Snowmobiling in New Hampshire
Solid Riding in the Granite State

By Roderick J Fraser Jr
December 31, 2013

When the President of the New Hampshire Snowmobile Association (NHSA), and the immediate past president, AND the Chief of the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails all invite you to ride with them, you don’t say no!
That is exactly what happened this last season when I rode in northern New Hampshire on a perfect, warm and cloudless day with excellent trail conditions and even better company.  I met Roger Wright, NHSA President, Russ Davis, past president and Chris Gamache, Chief of the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails in Bretton Woods, N.H. in the state snowmobile parking area next to Fabyan’s Station.

6,288-FOOT MOUNT WASHINGTON awaits our group of riders as we prepare to follow the
exceptionally well maintained New Hampshire trails along Corridor 11


New to New Hampshire
Fabyan’s is a former railroad station that now serves as a restaurant. The parking area adjacent to Fabyan’s quickly filled up with trucks towing trailers and large groups of riders assembled to take advantage of the beautiful conditions every day in this area. By 9 a.m. there was not a parking spot to be found and we had already assembled to head out on the trails. We were joined by Russ Davis’ wife Maria and son Damon, as well as Chris Gamache’s wife Kristina and children Sandor and Katiana.

Families riding together is what makes this sport great and these young people enjoyed being out in the fresh air… hey, it’s better than being inside playing video games!
Chris was our guide, and we traveled north from Bretton Woods along N.H. Corridor 11, a well maintained trail with outstanding views of Mount Washington, New England’s highest peak. Mount Washington is 6,288 feet high and boasts to have the world’s worst weather at its summit. Although you can drive by car to the top in the summer, as of this writing, it is closed to snowmobiling in the winter.



We continued north on Corridor 11 into Jericho Mountain State Park where we turned on primary trail 118 up to the Jericho warming hut. The hut sits at an altitude of 2,400 feet along a north facing ridgeline behind a steep drop-off that offers unbelievable views of the valleys below and surrounding mountains.

The hut is a small log cabin that can be accessed by N.H. Corridor 11 or 19. It is maintained by the White Mountain Ridge Runners Snowmobile Club and has a woodstove for warmth and a radio to help you relax while you’re visiting. Because of the spectacular views, this site is very popular with snowmobilers. Based on the last reports, people from 11 different countries and 24 different states have visited the hut and signed the guest book since its opening in December 2011. While we rested at the hut, groups of riders came and went. It seemed like every group riding that day made an obligatory visit to the site.


From the Jericho hut, we traveled northeast on local trails within Jericho towards Berlin, N.H. We climbed a trail to the top of Mount Forest, another high peak overlooking the town of Berlin. From our vantage point, we could peer over the Maine border and also down into Berlin where we saw snowmobiles driving the “cross-town connector trail.”

DROVES OF SNOWMOBILERS visit the Jericho Mountain State Park warming hut each year to take in
magnificent views from 2,400 feet up, and stop for a quick warm up.



Snowmobile tourism is life-blood
Tourism is extremely important to the economy of New Hampshire and opening the trail that connects Corridor 19 with Corridor 12 shows the region’s commitment to improving trail accessibility. We left the summit of Mt. Forest and traveled Corridor 19 south until we met Corridor 12, a former railroad bed. From there, we traveled west along Corridor 12 to Corridor 11 and back to Bretton Woods for a great lunch at Fabyan’s Station.

I was impressed with the quality of the trail system in New Hampshire, and even though there were a lot of riders the weekend I visited, the trails were well groomed and exceptionally well-marked. New Hampshire has a statewide speed limit of 45 mph on all snowmobile trails and other posted speed limits are strictly enforced.

Chris Gamache, the Chief of the New Hampshire Bureau of Trails, said “New Hampshire has in excess of 7,000 miles of maintained snowmobile trails for riders to enjoy. 110 volunteer clubs and state staff work year round in partnership with private landowners to make these trails the best available anywhere. New Hampshire trails have a bit of everything to offer and should be experienced by all riders.”

The state also has designated parking areas along the trail system for easy trail access. These areas are noted on state trail maps.

Roger Wright and Russ Davis log many miles riding throughout the state and take great pride in the dedication of the club members. Along with promoting snowmobiling in the Granite State, the NHSA raises money for Easter Seals Camp Sno-Mo with an annual “Ride-In” and sponsors other events to promote the sport and tourism. “I am very proud to be a part of the Association and to have the opportunity to work with so many amazing dedicated volunteers throughout our state, and I love that my wife and kids share my passion,” Davis said.

I could not have asked for a better first experience riding in New Hampshire and having the Chief of the Bureau of Trails and the NHSA leadership as guides certainly “kicked it up a notch.” New Hampshire is an incredible snowmobile destination and has partnered with Maine and Vermont to designate the fourth weekend in January as “Reciprocal Snowmobile Weekend” (date subject to change).

Anyone registered in any of those states can ride in either of the other two states free of charge for the three-day event. This type of partnership encourages enthusiasts to visit other states, improves the economy and strengthens the sport. I look forward to riding in next year’s “Reciprocal Weekend” and building on the friendships I forged this year.

More info: NHSA www.nhsa.com
Or, NH Bureau of Trails www.nhstateparks.org/explore/bureau-of-trails/

PERCHED ATOP Mt. Forest, riders can take in the scenery of Berlin, N.H. The town developed a thoroughfare
for snowmobiles to capitalize on the tourism dollars snowmobilers generate.

 

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