Hike and ski at Tuckerman Ravine in New Hampshire
Expert skiers who want to carve some turns away from the masses should head to a mountain that has no tow ropes, T-bars, or even super quads. Tuckerman Ravine (www.outdoors.org/recreation/tuckerman) is a large glacial cirque on the southeast shoulder of Mount Washington that fills up with snow from the mountain’s summit. By spring, this natural amphitheater is ready for skiers to cut their line down some of the steepest pitches in the country. “Tuck” should only be attempted by expert downhill and telemark skiers. The rest of us will find it just as exciting to watch the spectacle.
In 1932, the US Forest Service constructed a Fire Trail from behind the AMC Pinkham Notch visitors center. This is still the only way to get to Tuckerman. Called the Tuckerman Ravine Trail, it is an unrelenting, 2.4-mile, two-hour climb to Hermit Lake Cabin, or HoJo’s, as regulars call it, and another 0.7 mile to the base of the ravine. Throw on a fresh pair of polypropylene up top so you don’t freeze. Then decide your destiny. You can ski Left Gully, Right Gully, or the longest run, Hillman Highway. Pitches range from 35 to 55 degrees depending on the trail you choose. It’s wise to talk to other skiers to see which trail has the best snow and is the easiest to climb. On a sunny spring day, hundreds of spectators and skiers congregate on the Lunch Rocks. These large boulders on the lower right side of the headwall are the place to cheer on skiers.