New England's highest and most majestic mountain peaks are in New Hampshire, and that makes the state a prime destination for those who want to experience all of the region's winter-fun activities. When snowfall arrives, the White Mountains are a perfect backdrop for invigorating winter pursuits. Skiers and snowboarders find challenging terrain on the region's slopes, of course. But you don't need to speed downhill to embrace winter in this snowy mountain playground, located just over two hours north of Boston. Whether you're dreaming of a family adventure, a getaway with friends, or a cozy couple's escape, check off as many of these cold-weather-only activities as you can.
Ski the White Mountains
The rugged White Mountains are home to downhill ski and snowboard trails for all abilities and all personalities. Ski resorts like Attitash, Waterville Valley, and Cranmore Mountain are complete family destinations. The state's largest ski area, Bretton Woods, has challenges and enticements for all. Then, there are steep and unforgiving slopes deep in the White Mountain National Forest, such as Wildcat Mountain and Cannon Mountain. Skiing Tuckerman Ravine is the ultimate in extreme.
Whether you're an experienced rider or a timid beginner, Northern Extremes Snowmobiling in Bartlett, New Hampshire, has the equipment and 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.
Cross Dog Sledding off Your Bucket List
Imagine gliding across a snowy landscape behind a team of Alaskan Huskies, Siberians, and Malamutes. At Muddy Paw Sled Dog Kennel, rescue dogs are given a new lease on life and a chance to do what they are born to do. 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.
Zipline in the Wintertime
The Bretton Woods Canopy Tour at the Omni Mount Washington Resort is open daily year-round. In the winter, your flight above the crystalline pines will take your breath away. It's a memorable bonding experience for couples and families, and if you're brave enough to keep your eyes open, you'll see the White Mountains from the magical perspective of a bird in flight.
Ride a Snow Coach to the Top of Mount Washington
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.
Cuddle up on a Horse-Drawn Sleigh Ride
Farm by the River in North Conway, New Hampshire, will take you on a throwback journey aboard a horse-drawn sleigh this winter. You can choose to stay overnight at their B&B and book a romantic excursion complete with champagne, chocolates, and faux-fur blankets. 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.
Hold on Tight on an Off-Road Winter Safari
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 will take you on a White Mountains winter safari aboard one of these durable, 11-passenger, 6-wheel-drive trucks.
Snow Tube All Day
There are lift-serviced snow tubing parks at Loon Mountain 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 $20 per person at this old-fashioned family outdoor center in Gorham, New Hampshire.