Driving up scenic NH 49 from Campton to Waterville Valley, you get the impression of entering a private mountain world. As the mountains rise ever more steeply on both sides of the road and the land becomes wilder, you can't help feel that you're being drawn deep into the heart of the White Mountains. With the first glimpse of snow-covered trails near the top of Mt. Tecumseh, you know you're going to have a good visit.
The built-up portion of the resort and the town of Waterville Valley (yes, there's a real town nestled in the valley) comprise some 42,000 acres, of which 41,300 are part of the White Mountain National Forest and undeveloped. This enhances the perception that you're in your own Shangri-la, even though you're only a couple hours away from Boston.
Gaze out from the top of the mountain and you'll see little in the way of civilization except for what lies at your feet. Turn your skis or board down one of the many well-groomed intermediate trails and you'll forget even that. For Waterville Valley prides itself on providing a wide choice of terrain aimed at the blue square heart of the skiing and riding public. With few exceptions this philosophy carries over to the black diamond terrain, too. The mountain's topography complements the mission by maintaining the pitch of trails almost all the way back to the bottom of the lifts. Tippecanoe, And Tyler Too, White Caps and Old Tecumseh offer fine cruising; while Sel's Choice and Utter Abandon continue the same but at a higher level of challenge.
Beginners have their own area, served by the Lower Meadows Double. They can also ride the Quadzilla High Speed Quad which serves the wide-open slopes of the Valley area. In addition to Valley Run, there are three confidence-building low intermediate trails in this section, and an intermediate mogul field on the Rock Island trail.
The steepest terrain may be found off the Sunnyside Triple. Ciao, Gema, True Grit and Lower Bobby's (the latter usually bumped-up) provide the toughest tests on the mountain, along with a couple of glades.
There's a big half pipe in Exhibition Park and freestyle terrain is given generous room all over the mountain. A tubing hill is also available.
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