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Gunstock vs Ragged vs Pats

MadPadraic

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I'm contemplating getting a pass to one of these for my "day-trip" mountain next year. I'm leaning towards Gunstock because of night skiing and its slightly shorter drive time from Boston. Why should I choose Ragged over Gunstock? Is one much more aggressive in terms of opening terrain or extending the season?
 

xwhaler

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Paging DHS.....this is right in your wheelhouse buddy. I prefer ragged myself. Best tree skiing of the 3 and T2B continuous vertical. Gunstock can get busy on mid winter Saturdays while i don't think ragged ever has many lines. Depending on where ur coming from u could also consider Crotched
 

bobbutts

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Pat's is probably too small to keep you engaged all season and the slow chairs make it slower to lap. Ragged has better glades and the 6-pack eats lines pretty well. Gunstock's night skiing is only serviced by slower chairlifts and not to the summit. I'd consider Crotched, Wildcat, Attitash pass, you get nights and quick trips to Crotched and two larger mtns that are day trippable still from Boston.
 

Savemeasammy

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I'm a pass holder at Pats. To be honest, Pats is a small, family-oriented mountain. It doesn't have a ton of vertical, and their glades are pretty weak. However, to it's credit, it's still a pretty decent little mountain. They seem to have a decent budget, which translates to pretty good snowmaking (100%) coverage. I recall once this season that I waited in a line that I was annoyed about. It turned out to be 15 minutes! For me, it's all about the night skiing. I live less than 15 minutes away, and the whole mountain is lit up (except for one beginner trail). They also offer their passholders ticket deals to Sunapee (before Pats is open and after they close) as well as Jay (I think it is half price).
 

mlkrgr

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Wouldn't choose Pats... run outs are pretty long for the amount of true skiing there but of course it's a different ballgame if you live close by. When I went there, I was bored and ended up leaving in 3 hours; and that's coming from the mouth of someone who usually skis bell to bell (or the best I can do otherwise w/ extraneous constraints) and yes, I did 5 days at Waterville; 3 of them being bell to bell and the other 2 being weekend days 1 hr from that. Gunstock provides great vertical through the HSQ but the Attitash/Wildcat/Crotched combo is quite good as well as you can get some variety there.
 

thetrailboss

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I've only been to Gunstock and Pats. The drive from Boston to Pats is simple and fast. The service there is great and the folks are real friendly. If you have kids it is a good place. But other than that you will probably get bored. They do blow a ton of snow and the expert terrain, though short, is legit. Nice bar. The new area that they are adding is not going to change things IMHO. Still 700 vertical feet with maybe the bottom 100 feet or so being pretty flat.

Gunstock was interesting...when the HSQ is running it makes the place feel pretty big. The upper mountain is very different than the lower portions. And the night skiing is the lower sections as said. The lodge is old school. I never drove there from Boston, but I don't consider it to be too easy...about the same as Ragged actually in that you have to leave the highway and drive for a while. But then again it is probably much more direct to take 16 off of 95.

The Crotched/Snow/Attitash may be a good option as said because you get some variety there. It will be interesting to see what the deals will be. Ragged, from what I've been hearing, has been doing OK.
 

MadPadraic

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Thanks for the replies. I should mention that I'll have other passes, so I'll likely get my woods fix at these further away places. Is there any appreciable difference in season length either in terms of official opening/closing or how long it takes them to actually most of the terrain open?
 

yeggous

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Of the three you mention, Ragged is my favorite. Unfortunately they are probably on the slower end of opening but usually last longer into spring. Ragged's main lift is very fast and of the options they have the best terrain. The food in their lodge is reasonably priced and very good quality for a ski area. The whoopie pies are amazing. This is an under appreciated mountain, probably because it is far from the highway so people would rather drive the extra 30 minutes to Waterville / Loon / Cannon.

