Though ski acreage is limited, Waterville Valley features a full offering of resort amenities including a gorgeous mountain village just down the road.
Located at the end of NH-49 in the heart of the White Mountains lies Waterville Valley, a fairly small but full service resort with plenty of character. One of only a handful of Eastern US resorts with a summit elevation topping out over 4000 feet, Waterville has been cultivating a crowd of racers, freestylers, and families since the first trails on Mt. Tecumseh were cut in the 1930s. With plenty of snowmaking and an eye on expansion, Waterville is poised to remain one of New Hampshire’s top resorts for years to come.
Waterville Valley has been a household name in New Hampshire since it’s opening in 1966. The resort claims itself as the “Birthplace of Freestyle Skiing” as original owner Tom Corcoran and friend Doug Pfeiffer led the first National Open Championships of Freestyle Skiing on its slopes in 1970. Much earlier, trails had been cut on Mt. Tecumseh as early as 1930, and today the resort offers 230 acres of terrain serviced by 11 lifts. Most recently, Waterville Valley is also known for Olympic mogul skiing gold medalist Hannah Kearney who grew up on its slopes.
A perfect resort for families, 80% of the terrain at Waterville is rated for beginners or intermediates. Off the mountain, Waterville offers a multitude of amenities, restaurants, and accommodations. While the mountain base itself is not very large, just a short five-minute drive down the road leads visitors to the town of Waterville Valley, including the Town Square area. Here, travelers can find shops, restaurants, bars, many different forms of recreation, and even the chance at seeing live music. Seasonal bus service can transport resort goers to and from the mountain to the center of town, so there is no need for a car at this resort experience.
The “resort at the end of the road,” due to winter road closures, Waterville is easily accessed but offers a quaint experience for those who want a White Mountain getaway. The town does have a small number of year-round residents, but the winter season brings more activity, entertainment, and a multitude of visitors from all over.
Waterville Valley Pros and Cons
+ Simple resort layout is easy to get around and perfect for families.
+ Full-service resort provides everything travelers could need for a White Mountain vacation.
+ Plenty of beginner and intermediate terrain available for those learning and looking to progress their skills.
- Lack of challenging terrain may frustrate advanced skiers and riders.
- Small acreage may cause skiers and riders to lose interest on a multi-day trip.
Updated for Winter 2016-2017 – Roger Tufts