Cranmore Mountain Resort in North Conway, New Hampshire, isn’t just skiing anymore. Skiing is fantastic and so is riding the board but this year they have added more tubing with a conveyor lift and an exciting mountain coaster has just opened.
Cranmore Mountain Resort was one of the very first ski areas in the United States, opening for its first season in 1937-38. By now, several generations of the same families have been learning and skiing here. It also had one of the earliest ski schools under Beno Rybixka (1938) and Hannes Schneider (1939). Cranmore was among the first to groom their trails, even when they had to invent the machines to do it.
Today it’s not the biggest ski resort in the White Mountains, but it is one of the best maintained and most family friendly. Its 54 trails cover both sides of the mountain, and offer all levels of skiers a full range of skiing and riding experiences from the tops of the lifts. Even beginning skiers can enjoy the thrill of skiing trails, including some long ones.
Special new areas for kids and learners
Beginner/learner areas are to the left and right of the main lodge at the base of the hill. Cranmore has just opened a new special purpose children’s center at the foot of the learning skier/rider area to the left. Its new location is perfect and now the kids don’t have to trek across the base of the slopes to get to their hill.
Some nice trails for all levels of skill
On the right the South Quad serves a shoulder of the mountain which also has some nice beginner/learner slopes. South Slope, Beginner’s Luck and Snow Train are easy to negotiate and fun even for the more advanced. Unless you like poling, though, avoid the nearly level Outa Luck cut-across trail – as our 9-year-old ski buddy said “I know why they call it Outa Luck: you’re outa luck if you don’t have ski poles!”
The Cranmore Snowmobile Express to the top of the mountain provides access to Easy Street, a beginner trail with a couple of steeper spots and narrow sections. Snowmobile Express and the Lookout Triple also provide access to the mountain’s Intermediate and expert trails. East Slope, marked blue, is one of my favorites – it starts off with a sharp drop before settling into more standard blue-ranked terrain. Exiting to the left of the lifts leads into a nice series of expert trails.
Getting to Cranmore
Take I-95 north to the interchange at Portsmouth NH, then follow the Spaulding Turnpike (Route 16) on through Rochester. At Rochester it turns into a 2 lane road. Follow Route 16 north to Conway and on past the outlet shopping to North Conway Village, it is signed from there. From western areas take Route 2 east to Route 128 north and I-95.