I agree that you should strongly consider the Crotched / Attitash / Wildcat pass. The two mountains up north would be a great extra option for bigger mountains. Crotched probably has the best snow making and is fastest to open in NH. Their night skiing goes the latest and they have a HSQ now. Ski until 3am? Yes sir! The lodge is simple but functional. Unfortunately there aren't any easy routes off the summit for novices. This place has become popular with the locals from the Peterborough / Nashua / Manchester / Lowell area.

I see no reason to even consider Pat's Peak. It is small, gets crowded, and has slow lifts.

Gunstock has the most vertical of the options. However, their night skiing is not impressive. They only operate the slow lifts on the lower mountain. The mountain also lacks continuous vertical as their is an awkward flat stretch in the middle of all the runs. Their HSQ is nice, but it gets crowded on weekends. In comparison, lift lines are absolutely unheard of at Ragged or Crotched. I think the market that keeps Gunstock going is all the people with second homes in the lakes region.
 

St. Bear

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I think Ragged has the best natural terrain in So NH. The 6-pack does get crowded on the weekends and holidays, but there's never a line on the Spear Triple. I'd say they're middle of the road in terms of opening terrain and staying open late. Not spectacular, but they recover well from freeze/thaws. A little conservative in dropping ropes.

I have much less experience in Gunstock, but I believe they would have better snowmaking coverage. Night skiing too, if you can take advantage of it. I was surprised to see that they have the same vertical as Ragged. Last time at Gunstock, if felt like it skied a lot smaller.

Agreed that Pats doesn't compare to the other two. Unless you have young kids that would be in the ski school, or you live really close by, I wouldn't consider it as an option.
 

dlague

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I ski all three, four if you include Crotched!

I think that Gunstock has trails that are more interesting and you can get to everything from the HSQ. Their night skiing is better than others mentioned here. The night skiing runs ski bigger even tough it is not from the summit - they are spread out. Tiger triple services the best night skiing runs out of all three here. Overall, many different options of trail combos from Panorama! Regarding facilities, Gunstock has a decent Pub and the food in not bad.

Ragged's 6-pack services a part of the mountian that can be pretty boring if skied over and over. Yes the glades are better at Ragged but only a part of their glades is available from the Express chair. The Spear Triple is super slow and when it is cold you know it!! However, I do like the trails on the Spear Mountain side! Overall, trail distribution is pretty good. Tallulahs has a good vide and their Bistro has probably the best food of the four mention here.

Pats Peak is fun but after sking there for an hour or two you can get really bored! We went to Pats on two Saturday's and it gets crazy busy and since their chairs are all slow it can be a tough day! Lots and Lots of kids there! There are two steeper runs Cyclone and Tornado as well as a nice bump run (Hurricane) that are fun but the run out is a killer (no grade). I find myself skiing FIS and Twister a lot. Night skiing is fun there too but do not go on a Saturday night! The Sled Pub has the nicest atmosphere of all four mentioned here and their food is pretty good too! Pats is the easiest to get to! Best snowmaking!

Crotched Mountain is awesome with the addition of the new HSQ (Rocket). Up in 4 Minutes and there a good combination of trails but like Pats, it is fun for abut 2 hours then it feels repetitive! Only one trail is flat and we never ski it! Crotched is a little more off the beaten path out of all of them. We generally ski Crotched from 2:30-5 and that is plenty! It is a nice smaler ski area! Their bar - well it is like a fenced in area! Feels weird and as far as their food - its OK!

All four have decent a decent lodge, all four have a cafeteria, three of the four have express chairs (exception is Pats). Ragged and Gunstock have about the same acreage, but Gunstock has a little more vert! Pats peak is addinig about 6 more trails and a HS triple - not sure is that is all this year! I think Ragged has some expansion plans but the details are vague at this time.

In summary - I would probably pick Gunstock with Ragged being a close second. Pats peak and Crotched are in a different class. They are not bad but a season pass - I do not think so! Pats and Crotched are less than half the size of the other two and Gunstock has twice the verticle of Pats!

