New England's highest and most majestic mountain peaks are in New Hampshire, and when winter rolls around, the White Mountains are a picture-perfect backdrop for invigorating winter activities. Skiers and snowboarders will find challenging terrain at the region's ski areas, of course, but you needn't hurtle downhill to embrace winter in this snow-coated mountain playground, located just a little over two hours north of Boston. Whether you're dreaming of a family adventure, a getaway with friends or a cozy couple's escape, winter's the season to enjoy one--or all--of these memorable White Mountains attractions:
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Ski the White Mountains
The rugged White Mountains are home to downhill ski and snowboard trails for not only all abilities but all personalities. You'll find ski resorts that are complete family destinations like Attitash, Waterville Valley and Cranmore Mountain, which even introduced a mountain coaster in 2010. Then, there are steep and unforgiving slopes deep in the White Mountain National Forest at places like Wildcat Mountain and Cannon Mountain: home to New Hampshire's most vertical drops. New Hampshire's largest ski area, Bretton Woods, was named #1 in the East for snow by readers of Ski Magazine for the second straight year in 2015.
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Whether you're an experienced rider or a timid beginner, Northern Extremes Snowmobiling in Bartlett, New Hampshire, has the equipment and expert instruction you need to give this exhilarating winter activity a try. It's easier to snowmobile than you might imagine, and there's no setting more sublime than the White Mountain National Forest, whether you set out on your own or on a guided tour along well-maintained trails.
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Imagine... gliding across a snowy landscape behind a team of Alaskan Huskies, Siberians and Malamutes: rescue dogs given a new lease on life and the chance to do what they were born to do. At Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel in the White Mountains, you can experience the thrill of dog sledding and help contribute to the care of more than 100 abandoned and neglected pups. Winter dog sled tours can be customized for couples, families and other groups.
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The Bretton Woods Canopy Tour at the Omni Mount Washington Resort is open daily year-round, and in the winter, your flight above the crystalline pines will truly take your breath away. It's a memorable bonding experience for couples or teens and parents, and if you're brave and don't shut your eyes tight, you'll see the White Mountains from the magical perspective of a bird in flight.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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The Mt. Washington Auto Road may be closed to vehicular traffic during the winter months, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the splendid views of the Presidential Range from this century-and-a-half-old mountain pass. Simply board a SnowCoach for a 75-minute ride above the tree line. Sturdy, all-wheel-drive SnowCoaches operate from mid-December through mid-March, weather conditions permitting.
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Farm by the River in North Conway, New Hampshire, will take you on a throwback journey aboard a horse-drawn sleigh this winter. Whether or not you choose to stay overnight at their B&B, you can book a romantic excursion complete with champagne, chocolates and faux-fur blankets to snuggle under. You can even arrange for an on-site Justice of the Peace to transform your wintry ride into an epic start to your new life together with the white-dressed White Mountains as your witnesses.
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Spend 60 to 90 minutes bouncing over rugged, snow-covered terrain aboard a Pinzgauer. What's a Pinzgauer? It's an Austrian-designed mountain-climbing military vehicle, and Alpine Adventures in Lincoln, New Hampshire, will take you on a White Mountains winter safari aboard one of these durable, 11-passenger, 6-wheel-drive trucks.
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There are lift-serviced snow tubing parks at Loon and Cranmore. But at Great Glen Trails, you'll save a bundle and enjoy the satisfaction that comes from climbing the hill on your own two legs between each run. Grab a tube and sled all day for just $15 at this old-fashioned family outdoor center in Gorham, New Hampshire.