Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Sounds Like A Job For...Snowplough Man

That’ll be another 40 bucks then. Or possibly 80 after today. Adam, one of my US colleagues who works at Loon Mountain, moved house in the summer to a property in a lovely forest setting with a long drive. Whilst Adam, along with the rest of us, thinks snow as often as possible, the problem he has is that, every time there is heavy snowfall, it costs him $40 to get a guy with a snowplough over to clear his drive.

Carving it up on Loon yesterday
Friday saw a fantastic snowstorm blanket the White Mountains (wow, they are really living up to their name this season!) of New Hampshire, with the number of inches (will our Atlantic cousins ever go metric?) of the white stuff recorded reaching double figures in just a few hours across all 5 mountains which are covered by the multi-mountain lift pass. It would have been a busy weekend up at Loon, and I did wonder a couple of times on Saturday if Adam had had time to call Snowplough Man before heading off to work. With further significant snowfall yesterday, Loon alone has picked up 17½” of fresh pow in the past 7 days, adding to an impressive total picked up in January, and to poor old Adam’s bill from Snowplough Man.

The house in question is actually around half way between Loon Mountain and its near neighbour Waterville Valley. Another peek at the snow reports this morning revealed another huge dump had covered the region again yesterday, and whilst all 5 mountains were blessed with this, Waterville Valley seems to have been the major beneficiary, receiving 10” in just 24 hours. Did Snowplough Man have to call round to Adam’s again?  

Calm after the (first) storm - Cannon Sat 26 feb
With 20” of new snow in the past 4 days, Cannon Mountain, just 15 minutes or so to the north of Loon, has breached the 200 inch mark for the season so far – and we’re only just over half way through! An annual average snowfall of 160” alone is well worth shouting about, but they’ve now got 202” on the board and counting!

Now I’m lucky enough to be heading over to NH myself in exactly 2 weeks’ time. (Yes, I know, I am really lucky - to quote an old adage, “it’s a dirty job, but...). With a small group of Virgin Holidays staff in tow, after hitting all above-mentioned slopes, we’re also going to be spending a couple of days in the Mount Washington Valley. With the rustic charm of Merrill Farm Resort as our base, where I know we’re going to be so well looked after by Carin-Ingbeborg and her team, I’m already itching to get up to Cranmore  and Wildcat Mountains.
Through Cranmore's trees
When playing on Cranmore Mountain’s beautiful south-facing slopes, overlooking the town of North Conway nestling below, I’m going to testing out the new South Quad, whilst some of the first-timers in the group will doubtless be honing their newfound skills on Beginner Basin, served by the new C’More Double chair. With Cranmore’s 20” of fresh fluffy stuff over the past 4 days, I can’t imagine there can be a better place for them to do that. And hopefully Snowplough Man won’t be needed to clear the way when I get to take my first exhilarating ride on the Mountain Coaster, installed for this season near the extended tubing park.
(Wild)cat's got the cream!
Whilst I love a snowy day, the views from Wildcat Mountain are regularly rated among the best in eastern America, and I can’t help but agree whenever I gaze on a clear day from the feline-named trails over Mt Washington, the highest peak in the north-eastern USA. The last time I skied Wildcat Mountain was on a bluebird day in late March last year, with the slopes beautifully groomed after some hefty late season snow. The past week’s accumulation of 19” of snow in this stunning area of National Forest must surely bode well for a great day’s skiing (sorry if I’m starting to sound a little excited..., but wouldn’t you be?)

So, Adam, how many times has Snowplough Man been round to visit in the last few days? Whilst I’d like to say I’m sorry to hear about your snowplough bill, I’m sure all that new snow has put a smile on your face which is much bigger than the frown caused by the odd snow-clearing bill. And, if I’m honest, I can’t really say I’m that sorry.

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