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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.
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.