Night Skiing At Gunstock

Gunstock Mountain Resort under the stars five nights a week--Tue, Wed & Thurs 3 to 8  pm and Fri & Sat 3 to 9 pm. Two for Tuesday Nights--2 can ski or ride for the price of one.
Gunstock Mountain Resort under the stars five nights a week–Tue, Wed & Thurs 3 to 8 pm and Fri & Sat 3 to 9 pm. Two for Tuesday Nights–2 can ski or ride for the price of one.

Amy Patenaude

by Amy Patenaude
Outdoor/Ski Writer

Too cold, too windy, too wet, too warm and wondering where’s the snow are some of the bad thoughts many skiers and snowboarders have had this winter. BUT don’t let Mother Nature fool you into not getting out to play on the snow!
Snow makers have made tons of snow this winter. The trails are covered with nice machine groomed snow and the skiing and snowboarding have been really good. Gunstock even makes snow on their Nordic Trails.
Becca, Jeremy, Steve and I have been meeting up to go night skiing and our latest outing was to Gunstock.
New this season is that night skiing rates begin earlier–now at 3pm. Yah, that’s great news especially if you’re a kid getting out of school but us foolish adults, even if we leave directly from work, can’t get there until 5pm. But we’ll have to try harder to arrive earlier next time because the Panorama high speed quad to the summit doesn’t close until 4pm and it would be awesome to enjoy a few top to bottom runs before dark.

Loading Gunstock Mountain Resort’s Ramrod quad chairlift.
Loading Gunstock Mountain Resort’s Ramrod quad chairlift.

At the Ramrod Quad chair is where we agreed to meet since we were all arriving at different times. Becca and Jeremy got in a run before I got there and we got in two more runs before Steve arrived just before 6pm. The Ramrod Race Trail was groomed nicely and we had fun making turns on the rolly terrain just the same or maybe more fun without race gates.
The dark silhouettes of the Ossipee Mountains on the other side of Lake Winnipesaukee were a pretty sight in the twilight. But the lake and the mountains were quickly masked by darkness as the twilight quickly turned to dusk.
After a run all together on Ramrod we moved over to the Pistol triple chair. There were no lift lines and we broke into pairs for the ride up. Snow guns were blasting away and we admired the big jumps and features in the terrain park below the lift. Not a single one of us would ever try to fly off those monsters!
We skied Pistol and it was firm and fast. Then we picked our way down and around the jumps in the Blundersmoke Terrain Park as the snow from the blowing snow guns fell on us. The snow was soft and fluffy.
We skied six or seven runs before we decided we were really hungry. We went down to the main lodge and settled in at the Pistol Pub. The first thing I noticed was that the old single chair that hung off the wall was missing. I forgot to ask where it went, but I am guessing it disappeared to make table space.
Chicken tenders, burgers and chicken sandwiches and more filled us up. We had a table right next to the heat so we were very warm and comfy. Maybe that is why it took us almost an hour before we left the table to get back out on the slopes.

Just before dusk the view from the top of Gunstock’s Ramrod Trail across Lake Winnipesaukee and to the Ossipee Mountains.
Just before dusk the view from the top of Gunstock’s Ramrod Trail across Lake Winnipesaukee and to the Ossipee Mountains.

We organized ourselves and we skied or snowboard-hopped over to the Tiger Triple chair. We went right past the big tubing park and the tubing looked like a good sliding time that requires no special skills except a willingness to have fun! Gunstock has the longest tubing hill in the state and it operates every day but Monday. Tubing park tickets are sold for two hour sessions.
The four of us went down the Red Hat Trail and the snow conditions were very good. We zipped back to the lift and the rope was across the entrance to the lift. What? I asked the lift attendant if just this lift was closed or the whole mountain. He told me that night skiing ends at 8pm except for Friday and Saturday nights when it ends at 9pm.
Yikes! We should have had a quick supper in the Stockade Lodge right next to the Ramrod chairlift! The four of us had thought the lifts ran until 9pm. We didn’t want to stop skiing and Becca wanted more snowboarding too. Dang, I really do like skiing more than eating.
We didn’t quite get our fill of skiing and riding but we still had a great time at Gunstock.
Have fun.

Amy Patenaude is an avid skier/outdoor enthusiast from Henniker, N.H. Readers are welcome to send comments or suggestions to her at: amy@weirs.com.