Holiday Ski Trip 2013, Part 1 of 2

The Top of Cranmore Ski Resort
The Mount Washington Valley from the Cranmore Ski Resort

Oh, by the way, over the holidays we took a wonderful little trip to one of our favorite (though it apparently doesn’t make our top 5 list) corners of the US: North Conway, New Hampshire and the Mount Washington Valley.  It was a nice little jaunt of 10 days, having left the day after Christmas and returning on Saturday the 4th.  This area holds the special place in our hearts of being where we learned to ski.  Way back in 1998 we had some free tickets on Southwest that were about to expire so we decided to do the New England “B&B thing”.  All the trip’s decisions were driven by opportunity and circumstance:

  • We have free airfare and if we don’t use it we’ll lose it, so we had to go soon.
  • Lori was teaching, so that limited our options to when school was out–meaning holiday season.
  • Well, if it’s holiday time, this couple from (at the time) South Mississippi wanted to see some real snow!
  • The tickets were on Southwest: hmm, where does Southwest fly where there’s snow?
Back then we stayed at the Dana Place Inn, a wonderful little B&B with an unfortunate past (which we didn’t learn about until much after we had stayed).  We had three days and the owner asked what a couple from Mississippi planned to do there; when we said we hadn’t a clue, she suggested we take ski lessons.  Sixteen years later and we’re not too bad at it.


Chuck & Lori at the Golden Gables Inn, North Conway NH
At The Golden Gables Inn, North Conway, NH
Susan & Randy–Lori’s sister and our nearly tireless travel buddies–met us in Manchester, despite a winter storm dumping up and down the east coast.  This time around we stayed at the Golden Gables Inn near “downtown” North Conway.  It was a wonderful place: spotless, comfortable, and affordable.  There’s a pretty good chance whenever we return to North Conway, we’ll either stay there or at their sister property, The Golden Apple Inn.
Our skiing was evenly split between Bretton Woods and Cranmore.  I’ve long said that Bretton Woods is my favorite ski resort, and we certainly enjoyed this return visit.  There was no shortage of snow this trip: we had two nor’easters come through, each dropping about a foot of the white stuff.  While the skiing was good, and typically New England (wet, sometimes thick, and icy) the temperatures were enough to drive Chuck to purchase–and actually wear–long johns: Columbia base layers, to be exact.
Chuck & Lori in
North Conway Was A Winter Wonderland
Friday–our first day–we spent at Bretton Woods.  Randy rented his equipment, his boot liners having deteriorated beyond use.  Rental gear is never good for people used to their own stuff, so the next day we spent several hours–and lots of bucks–buying not only new boots for Randy, but also new skis for Randy and (what the heck) new boots for Chuck.  Chuck even got a new pair of “high performance ski poles”!  The folks at Joe Jones loved to see us that day.  Sunday we just had to try out our new stuff at nearby Cranmore while the women went shopping (North Conway has a huge outlet mall).  It was a great day of skiing and we only had to go back to Joe Jones for a couple of minor equipment adjustments.
The next day, Monday, we went back to Cranmore.  The first nor’easter of our trip was forecast to come in that day and we figured it best to be close in town than 30 minutes north in Bretton Woods.  All was going wonderfully until Randy fell…
Now we might have mentioned before that Randy’s knees aren’t in good shape.  Not surprisingly Susan made Chuck promise that he wouldn’t take Randy on blues or blacks.  Diligently following Susan’s directive, the guys were on a green, and had been skiing a good solid day.  Which meant that Randy was tired.  Chuck followed and watched as Randy, in slow motion, laid down to avoid a child.  He was going so slowly, and he went chest forward, so (Chuck thought) good thing Randy didn’t hurt his knee.  But then Randy rolled over, clutching his shoulder, saying, “I broke something.”

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