Strolling through the Village of North Conway, New Hampshire, on Main St./White Mountain Highway, glance to the west and you’ll see the historic Conway Scenic Railroad’s North Conway Station and beyond the staggering mountains of White Mountain National Forest. There’s usually nothing better than a walkable downtown with fun shops like Zeb’s General Store (a step back in time), a variety of dining options, and a cozy historic hotel like The Kearsarge Inn. But it does get better, especially when it’s winter because there is a small skating rink too. And the best part, there’s a perfectly sized ski area for families (and other snow lovers!) less than a mile away. To your east, Cranmore Mountain Resort pops up. This kind of winter scene makes lots of smiles pop up too.
Cranmore’s friendly layout funnels all trails from one peak to one base lodge, so it’s simple to regroup with family and friends. Cranmore has family skiing all figured out.
The hub for kids’ programs and Cranmore’s KidsRule Mountain Camps is the Arlberg Children’s Center. If your tot’s legs (or yours!) are a little tired, hop on the free snowmobile-pulled sleigh rides to travel to and from the lifts.
Of course, just because this mountain is perfect for families does not mean that you won’t be challenged. Any level of skier should have a great time on the slopes. Here are a couple of my favorites.
BEST SUN-BAKED BUMPS | Koessler (Black Diamond)
For bumpers, black-diamond Koessler has a moderate pitch with clean mogul lines. Since the sun hits Koessler first thing in the morning, you’ll have all day long to bump it up on soft hero snow. Ride the Schneider Triple (named in honor of Herbert Schneider, Cranmore’s former owner and longtime general manager, and son of Austrian Hannes Schneider, father of modern skiing, who made Cranmore Mountain his new home in 1939) to ski laps on Koessler. When your
legs turn to rubber, kick back and refuel at Meister Hut, located at the top of Koessler, with views of Mount Washington.
BEST LOCATION FOR A JAMES BOND SKI-CHASE SCENE | Skimeister (Blue Square)
Take one: Action. If it’s good enough for Hannes Schneider, who relocated from the Alps to the Whites, it could be good enough for James Bond, right? If Bond ever visited the Whites, Cranmore’s signature trail Skimeister would be the perfect location for a ski-chase scene. Every twist and turn of this intermediate cruiser highlights an interesting and perfect view of the valley. Around one corner, surprise … Mount Washington pops out. Located on the north side of the mountain, ride either Lookout Triple or Skimobile Express to access Skimeister.
BEST LOCATION FOR ME TO PROVE THAT I AM NOT AN ADRENALINE JUNKIE (NOT THAT THERE WAS EVER A QUESTION IN MY MIND)|The Cranmore Tubing Park (Scary for Me)
Cranmore ranks third in the East for off-hill activities according to Ski Magazine. The Mountain Adventure Center includes the Giant Swing, a Mountain Coaster, the Soaring Eagle Zipline, and the Tubing Park (yikes). Yes, an innocent little tubing park–the kind children enjoy, and the kind that scare me beyond belief. By the time I completed my first run, my throat was fully inflamed from screaming (well screeching) my lungs out.
The official rules on the Tubing Park: “All ages welcome. Children 42 inches and taller may ride solo; and children under 42″ must ride with an adult.”
My addition to the official rules: This might be too much for wimpy people who for some reason have an unreasonable fear of tubing due to childhood sledding trauma and from reading Ethan Frome.
But, enough about me. A visit to Cranmore is about enjoying time with your friends and family on a mountain sure to please all.