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Skiing The East in Franconia Notch, NH

Tuesday morning: Light cloud cover, temps in the thirties. While the East Coast may not have the tallest mountains, we do have plenty of snow. Although the mountainsides in the Notch are mostly tree covered, there are ice climbs, rock slabs, and chutes along the side of the ridge. Our sites were set on one of the several chutes. Dodge and I began our day by lapping the road a couple times, trying to find the right pull off in which to park the car. Only a few minutes into the hike I had to stop to take off a layer; the temperature was forecasted to climb into the upper forties. We planned to be skiing out before the warming ice above us in the gully became a hazard. We followed a snowmobile trail parallel to the road, then broke away from it to follow a boot packed trail. I don't have an AT setup, so I was snowshoeing. On the boot packed, narrow trail we were ascending, snowshoes were a better choice than skins. The trail we were following led to an ice climb, but before we reached the base of the pillar we traversed into the drainage of the gully. We hiked up, making some switchbacks across the steep slope. After taking a break to eat a bar and drink some water, we shed skis and snowshoes to continue up the steep incline. Once the base turned to ice we stopped again. I had no crampons, but Dodge put his on and kept climbing. 

He climbed as high as possible without transitioning to ice climbing then skied back down, descending carefully to avoid the waterfalls, rocks, and ice bulges in the narrow gully. We both skied down the more open lower section, avoiding the trees and roots washed though by summertime floods.  

We exited a narrow stream bed. After a couple small waterfalls and rock drops, we skied though the woods until we met up again with the snowmobile trail. We skied back along it until we returned to where we had parked the car. If you're willing to look for it, you can find some classic east coast skiing around here.

About The Author

stash member Johanna

From New Hampshire, 17 years old. I'm an aspiring outdoorswoman, and I'm always looking for opportunities to do what scares me and get better at the things I'm passionate about. I love to ski. I also hike, mountain bike, road bike, and rock climb.