December 21, 2019
Day 4
Skiers: Carla

Todays forecast was a brisk 3 degrees Fahrenheit, with sunny skies and no wind. Based on overall conditions and a favorable snow report listing 27/46 trails open, I chose Gunstock for mountain #4 for my Talls & Smalls adventure.

I skied solo as Tim & Erica were finishing up some holiday shopping. It was a pleasant drive north on various back roads and I arrived early enough to secure prime parking across from the main lodge. I used a SkiNH voucher that I received from Tim as an anniversary gift for my ticket, and I was not charged a fee for issue of a RFID card. Considering I packed a lunch from home, my total out of pocket cost today was zero!

My last visit to Gunstock was in 2011 and I am not familiar with this mountain. I forgot to grab a trail map as I headed onto the lifts but found it very easy to navigate. I started my day on the Panorama High Speed Quad and found two choices once I reached the summit: go left or go right. Left trail Upper Gunsmoke is a nice peripheral narrow cut blue trail that branched into several lower blue trails returning to the base. Right trail Upper Ramrod to Derringer are similar blues, and provided access to blacks Cannonball & Tiger. The majority of my day was spent alternating left and right. I did ride the Tiger Triple, Pistol Triple, and Ramrod Quad to mid-mountain access points.

Snow conditions varied from trail to trail. While some of the snow was firmly packed and smooth, other areas were choppy with frozen granular. Actually, describing the choppy areas as frozen granular is rather generous, as my skis where bouncing and speed was not an option unless I wanted to be tossed off balance. It definitely was not as severe as dreaded death cookies…. maybe more like cookie crumbles mixed with larger nuggets. My knowledge of snow adjectives is clearly lacking. Regardless, I greatly enjoyed my time on the slopes and give a huge kudos to the groomers and snowmakers who were actively working on opening more terrain. NH weather is such a rollercoaster of surprises. In the past week we have received torrential rain, high winds, snow, followed by more rain, fog, more snow, and a deep freeze with temps in the single digits. All considered- just having coverage deserves kudos!

Views from the summit were spectacular! Gunstock is located in the Belknap Mountains in central NH, overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee. Visiting Gunstock on a clear day was essential, and the views today did not disappoint. Towards the end of my day, I had the pleasure of meeting Santa on the summit. He said to me “Aside from the north pole, this is the best view in the whole world”.

I spent very little time in the lodge, but did note a large fireplace on the main level flanked by Christmas trees, a cafeteria, pub, and sports shop. The lower level where I booted up & ate my brown bag lunch was a large open area with bag check, seating, bathrooms, and was definitely busier than the main level of the lodge.

Overall impression: Outstanding lift access options, quick RFID pass, & no waiting in line. Nice variety of open trails and dedication to fight mother nature post a difficult weather week. Fun solo day skiing & bonus visit with Santa!

Snowy Wishes,
Carla Frontfive

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Snowmaking on the summit, looking northeast across Lake Winnipesaukee from Upper Ramrod

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Looking down Upper Gunsmoke

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Sun peaking over the summit, took this picture around 10am.

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Looking down trail from Upper Ramrod. Note orange line across Upper Trigger, not yet open but looking like it should be soon.

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At base looking up towards the Children’s Center & the Ramrod Quad

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Firm smooth snow

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Frozen granular, AKA cookie crumbles with nuggets

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Visit with Santa, in my green coat I look like his elf!

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Spectacular views of Lake Winnipesaukee, and surrounding mountains! I have to thank Steve Smith @mountainwandering.blogspot.com for helping me identify these peaks: Snow covered peak is Mount Washington with some of the Southern Presidentials to the left. Mt. Passaconaway is the dark peak on the far left. Part of the Ossipee Range is on the right.