Mount Washington, The Presidential Range, and The White Mountains have some great ski terrain. The higher and more sought after terrain is awesome and there are some fantastic ski descents. Our area has a special benefit of often having a stable snowpack in this great terrain. That stability comes with a mature snowpack and moderating temperatures that occur usually after the middle of March. Of course there will be good skiing most years in the early season but it will be fickle. For someone who is interested in skiing the awesome terrain of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range with a guide, it is best to be patient and wait till the middle of March through the middle of April.

Waiting till mid March won’t guarantee good conditions but it increases the chances substantially. So the way I see it is, in December you might get a day or two of good skiing up high if we have early snow and the chances for snow in the non-trail avalanche safe areas is nearly zero. In January you might get 6 or 7 days up high that are good and in mid to late January you might get a few days down low in the non-trail avalanche safe areas. In February the low skiing starts to get pretty good so long as we have a typical or better snow year so you’ll get 6 or 7 days of decent snow down low and about the same number up high. Unfortunately some of those days are the same so February has about 10-11 days of good conditions. Early March is about the same so the first two weeks of March you can expect 5 or so days of good skiing somewhere. The sweet spot, mid March to mid-April you can get 3-5 days a week of good skiing or 12-20 days in that time period.

These are estimates and every season is different. I would suggest if possible, play the odds. Backcountry skiing requires deep snow to cover over the terrain and stable snow because our high terrain here isn’t as diverse in steepness, so we find ourselves either getting into avalanche terrain up high or skiing only down low.

Backcountry Ski Day

There are numerous areas on Mount Washington and in the Presidentials to ski.  The best strategy is to go where the best snow is given peoples fitness and experience skinning.  Some areas are harder to get to so fitness and equipment is key to accessing the terrain.  Having alpine touring equipment with skins and ski crampons or telemark gear with skins and ski crampons opens up lots of terrain.  For snowboarders having a split board with skins and board crampons or carrying your board with snowshoes and boot crampons (that fit your snowboard boots)  also works but is a bit more strenuous. Renting alpine touring ski gear is possible but most rental programs do not have ski crampons.  In lots of conditions the ski crampons are not necessary but in the type of snowpack we have it is very helpful to have them and can make a big difference in your day.


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