singles from throughout eastern Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Getting to Crotched Mountain
Crotched Mountain is in southern New Hampshire in the town of Bennington and easily accessible from the Greater Boston area. Specific directions are on the resort’s website. Crotched Mountain is open Monday through Saturday 9 AM to 9 PM and on Friday and Saturday 9PM to 3AM for Midnight Madness and is also open Sunday from 9AM to 5 PM.