Meghan McCarthy McPhaul's Winter Notes: Ski areas have plenty of activities to warm a frigid New Year's EveBy MEGHAN McCARTHY McPHAUL December 28. 2017 9:12PM
If you’ve made it through this wicked chilly week, it’s time to celebrate — both the season and the slide from 2017 into 2018. From fireworks and torchlight parades to guided snowshoe tours and snow tubing, ski areas around the state have lots planned over the next few days. Throw in a series of First Day hikes at five different state parks and there’s plenty to do into next year.
Just make sure you wear your woolies, because one thing that flip of the calendar page won’t change is the frigid temps in the foreseeable forecast! To gear up for staying up late on New Year’s Eve, hit the slopes late night at Crotched Mountain, where Midnight Madness makes its season debut tonight and Saturday, when the lifts spin from 9 p.m. until 3 a.m. When the ski legs get tired, take a break with live entertainment and drink specials at the Onset Pub. More info at www.crotchedmtn.com.
Gunstock Mountain Resort (www.gunstock.com) hosts guided Snowshoe Ridge Tours both Friday and Saturday nights. King Pine (www.kingpine.com) offers torchlight snowtubing Friday night and snowshoe tours Saturday afternoon and Sunday evening. Great Glen Trails (www.greatglentrails.com) also offers an evening snowshoe, guided by an AMC naturalist, at 7 p.m. Saturday.
Score a cupcake at Waterville Valley (www.waterville.com) Saturday during the area’s Bruce the Moose Birthday Bash, which includes a kid-friendly scavenger hunt. For the adult (16-plus) crew, Waterville has its first Starry Nights gourmet dinner of the season, a ski-to-and-from event at Sunnyside Timberlodge.
If s’mores are more your speed, check out Loon’s Snowshoe & S’mores Après Party (www.loonmtn.com) Saturday, which includes a ride up the Seven Brothers Triple, guided snowshoe trek to Camp III for hors d’oeuvres, cocoa, s’mores, and a moonlight snowshoe back to Octagon Lodge.
Cannon Mountain has its first Family Fun Night of the season Saturday, with après ski live music in the Cannonball Pub and a bouncy house for the kids in Peabody Lodge, plus a kids’ movie in Brookside Lodge from 4:30-6 p.m. The Huckerbrook handle tow and mini park will be open under the lights from 4:30-6:30, and there’s a torchlight parade starting at 6:30, followed by fireworks.
Sunday, New Year’s Eve, will feature lots more fireworks viewing opportunities, including at Waterville Valley, King Pine, Cranmore, Gunstock, Pats Peak and Sunapee.
At Waterville, the fireworks will light up the sky over Corcoran Pond beginning at 7:30 p.m. King Pine will keep the lifts spinning until 9 p.m., with outdoor music and a campfire at the base, followed by a torchlight parade at 9 p.m. and a fireworks finale.
Cranmore (www.cranmore.com) starts New Year’s Eve off with a twilight park competition, “Shredding Into 2018,” for skiers and snowboarders, beginning at 4 p.m. The fun continues at 6 with a New Year’s Eve edition of Cranmore’s ongoing Cranapalooza party (also Friday and Saturday nights), with a DJ in Schneider Square, s’mores, and fireworks at the base of South Slope.
The Gunstock Rocks New Year’s Eve Celebration kicks off with skiing and riding until 11 p.m., with evening-long entertainment for families in the main lodge and for the 21-plus crowd in the Pistol Pub. They’ll cap the year off with a torchlight parade at 11:45 p.m., followed by midnight fireworks.
At Pats Peak (www.patspeak.com) the New Year’s in Motion party includes skiing, snowboarding, and snow tubing until 10 p.m., a Monte Carlo raffle, gourmet food stations, live music and dancing, and a midnight fireworks display.
Before the party starts at Mount Sunapee (www.mountsunapee.com), skiers and riders are invited to compete in the Jingle Jam Rail Jam, beginning at 1 p.m. and offering a $1,000 cash prize.
Sunapee will ring in the New Year a bit early, with fireworks at 9 p.m.
Shake off the party and jump into 2018 with 2-for-$77 tickets at Cannon Mountain Jan. 1.
For non-skiers, join a First Day Hike at one of these state parks: Wentworth-Coolidge Mansion State Historic Site in Portsmouth, Silver Lake State Park in Hollis, Wellington State Park in Bristol, Milan Hill State Park in Milan, or Pisgah State Park in Winchester.
Happy New Year!
Winter Notes is published on Fridays during ski season. Contact Meghan McCarthy McPhaul at email@example.com.