January 19, 2020
Day 12
Skiers: Carla & Tim

Today we visited another new mountain for our Talls & Smalls adventure to ski every ski area in NH. Crotched Mountain is located in the town of Bennington in the southwest corner of the state. Our drive here took us through the towns of New Boston and Francestown, new territory for both of us. Tim & I have a thing for old houses, barns, and architecture and we saw so many beautiful properties. There are several sugar houses and lots of maple trees with lines set just waiting for the sap to start flowing. We even found an old country store with high tin pressed ceilings, vintage wood counters, and cast-iron radiators.

IMG_2753.jpg

Base lodge as seen walking up from parking lot. Entry goes into the rental shop

Crotched Mountain is a revived lost ski area and has a cool story. The history is best described here: https://www.newenglandskihistory.com/NewHampshire/crotchedmtn.php A quick recap: the original Crotched Mountain is located on the other side of the mountain in Francestown and remains closed. It is referred to as Crotched East. The current Crotched is located at the site of the former Onset Mountain ski area, renamed Bobcat Mountain, renamed Crotched West. At one point in the late 80’s East & West merged as “Southern New Hampshire's largest ski area”, but foreclosed leaving the area abandoned for over 20 years. Peak Resorts revived Crotched West in 2003, transferring ownership to Vail in 2019.

Crotched has 25 trails, 5 lifts, and boosts and elevation of 2066' with a 1000’ vertical drop. The mountain was 100% open today and received a generous 6+” of fresh powder from mother nature last night. Coupled with 100% snowmaking the conditions were outstanding! Weather today was overcast in the mid 30’s and slightly windy. Tim and I paid $29 each to ski from 1-5pm for “Sunday Funday”.

We arrived around 1pm to a parking lot breaching max capacity. We were fortunate to find a morning skier on his way out and scored a parking spot. Note: this is a holiday weekend and crowds were to be expected, my report of these conditions is a simple statement of what I encountered, not a complaint. We entered the lodge and discovered a mass of people. The tickets lines stretched far, and space to boot up was rather non-existent due to the large crowds. We learned later that the mountain did not expect such a large turnout. It should also be noted that Crotched is open for both day and night skiing 9am -1am and hosts a popular Midnight Madness event on weekends and holidays. Logistically just being open 15 hours per day must put a huge strain on staffing, add in stellar snow conditions on a holiday weekend…. My kudos to the management and staff as you really put through valiant efforts to accommodate all guests.

IMG_2703.jpg

Base lodge area with lockers & cubbies. No bags are allowed on the upper level where the cafeteria, dining area, & pub are located. Note how crowded this area was today. Picture taken at approximately 1pm.

Initially the lift lines looked long, but they moved rather swiftly. The Rocket Quad brought us to the summit in minutes, lets’ say the name is fitting. We spent just under 3 hours on the mountain, and skied every trail and over 10K vert. The snow was soft, with afternoon bumps, and little to no skied off areas. The glades were open and had decent coverage. There were a few spots that made my heart flutter as I rolled over a granite face in my good skis, but overall we really enjoyed exploring all that Crotched has to offer.

IMG_2710.jpg

Trail map at the summit

IMG_2712.jpg

Top of the Rocket Quad

IMG_2705.jpg

View of the terrain park from the loading area of the Valley Lift


Overall impression: Crotched is a former lost ski area with new life that is thriving! The vibe is young, fun, and the mountain offers a nice variety of terrain. Quick lifts = many runs in a short amount of time. Value of Sunday Funday is incredible, and many families were here skiing lift served terrain for a fraction of the cost of bigger mountains.

Snowy Wishes,
Carla Frontfive

IMG_2733.jpg

Riding the West Lift, slope side condos to the right

IMG_2720.jpg

Tim on Jupiter’s Storm


IMG_2746.jpg

Sunset behind the mountain

IMG_2749.jpg

Looking downhill to the base lodge, water reservoir for snowmaking to the right


PS. I was going to omit this commentary but Tim insists I need to include it:

Dear Crotched, please hire a new DJ for your all mountain sound system. Your selection of 70’s easy listening: Chicago, If You Leave Me Now; Christopher Cross, Arthurs Theme; Neil Young, Heart of Gold; Looking Glass, Brandy;….. is not fitting for the vibrant crowd that graces your mountain. I really feel you are missing the opportunity to play something upbeat to engage the crowd on such a fine ski day.

Note: I am not referring to liftie selected music, but rather a very loud and vast reaching sound system that could be heard in all lift lines from the base of the mountain. I would estimate that 80% of the guests skiing today were under age 25, seriously this was a very young crowd.