January 2, 2020
Day 10
Skiers: Carla & Erica

Wow I am already at day 10 for my NH Talls & Smalls Adventure! Waterville Valley is an independent ski area located on Mount Tecumseh with a summit of 4.004’. Established in 1966 (same year as Loon) it offers 62 trails, and 12 lifts providing a large variety of terrain for novice, intermediate, and expert skiers.
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Base area as seen from the White Peaks Quad. Left: main lodge, 3 levels that includes ample seating, marketplace, restaurant, and ski school/daycare. Middle: Ski shop. Right: Rental shop & restaurant. Far right: Waffle Cabin. Foreground: Exhibition Poma Lift for Terrain park. Background: Mount Tripyramid, note you can see all three peaks. Left to right: North, Middle, & South.

Weather today was overcast, but the sun managed to peek through the clouds and it was gorgeous! Temps in the low 30’s allowed for aggressive snow blowing in multiple areas. The past few days in the White Mountains most areas received flurries, but also sleet and freezing rain. Waterville definitely got all SNOW- this is my first ski day since Wildcat where the tree tops were frosted over, it was a spectacular sight!

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Upslope High Country, Looking ahead towards summit of Mount Tecumseh. Look at those beautifully snow frosted trees!

Erica and I used free mid-week passes we received from supporting Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth (CHaD) for a Warren Miller movie event. Today was a bonus ski day for us, as E was scheduled to return to school….. (if anyone asks, she got a full day of mountain education that will enrich her growth and future potential)

Waterville had 42 trails open, but sadly my go-to area on the Sunnyside was closed (True Grit, Gema, Ciao, & Lower Bobby’s) despite having what appeared to be an amazing deep snow base. I discovered later that the mountain experienced a small fire on the lift line that serves this area earlier in the week. Also closed was Green Peak expansion area and High Country.

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Looking up at the High Country Peak from the top of the White Peaks Quad. Schwendi Hutte to the left.

We took the White Peaks Express Quad to the summit and skied our first run on Oblivion. The snow was plentiful, beautifully groomed with a soft surface. This is my all-time favorite blue trail, a narrow cut old school trail that flanks the side of the mountain. From Oblivion we went onto Upper Valley Run and worked our way into the Sugar Shack Glades and out onto Rock Island.

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View of skiers headed down Oblivion, taken from the deck of the Schwendi Hutte

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Skiing through the Sugar Shack Glades


Years back on a full family ski day including Taylor & Kamryn we came across a rubber chicken in the middle of Oblivion. Not a sole around us but here was this chicken…. So, what’s a family to do besides toss the chicken football style to each other on the way down the trail. We made chicken jokes, took turns riding with the chicken on the chair lift, and continued to play until finally returning him to Oblivion. Well wouldn’t you know I could have been winner winner of that chicken dinner! The local radio station broadcasting from the resort was giving a prize to the skier who found the chicken and turned it in at the radio booth. No clue what the prize was that I didn’t win, but my memories of that day are priceless!

Back to present day: Returning to the top we were kind of at a loss where to ski next since the Sunnyside was closed. We took a gamble and headed towards Periphery, another blue that flanks the opposite side of the mountain. We entered off of Tangent and encountered a field of bumps. Now I have not even though of bumps since my MCL tear, and Erica has traditionally not been a fan of them. Before I know it, Erica is gone, like weaving through these beasts like it nothing. So, I follow suit and soon discover these moguls are soft and fluffy with minimal ice in the grooves. We took this bump line down to the base of the Northside lift. It was exhilarating! Rinse and repeat for the next 6 runs.

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Erica in the bumps on Tangent

We took a break inside the Schwendi Hutte, then headed out to Oblivion, then back up to ski Upper Bobby’s and Psyched. This was fun but Tangent & Periphery were calling our names. I honestly have never had such a fun day in bumps, and I never felt nervous or that my knee could not handle these.

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Views of Mount Osceola, East Peak, and Mount Kancamagus from Tangent. Northside lift to the right. Look at those beautiful bumps!

There have been many additions and upgrades since I was last here in April of 2018. The J bar in the learning are has been replaced with a newly installed magic carpet. The base lodge has been renovated on the third level, with beautiful large windows providing expansive views over the learning area and lifts. There used to be a large deck on this side of the building where you could enter into Buckets, Bones, and Brews. According to the Waterville website, “Coming this season is the new Freestyle Lounge. The renovated 3rd floor of the Base Lodge will feature the best mountain views, perfect for enjoying beers or hot cocoa, lunch, and post skiing/riding snacks”.

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Inside the base lodge, second floor. Pictured is one of two central fireplaces. Note the three “Kul” kids hanging on the hooks

Overall impression: Waterville is one of my most favorite mountains that I frequent often. There is a large variety of terrain for all skier levels, and there is always a sweet spot to be found. I have never had a bad ski day here and the conditions are always favorable, even when neighboring mountains may be poor. The care and attention to the resort as an independent is outstanding, meaning they don’t skimp or cut corners. It’s like going to a local amusement park and discovering they have higher standards than Disney. I had such a great day here with Erica and am certain to return several more times this season…. Hopefully I’ll get lucky and Snows Mountain (the original Waterville Valley ski area) will be open to add an extra mountain to my NH list!

Snowy Wishes,
Carla Frontfive