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New Hampshire’s the shit. We have mountains, access to the freezing Atlantic Ocean, no sales tax, beautiful back-roads, NHDs, hicks, Liquor Stores on 93 (the major highway), the ability to buy beer anywhere you’d like, all four seasons (with foliage), great hiking during the off-season, the Nashua skate park, Parker’s Maple Barn, Hart’s Turkey Farm, the Red Parka, the Woodstock Station, Legends, close enough to the “big city” (Boston), the list goes on and on. We also have intense humidity, a mediocre state-run snow removal system, hicks, a lack of skatespots, crackheads, stingy law enforcement when it comes it comes to the herb (if that’s you’re thing), a bunch of jerks with vanity plates, and MA, CT, and RI visitors on the weekly.
The man in the mountain fell down…but we still got the best state motto.
LIVE FREE OR DIE.
THE QUICKFACTS ON NEW HAMPSHIRE
Best Park: Loon Mountain and Waterville Valley with the straight tie.
Best Place to Ride Powder: Cannon, Wildcat, Ragged. It’s hard to choose.
Best Bar on Hill: The Bunyan Room, Loon Mountain
Best Bar on Hill to hunt for Cougars: Pat’s Peak’s The Sled Pub.
Hottest Chicks: Chicks at the hill in NH? Nahhhh. Head south to meet up with the Massholes and peep Wachusett, it’s hour from Boston, 15 minutes from picturesque Fitchburg State University.
Best Drive: if you live in Southern NH, Crotched Mountain, real New England backroads and Sunapee if you’re from the center of the state. Cool 30 minutes from Concord.
Most “Freestyle” Skiers: Sunapee. There’s pros from there, or something.
Illest Lift: Gondola at Loon. You know what it is!
Gnarliest Chair: The old Tenney Chair. 20 Minutes of freezing cold oil drips.
Best Vibe: Loon Mountain. Place is like a skatepark.
Worst Vibe: The Balsams. Unless you got that scrilla!
Best Off-hill Activities: Waterville Valley. The town has no open container law, and there’s an Indoor mini-ramp at the hill.
Best Night Riding: Gunstock and Pat’s Peak for the tie!
Best Summer Riding: Whaleback. Makin’ snow all summer baby. Astroturf. Best Pipe: Who the hell rides pipe before late March?
Free Boardin’!:Â Dover, NH has a Free Snowboard Park
Worst Lift/ Lift Line: Ragged’s six pack. Are you serious? Having a snowboard on the same lift with 5 other people suuuucks.
Best Snow: Bretton Woods. Gets that Mt. Washington shit.
Best Shred Beer: Tuckerman Pale Ale if you can afford it. Narragansett if you’re in college.
Best Place to Earn your Turns: Tuckerman Ravine. Mt. Washington. Not for the weak.
Best Contests: The Back to Back “Back to the Boneyard” and “Last Call” events. Midweek. Early March.
Worst Drive: Anything in North Conway . Both Rt 16 and The Kangamangus Highway suck real bad in the winter.
Best Bargain: Sunapee and Cannon do NH days. Cheap mid-week deals. Best Sub-Spot: Wayne’s in Lincoln, Biedermann’s in Plymouth.
Best Coffee Spot: Frontside Grind in North Conway.
State and Major COLLEGE SCENE (NH Community Colleges not included in here)
Plymouth State is a well-renowned shred school with a crazy party scene. Heads have been going to PSU (or PSC) forever, from industry vets, to the Blue Lodge crew, to the scum that has come out of there in the recent years, great people, great snowboarders…most of ‘em anyway.
Keene State College is on the South-Western side of the state. Keep it local and ride Granite Gorge. I’m pretty sure it’s only $99 for a season pass for a college student. You could always make the drive to Mt. Snow in…VT, if you’re “Wit it”.
UNH — TONS of girls, but TONS of BROS (and Natty Light) to go with ‘em. Bring your Timberlands and your white hat if you’re trying to fit in. Bring your skateboard if you’re trying to get flexed on. Shredders here are few and far between, but you can get a real sick pass deal to ride Gunstock, just head up RT. 16.
Southern NH University/New England College — Two separate schools in the Manchester vicinity. Ride Pats Peak for free if you’re a NEC student. Really close to McIntyre, Manchester’s converted land-fill. ManchVegas locals, rich Bedford kids, long enough lift to get a quit make-out in during after school ski program. Manchester does boast many-a-street-spot though.
For the state breakdown, we’re going to highlight Loon and Waterville on the “freestyle” frontier, and then talk about Wildcat and Cannon if you want to go rail some turns.
Loon is like a skatepark. There’s fun shit everywhere there! Super good features, friendly and creative park staff, illest bar, a 7 minute Gondola ride is long enough to smoke any kind of cigarette, drink some brew, and weird out the 4th wheel from the North Shore of Boston. Bear Claw is a bust now, family ski zone, so Flying Fox is the shit (I’m pretty sure it’s Flying Fox). Pocket Park on the way to the Park too, with hits everywhere. On a pow day dip into the shoulder, or head over to Black Mountain for three or four good turns before the trees get tight again. They DEFINITELY check classes, so don’t try to barge, and don’t use your homies’ pass either, bad news.
There’s some history here. For sure. The Boneyard was THE snowboard park back in the day, and there’s been a history of amazing builders here throughout the years. Things that make WV rad; the Poma Lift. A lift dedicated to the park, listen to some tunes, cheer on the homies, and take a break from shredding. Oblivion is a super fun trail on a spring day, and the Little Slammer park is on point. The town of Waterville Valley does not have any open container laws, so you can drink beer wherever you’d like, and I like beer. The Waterville Academy is a shred school that has been around forever, and pumps out some pretty okay snowboarders (see: Pat Moore). When it’s 4:00 and the lifts are off, head to the mini-ramp and skate before heading to legends.
Bryan Johnson. photo by Brian Nevens. Getinthevan.com
The North Conway and Jackson areas lead you to real deal, old-school, New England Ski Resorts. Old lodges, whatever chairs, steep and narrow trails, lots of snow, and siiick terrain. Being located in Pinkham Notch guarantees that you will get some good snow most of the time (Mt. Washington affect), so riding the woods off of Upper Polecat and meeting back up with Straycat will allow you to get some of those New England trees, maybe even a stream bed. If you’re trying to ride some boxes and rails, don’t get your hopes up, they only have 4-5 features here, but there is more to come, because Peak Resorts (owners of Mt. Snow) just purchased them.
New Englanders know that Mittersill (a since-shut-down NH ski area) has some of the best free-riding in the region. A quick traverse and a mellow hike from the Cannonball Lift always guaranteed you some really, really good riding on powder days, the day after, and all spring long. Cannon is owned by the state, and they have grown to recognize that they have a gold-mine on their hands. On 1/1/2011 a double-lift was installed to service the Mittersill terrain, open when the mountain feels that it should be, but don’t worry…there is still some goods to be gotten. If you go, try to get a nice day, Franconia Notch is always cold and windy, but on a powder day, or a good spring day, Hot Damn is this place amazing. Locals know it. Now you do. (Dip off the middle Cannon By-Pass for some cliffs on a powder day, and avoid the Tram on a weekend)