Visiting Gunstock for the first time
Turning off Cherry Valley Road onto Panorama Drive, in Gilford, N.H., evokes an arrival experience similar to many of New England's big mountain resorts. The access road to the ski resort takes visitors past Gunstock's Nordic Center (Campground check-in and camp store in summer) and several trailheads and cross-country trail intersections. The road expands into a parking area after crossing the inlet to a pond. What was previously a gravel lot in seasons past is a newly paved parking area with lines marking the numerous parking spaces, electric car charging stations and new light posts to provide illumination for visitors making their way back to their cars after dark. Gunstock is one of the few remaining resorts to offer night skiing and snow tubing ... and even guided snowshoe tours that begin late in the day and have participants returning to the base area by headlamp light after the sun sets.
Gunstock's base area provides a solution to every visitor's need. The Historic Lodge, constructed in the 1930s, is the main lodge that houses restrooms and an area to gear up and store personal belongings (bag check) in the lower level. One level up, visitors will find classic New England ski lodge ambience created by the stone and timber construction that includes a massive stone fireplace at the far end. Along one side, visitors will find the Cobble Mountain Food Court, a cafeteria-style eatery for hearty and delicious food and drink options. At the gable end opposite the fireplace, a full-service restaurant and bar, the Powder Keg Pub, is a warm and welcoming venue that is popular with the locals. It's where members of Gunstock's Mug Club gather on any given day to enjoy a cold brew and delicous pub fare. On the upper level of the Historic Lodge, a balcony provides additional seating overlooking the great hall and another food and drink option, the Pistol Pub, that serves guests on weekends, and hosts apres ski entertainment.
Guest Services Lodge
Adjacent to the Historic Lodge, Gunstock's Guest Services Lodge (accessible from the ground level or great hall level of the Historic Lodge) offers a variety of goods and services. On the ground level, Gunstock's Ticket Office is where many many first-time visitors begin their adventure. The Ticket Office is staffed with friendly and helpful staff members who provide guest service, answer questions and sell lift tickets, Snowsports School lesson products and packages, as well as snow tubing sessions. Those who have booked activities and services online in advance can bypass the Ticket Office in favor of self-serve kiosks located just outside. Also located on the ground level, Gunstock's Group Sales team is conveniently located to serve visitors who have booked group access to the resort in advance. Up the flight of stairs, above the Ticket Office, guests will find Gunstock Ski & Sports Shop for all the outdoor gear, clothing and accessories they may need. Continuing along the upper level walkway/porch, there are restrooms, an ATM and access to Gunstock's Rental Equipment buildings (Building #1 and Building #2). The easy and efficient process to rent skis, snowboards, boots and helmets, begings in Building #1, continues in Building #2, and places guests on the snow in the Snowsports School Meeting Area for lessons or to access lifts.
Gunstock Mountain Resort is is New Hampshire's premier learning mountain. With a great combination of superlative teaching terrain and infrastructure combined with professional instructors who are passionate about snowsports, Gunstock has been introducing New Englanders to skiing and snowboarding since 1937. Generations of great skiers and riders got their start at Gunstock.
Think of this as Skiing/Snowboarding 101. Everybody has to begin somewhere, and this is the perfect place to start! Think of this as your syllabus:
- Walk the Walk: You will first learn how to walk in your ski boots, to put your skis on, and how to walk on skis in the snow. You'll become well versed in using your edges to walk uphill on a gentle slope and to stand on a hillside.
- Get Up, Get on Up: Nervous about falling? Don't worry, it's going to happen at some point, no matter what. It still happens to the best of us, even to this day, so think of it as a silly rite of passage! Your instructor will show you all the ways to get up after you fall, so when it does happen, you'll know exactly what to do!
- Time to Slide: You'll become familiar with our learning terrain as you study how to slide on a gentle slope. You will learn how to balance yourself while sliding gently down the hill. Don't worry, we have a big berm in the snow to catch you at the bottom! Congratulations, you just got your first run in!
- To Everything Turn, Turn: You will learn the skill of making cautious turns on a gentle slope and stopping.
- Movin' On Up: Once you're comfortable turning and stopping, you will learn to load and unload the chairlift and be introduced to Green Circle Terrain! Ask your instructor what Tips Up means for extra credit!
- How Do YOU Get Down? Once you graduate to Green Terrain, you will utilize your newfound skills to make cautious turns and control your speed on a downhill slope. Never heard of a J-Turn? Well get ready, because you're about to! It's all downhill from here!
- Regular or Goofy?: Which stance are you? Your instructor will have you take a leap with your boots on to see which foot you instinctively land on first. This will determine which foot you lead with as you ride downhill sideways on your board. It's kind of like the choosing hat of the snowboarding world!
- Gear, Shmear: You will first learn how to strap into your board. Snowboard boots are pretty easy, so your focus here will be on securely tightening your bindings to stay comfy and safe. You will also get comfortable with the board by strapping in with both feet and playing with your balance. Get ready to learn new vocabulary words like "Ollies," "Nollies," "Manuals", "Flat Spins," and "Bowties!"
- Get Up, Stand Up: When you're learning to snowboard, a little time on the ground comes with the territory. You will learn how to stand up while strapped into your board, both facing uphill using your toe edge, and facing downhill using your heel edge.
- Magic Carpet Glide: You will learn how to skate on the snow with one foot strapped into your board and one foot pushing you forward. This will be the skill you'll use to move around on flat surfaces and approach the carpet and lifts. Then we will get right back on both feet to learn more!
- Heel, Toe: On a gentle slope, you'll become familiar with gliding downhill and stopping using both heel and toe edges.
- Stop Like A Boss: Your instructor will teach you the best way to stop on both edges.
- Movin' On Up: Once you're comfortable making half turns and stopping, you will learn to load and unload the chairlift and be introduced to Green Circle Terrain!
- How Do YOU Get Down?: Once you graduate to Green Terrain, you will utilize your newfound skills and learn to make cautious C-turns to control your speed on a downhill slope. Once you've got C-turns figured out, you'll begin linking them together to make S-turns, which you'll get better and better at with practice on Green Terrain. It's all downhill from here!