SKIESSENTIALS.COM (April 8, 2018)
New Hampshire Group Gets Approval to Create 1,000+ Acres of Glades
Turning the proverbial page to another topic, we caught word this week that a group called the Granite Backcountry Alliance has just received permission to develop and maintain over 1,000 acres of glades in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. It’s a pretty big success for the group, although they’d likely readily admit that their work is just getting started.
NEWHAMPSHIRE.COM | UNION LEADER (April 8, 2018)
U.S. Forest Service approves two glade ski zones in White Mountain National Forest
Backcountry skiing enthusiasts have more than spring snow to celebrate this season. The U.S. Forest Service has approved the creation of two glade skiing zones in the White Mountain National Forest. "It's been a long time coming," Granite Backcountry Alliance (GBA) board member Andrew Drummond said Thursday of the decision issued March 30 by Jim Innes, district ranger of the Saco District of the White Mountain National Forest (WMNF). Proposed by the GBA in the fall of 2016, the projects will encompass backcountry ski development on a 410-acre zone of Bartlett Mountain in Bartlett, and a 600-acre zone on Baldface Mountain in Chatham, on the border with Maine. They are the first authorized tree skiing zones in the WMNF.
CONWAY DAILY SUN (April 7, 2018)
Riding the movement: Alliance clears way for backcountry skiing
“Skiing in my day was as much hiking as it was going downhill.” Those were the words of late Black Mountain ski school director, 10th Mountain Division World War II veteran and original Eastern Slope Ski Club instructor J. Arthur Doucette in an interview in 1988 about the early days of skiing in the White Mountains in the 1930s. Now, just as it was in Doucette’s time of Civilian Conservation Corps-built trails, the era of “earning your turns” is back, as the backcountry ski movement has taken hold across the country, including in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
BACKCOUNTRY MAGAZINE (April 5, 2018)
WHITE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL FOREST APPROVES TWO NEW HAMPSHIRE GLADING PROJECTS
New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest (WMNF) made history on March 30, when they approved two backcountry glading projects within their boundaries. The projects, spearheaded by the nonprofit Granite Backcountry Alliance (GBA), are located on Bartlett Mountain (2,661 ft.), which sits northeast of Intervale, New Hampshire, and Baldface Mountain (3,566 ft.), which lies on the border between New Hampshire and Maine. Combined, the two gladed areas will encompass more than 1,000 acres.
Backcountry skiers given okay to cut trails in White Mountain National Forest
CONCORD MONITOR (April 5, 2018)
The federal government has given the final stamp of approval to back-country skiing on two areas in the White Mountains, completing the transition of what was once a rogue activity into a recognized part of New Hampshire winter recreation.
A Historic Moment For Backcountry Skiing in New Hampshire
POWDER MAGAZINE (April 5, 2018)
In a historic decision, officials within the White Mountain National Forest have approved two projects that will specifically cater to backcountry tree skiing in New Hampshire. The decision, issued this week, addresses the substantial rise in public demand for tree (or glade) skiing and to protect forest resources from unauthorized tree cutting. The projects in question will be located on a 410-acre zone of Bartlett Mountain and a 600-acre area of Baldface Mountain, further illustrating the value of backcountry skiing to local communities.
RANDOLPH COMMUNITY FOREST (March 19, 2018)
In the 1989 film Field of Dreams, an Iowa corn farmer’s vision for a baseball diamond in the middle of his corn field is memorialized with the now famous quote “If you build it, they will come”. So to, with the creation of “The Glades” on the Randolph Community Forest...
MT. WASHINGTON VALLEY VIBE (January 15, 2018)
Their vision is big, it’s bold, and it’s just what New Hampshire and Western Maine need. Tyler Ray is the “Granite Chief” of GBA, an organization whose goal is to advance the sport of backcountry skiing in New Hampshire and Western Maine by providing low-impact, human-powered backcountry skiing opportunities to the public through the creation, improvement, and maintenance of ski glades.
NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER
There’s a half-inch of fluff on top of slightly crusty corduroy snow as Andrew Drummond and I head up the Lower Black Beauty trail on Black Mountain in Jackson.
NPR - THE EXCHANGE
With the Winter Olympics in full swing, we look at some thrilling winter sports in N.H. An increasing number of people want to get outside in winter, and many say part of the fun of skiing down is climbing up snowy trails and mountains, or even scaling icy cliffs. Have you tried backcountry skiing or ice-climbing? We learn how to safely get started in these growing winter sports, what equipment is needed, and where it can be done.
When front-line climate scientists recognized that our weather was changing very quickly, their first prediction was that we would see – among other things – more radical swings in temperature and bigger, wetter storms. January seemed to bear out those predictions.
At noon on Saturday, a crowd of skiers gathered at the base of the Mount Washington Auto Road for the start of the first-ever organized alpine ski tour up the historic route. Many were eager to embark on a mellow tour, while others were mentally preparing for a grueling race. They were all there to take part in the M.W. Otto Rhode Memorial Skin and Ski, named for a character of historical significance (or the road itself – no one really knows).
WHITE MOUNTAINS TV
GBA's Granite Chief Tyler Ray talks with White Mountains TV on Sunday, January 21 regarding GBA updates and upcoming events, including M.W. Otto Rhode Memorial Skin & Ski and Wild Corn!
NEW YORK TIMES
On a crisp Vermont morning in early November I met up with about 50 other enthusiastic skiers and snowboarders who were ready for the coming winter season. There was no snow, so skiing was out of the picture and it would have complicated our objective anyway. We were there to help clean up areas of Brandon Gap, a mountainous area in the central Green Mountain National Forest, notable for its designation by the United States Forest Service for backcountry skiing.
Early November snowfall has gotten plenty of folks looking forward to zooming down New Hampshire mountains on skis. But a surprising number of them are willing – even eager – to hike uphill in order to do it. “This is the fastest-growing segment of the ski industry,” said Tyler Ray, an attorney who is president of the Granite Backcountry Alliance. “People are chomping at the bit to get into the Whites and areas around the Whites to ski.”
BERLIN DAILY SUN
RANDOLPH — Sixty volunteer members of the Granite Backcountry Alliance turned out to do trail clearing work on Saturday morning, Aug. 26, at the Mount Crescent Trailhead at the top of Randolph Hill Road, and a dozen returned the following day for more work.
STAY WORK PLAY
A crowd of skiers and snowboarders gathers in the parking lot at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center. They review their gear and make a plan before heading out on the trail to Hermit Lake Shelter. Everyone seems prepared, but there are no skis. Or snow. Also, it’s June. Instead, this group gathers to perform a labor of love in trail maintenance and glade work with Granite Backcountry Alliance.
MOUNTAIN KHAKIS BLOG
The smell of cider donuts and craft brewed coffee permeated through the cool morning air. The mood was strong – there was work to do. Fifty volunteers and United States Forest Service workers gathered in a small wooded area at the Doublehead Ski Trail in Jackson, New Hamsphire.
MOUNTAIN KHAKIS BLOG
“Hell, Yeah!” time struck at 8am. Over 75 volunteers swarmed the exit of the John Sherburne Ski Trail (the “Sherbie”) in Pinkham Notch, New Hampshire intently listening to instruction from US Forest Service and White Mountain National Forest Snow Ranger Helon Hoffer.
When it comes to skiing, the mountains of New England are often stuck with negative labels, “Ice Coast” being the most popular. “Backcountry Skiing Haven,” historically, hasn’t been one of them. That label may stick, however, thanks to efforts of groups like the Granite Backcountry Alliance (GBA), which seeks to build a strong foundation of backcountry skiers in New Hampshire and western Maine. Following a similar path as the multiple backcountry skiing advocacy organizations that have formed in neighboring Vermont, GBA has fostered a strong following in just over nine months of existence.
