In the mid-60s, Olympic skier Tom Corcoran scoured northern New England for just the right mountain to fulfill his vision of a year-round destination ski resort. When he saw Waterville Valley- which then had only a couple of rope tows and trails, an inn, and 500 acres of land for sale -Tom knew it was the place. The region is a snow pocket, and the U.S. Forest Service had already mapped Mount Tecumseh as a potential ski area. With guaranteed forest around its borders, Corcoran knew he could limit development by purchasing almost all of the privately held land in the valley. His aim was to ensure that the resort would not be heavily commercialized or marred by haphazard growth and with the help of a Colorado land-use consultant; he soon had a master plan in place. Now, 40 years later, the ski resort and the town have grown, but still there are no fast food outlets, chain stores, or unfettered sprawl. It feels like New England, and it still has a soul.
Since the first condos opened in 1969, Waterville Valley Resort, New Hampshire, has been well known for its ski area, which features trails and activities for all ages and abilities. From Kids' Venture Kamps to the Silver Streaks over-50 ski club, from alpine to Nordic, boarders and hot-doggers, you'll find something for every level of skier.
For young skiers, age 3 to 12, Kids Venture Kamps provide their own ski rental facility in the base lodge--no more jockeying for position with adults and older kids. A day of Venture Kamp includes lessons, rentals, lunch and even a snack for the youngest skiers. Resort staff makes sure participants have the right boots, helmets and skis or snowboards. Then it's out to the slopes, with specially designed Venture Zones ranging from Kinderpark to the black diamond True Grit. Kids can sign up for Kids Venture Kamp for a day or an entire season.
For the more mature skier, there are individual and group lessons, as well as lessons for family groups. Seniors have their own group, the Silver Streaks, the longest running senior skiing program in the country. Silver Streak members meet several times a week for fun, friendship, and coffee in
the lodge. The club provides special clinics for members only, a weekly après-ski party, banquets twice each season, and the opportunity to hang with some of the fittest seniors in the country.
No one gets left out of the fun at Waterville Valley Resort. The resort sponsors the AbilityPLUS Adaptive program, which teams physically and mentally challenged children and adults with caring volunteers who help them enjoy the thrill of skiing, free from the encumbrance of wheelchairs or braces.
Waterville Valley Resort offers 250 skiable acres with snowmaking ability on
every trail. The ski area peaks at 4,004 feet, with a vertical drop of 2,020
feet, 52 trails and 12 lifts. But for those who like their skiing with a
little less altitude, Waterville Valley's Nordic Center features 75 km of
wide-groomed trails, again with terrain for every ability level, groomed
daily for both skate and classic skiing styles. Skiers take off from the
Nordic Center in the Valley's quaint Town Square, or just step out the door
of their vacation rental--the trails are only steps away from most of the
accommodations in the valley. Once on the trail, you'll enjoy incredible
views of the surrounding White Mountain National Forest. Stop for a warm up
and a snack at the warming hut along the trail, or return to the Nordic
Center and sit by the fire.
New Hampshire has many towns that grew up around the state's travel and
tourism industry, particularly its many ski mountains. But only Waterville
Valley Resort was designed and planned specifically as a self-contained resort town. In addition to its world-class ski area, Waterville Valley Resort has award-winning tennis courts, golf, hiking, biking, lodging, an
indoor ice rink, boating, a skate park, and a host of outdoor activities. Dining options include traditional American favorites, ethnic cuisine, or elegant dining. And when it comes time for après ski or après whatever
activity you choose you'll find that Waterville Valley Resort has a wide
range of accommodations in which to relax, from single rooms to condo rentals suitable for large parties.
For more information, call 1-800-GO-VALLEY or visit visitwatervillevalley.com.