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Black Mountain (NH) 2/3/21

Zand

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 30, 2003
Messages
3,671
Points
63
Location
Spencer, MA
Resort or Ski Area
Black Mountain
Date
Feb 3, 2021
Snow Conditions
  1. Powder
  2. Packed Powder
  3. Sticky
  4. Chopped or Crud
  5. Crust
This mountain has always kinda been off my radar until I bought the Indy Pass this year and with NH being the only legally accessible state for me at the time, I did want to finally get up to the MWV and check this place out. Other than a day at Wildcat in college, I've never even ventured into this part of NH. Watching the radar yesterday, a band seemed to croak this area and I decided it would be a good time to check it out.

Let's get right to the pros and cons as I had never been here and I feel like it never gets reviewed...

Pros

1. Really cool old school family atmosphere.
2. Uncrowded
3. Parking right on the snow...in fact I parked so close that my front bumper was touching corduroy
4. Theres some crazy stuff in the nooks and crannies if you like cliff drops and that sort of thing

Cons

1. It skis way smaller than I expected. This is partially due to only the 750' vert triple being open, but I feel like the summit wouldn't add much more time to any given run.

2. Bizarre trail opening/closing selections. Nice smooth snow covered trails closed while bare, rocky, prickerbushy trails open.

3. Southern exposure killed the powder day. It was warm and sunny early which really make it manky by noon, then the clouds and cooler temps moved in and everything quickly turned to crust.

4. Confusing as hell layout and trail intersections/interruptions seemingly every 100 feet. And the trail map absolutely blows so good luck figuring the place out.

While a whole day to explore one 750 vert lift seems like it would get boring quick (and with the conditions going south quickly, it kinda did), I was still finding new hidden stuff right up till closing. This mountain has cutoffs, random woods shots, and loop trails all over the place.

Skiers left was the mellow side of the hill, with some longer but flattish cruisers and some crappy glades that just kind of wandered with no pitch. The cruisers were over in about 45 seconds but they were pretty fun and covered with perfect packed powder where they were groomed.

Down the middle were the three "main" trails that had some nice pitch in the middle, but I could've driven 3 less hours and skied identical trails at Wachusett. Theyre over before you start. Some very short but interesting glades here as well. Diamond Cut and Bat Cave were nice runs that had a little bit of length. Maple glades were just one patch of trees with a cliff in the middle.

Skiers right had some fun narrow trails with good pitch in a couple areas. But you had to kinda traverse way over and way back to access from the triple, so you're only getting like 300' vert out of the actual runs. A couple nice woods shots in here too with steep sections and cliffs. I keep saying "shots" because you were lucky to find anything that took more than 30 seconds to ski. Plus the infamous Mr Rew is over here which honestly can't ever be good. I love nasty natural trails as much as the next guy, but holy shit was it bad.

I'm not totally sure what to think of the place at this point. I loved the atmosphere and old school feel. I really want to try it again with the summit open and on a day that's either cloudy and cool or a warm sunny spring day when the southern exposure would be beneficial. At the same time, I was pissed all day that I drove nearly 4 hours to ski one 750' lift and that the great conditions didn't hold up very long. Going to Cannon tomorrow which is going to feel like freaking Whistler in comparison.

So, Black, you're a really weird ass place that disappointed me today but yet I really want to give another chance.
 

bizarrefaith

Member
Joined
Feb 12, 2019
Messages
81
Points
8
Nice report, too bad it didn't work out better for you. Black is a great little mountain. I try to get there at least once a year, it's a special place with a unique, low-key vibe. If you try again, this guide might help:


Interested to see your report from Cannon today - looks like most of the glades are open but I'm somewhat skeptical, given where they were last weekend, that the snow they got this week was enough to really make them enjoyable.
 

deadheadskier

Moderator
Staff member
Moderator
Joined
Mar 6, 2005
Messages
25,924
Points
83
Location
Southeast NH
Too bad you didn't catch it when at 100%. The double does make a big difference in how big it skis. Still obviously not large, but it does have a really nice set of glades with some great drops on skiers right that flow well down to either the lower skiers right trails or the middle cruisers. Skiers left off the summit is short but a pretty steep pitch. The lift line of the top of the double can also be fun when it's deep enough to cover the pucker brush.

Sadly I think Blacks days are numbered. Hard to see how they can stay in business with so few skier visits. Not sure anyone would be interested in buying the place
 

thebigo

Active member
Joined
May 15, 2005
Messages
990
Points
43
Location
NH seacoast
NH is full of excellent standalone mountains but much of the potential is unrealized from a true resort or ski town perspective. I often find myself wondering what Jackson would look like today had thorn/tyrol survived, been tied into the village and Black been built out. A gondola from Jackson village accessing that range of terrain, with north conway a short drive, would be unique in the east. As it is I have no idea how Black survives; unfortunately I suspect when the lifts die they may take the mountain with them.
 

eatskisleep

Active member
Joined
Dec 23, 2003
Messages
1,132
Points
38
The summit of Black is amazing. Double blacks that are just as steep as anything. Lostbo glades, cliff band right below the lift. Fun spot. Good report sorry to hear only the triple was running.
 
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