A Gunstock downer - I hate walking from the main lodge to the chairs, with ski boots and carrying gear it seems like a hike!
 

thetrailboss

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Length of season: I can tell you that Pats has been aggressive in terms of opening early. They used to open the first weekend of December, now they usually go one weekend before or so.

Ragged, as said, is a bit slower.

Gunstock: good question for DHS. Gunstock is owned and run by Belknap County, but they have committed to running it right.
 

xwhaler

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Last yr Ragged offered a joint pass w/ Dartmouth Skiway for an additional $50. Assuming they do this again a Ragged/Dartmouth pass would cost $479 with no blackout days.
Gunstock is $399....Crotched $399 but you can upgrade to the Granite Classic pass for $499 and includes Attitash/Wildcat with only a few blackout dates.

If you are looking to maximize the value of the pass I'd vote for the Peaks Granite offering since Crotched blows a lot of snow and will probably open by Thanksgiving wknd while Wildcat will go through April most years.

I'd prob only ever get a Gunstock pass if they had a night only offering and I loved close enough such that I could be there a couple nights/week after work. Better options for wknds in this area I think.
 

Smellytele

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Okay I would say Pats has the best snow making of the 3. Ragged has the worst.
Ragged is the best when it has snow but it doesn't seem to get much.
As others have said Gunstock gets the most crowded.
Pats has Hurricane which is a great bump run.
Ragged has great glades.
Night skiing at Pats and Gunstock.
I think Gunstock has the best vert of the 3.
If I had to pay I wouldn't get a season pass at any of them.
 

Boston Bulldog

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Ragged would be a great place to think about for the long term. Their future plans include:

1. Replacing Spear Mountain with an express quad
2. Building out to a 3rd peak
3. Hotel near base

I know nothing about the timing of all this but each winter could provide something new!
 

riverc0il

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I'm contemplating getting a pass to one of these for my "day-trip" mountain next year. I'm leaning towards Gunstock because of night skiing and its slightly shorter drive time from Boston. Why should I choose Ragged over Gunstock? Is one much more aggressive in terms of opening terrain or extending the season?
I think you have answered your own questions here. :) Gunstock has a better drive than Ragged. And if night skiing is important, they have that as well. Your other night skiing options are Pats and Crotched. Crotched is superior to Pats for night skiing for sure. Pats is an okay place. I wouldn't make it a regular stop if you are coming up from Boston, you'll be better served by a larger mountain for your money. Ragged has the best glades south of the White Mountains. They have a nice little tree area but it isn't super expansive. Natural snow can be an issue for their glades but they are good when they are open.

Are there any other factors that might be of concern? I'd rule out Ragged if you are interested in night skiing and I'd look at Gunstock vs. Crotched instead of Gunstock vs Pats as your choice. As others have pointed out, you can add on Attitsh/Wildcat for a bit more cash if that works for you.
 

xwhaler

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I think you have answered your own questions here. :) Gunstock has a better drive than Ragged.

I was curious about this as while it intuitively seems that Gunstock is closer to Boston than Ragged I checked Google maps. Using Boston as the starting point, Gunstock says it is 1 hr 51 mins while Ragged says it is 2 hrs even. Ragged's route does not have you going via New Canada Rd off Route 4 which would probably save you the 10 minute difference if you had a truck or a car with decent ground clearance to handle that road. That said I'm sure one could still reach Gunstock a bit faster due to the extra time on the highway vs Route 4 but I think Ragge'ds reputation as out of the way is a bit undeserved. Though perhaps this limits the crowds.

Gunstock gets skied off so quickly on weekend Saturdays I've found and the many trail intersections coming off the HSQ make the mtn ski smaller than its 1400' vertical would suggest.
I do enjoy their night operation though----ripping groomers on the Pistol and Tiger chairs is fun.

I'd probably choose the Peaks Granite Classic pass myself for $499....consistently long season, night skiing, and lack of crowds at Crotched vs Gunstock. Can bang out a ton of runs on their new HSQ which makes it a great place for a few hrs. I'd even argue that Crotcheds glades are more expansive and better than what Gunstock has.
 
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