photo c/o Corey David Photography
It’s concept of skinning up a mountain, or hiking up one with your skis on your back to ski down it is nothing new. The White Mountains of New Hampshire, are an original birthplace of backcountry skiing. Avid skiers and experienced outdoor enthusiasts have gathered at the base of Mount Washington to skin up or hike its many trails, and experience skiing down its glades and gullies, and down its famed “Sherburne Trail.”
Naturally it would make sense that this kind of outdoor adventure would find a way to translate to the contained ski areas within the White Mountains. Currently being used as a hybrid term in the ski industry for skinning up lift-assisted mountains, Alpine Touring has become a widely used ticketing option for alpine skiers at private and public ski areas. Backcountry skiers looking for a more accessible way to skin up and ski down mountains; those in a time crunch who want to fit in the challenge of hiking up and skiing down a mountain on their lunch break; and first-time backcountry skiers looking for practice before hitting the big and wild mountains, are all part of the catalyst bringing so much hype to Alpine Touring.
Many ski areas in the Mt. Washington Valley offer a ticketing option for uphill skiing, but want to be clear about the parameters that those tickets provide. Like anything when it comes to playing in the outdoors, there is inherent risk involved. It’s important to respect nature’s power, as well as the guidelines set forth by individual mountains offering an uphill option. Below are links to each mountains uphill policy.
As a general rule, you must purchase an uphill ticket, and certain mountains set specific time-frames or certain trail routes for when this activity is permitted on the mountain. It’s important to understand that these parameters are put in place to protect you and other skiers. Here are three reasons why purchasing a ticket, and respecting the mountain’s uphill policies are important.
Granite Backcountry Alliance (GBA) also works to maintain glades and build more to improve access to backcountry skiing. It has created a trail network of over eight glades throughout the White Mountains. GBA works with state and town officials, as well as private landowners to make these glade zones available.
As with anything in life, practicing respect when it comes to using this land is of the utmost importance. As users we hold part of the responsibility in ensuring that glades like this continue to exist. At any moment private land-owners can revoke the right to use their land for these purposes, and this is where kindness, gratitude and regard for the rules in place come into play.
One thing you can do to contribute to the general good-will of the forest and the valley - even when you're not on the slopes - is sign the MWV Pledge! This is a ten-principle responsibility code that outlines the important factors for recreating in the outdoors.
For complete trip planning resources and information, visit visitmwv.com or call 800-367-3364 (800-DO-SEE-NH) to talk to a Mt Washington Valley Chamber of Commerce rep. To learn more about New Hampshire vacations, go to www.VisitNH.gov.