On Wednesday, May 25, New Hampshire’s Granite Backcountry Alliance (GBA) announced that it received preliminary federal approval to begin planning for two backcountry skiing-specific clearing projects in the White Mountain National Forest—the first of their kind in the history of the WMNF. This milestone comes on the heels of a similar partnership between state and local backcountry communities in the Green Mountain National Forest of Vermont.
New England Ski Industry News
Just months after forming the non-profit organization, the organizers of Granite Backcountry Alliance are moving forward with an ambitious plan to provide new backcountry ski opportunities in the eastern White Mountain region.
WILD SNOW BLOG
Ah, the 1960s, Beatles were together, logging was evil. Or… Ah, the 1930s, when you could log a ski trail in New Hampshire and it was considered public service. Things come full circle (other than the Beatles). Now it is 2017, new generations are realizing that cutting vegetation can be desirable. For example, glading ski runs on forest choked public land. To that end, Granite Backcountry Alliance (GBA) has received preliminary Federal approval for ski glading projects in New Hampshire and Maine.
WHITE MOUNTAINS TV
GBA's Tyler Ray and Andrew Drummond discuss with White Mountains TV their latest creation - WILD CORN BACKCOUNTRY SHINDIG!
There was a time in recent human history when outdoor adventures were just that – adventures. If you wanted to set sail for the Caribbean, you had to know the stars and how to spot a change in the weather long before it was upon you. There was no way for a lost hiker to make a phone call. And if you wanted to ski down a mountain, you climbed it first.
Some come with pruning shears, others with a chain saw. For generations, men and women have wandered deep into New Hampshire’s mountains during the summer’s sticky heat, far from any hiking path, cutting back a shrub here or trimming a branch there. Working the hillside without any discernible pattern, they are careful not to make too large a mark, nor linger by their handiwork. A few diehards have dabbled in the illicit practice of “taking the chain saw for a walk.”
DOWN EAST MAGAZINE
The wind howled around Owen Cassidy on the Knife Edge of Mount Katahdin. Loose snow swirled around, and he crouched to shield himself from the spindrift. It was last March, and Cassidy and his partner, Forrest Frizzell, were beginning their rappel into a couloir, dangling over a 1,000-foot abyss of ice and rock. Far below, even at the tail end of one of the warmest, driest winters in recent memory, Baxter State Park was blanketed in white.
In recent years, backcountry alliances have gained momentum as a popular vehicle for advocacy in the skiing world. These organizations are effective, central lobbying voices for recreational interests and also serve as a go-between for government agencies and private landholders. In Vermont, one such organization—the Vermont Backcountry Alliance—has taken root, and its next door neighbor, New Hampshire, took note and jumped on the alliance bandwagon.
CONWAY DAILY SUN
CONWAY — The popularity of backcountry skiing has surged in recent years, and more and more people are searching the White Mountains for untracked powder each winter. Now a new group has formed to promote the sport across in New Hampshire and Western Maine.
Responding to the booming popularity of backcountry skiing, a nonprofit formed this fall to expand opportunities in the White Mountains and ensure new entrants to the sport can get a safe start. The Granite Backcountry Alliance hopes to persuade officials in the White Mountain National Forest to permit cutting new trails – including some for beginners – in a bureaucratic stretch of woods.
There’s skiing in them hills. Though not typically thought of as a hub of backcountry skiing, the East Coast has a long history of off-piste shredding. In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps, which was part of Roosevelt’s New Deal, created alpine and nordic skiing trails in New Hampshire and western Maine—most notably Mt. Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine. Those trails have gone unmanaged for decades, though, and have fallen into disrepair. Legal access to much potential backcountry terrain has become impassible, too. But now there’s surging effort to bring a lot more good to the people, with the nonprofit Granite Backcountry Alliance as the centerpiece. Read More.