February 26, 2020
Day 22
Skiers: Carla & Tim

Black Mountain in Jackson NH is a hidden gem along historic Route 16. Established with a rope tow by Moody’s Inn in 1935, it transitioned over the years to Whitneys’, then to Black Mountain in 1995. It is one of the oldest ski areas in the state, and it remains independently owned and family operated. Black is located in the quaint village of Jackson NH. Steeped in White Mountains history, you will travel though a covered bridge built in 1876, and past rolling fields and farms to access this ski area. It is truly a breathtaking vision for a postcard.

Black has a vertical drop of 1,100’ and offers 45 trails over 143 acres. There is diverse terrain for all skill levels, including expert level glades. Tickets costs are very affordable and we only paid $42 each using our NH Ride & Ski Card. This is an amazing value compared to similar sized mountains in NH.


Hand painted trail map located inside the base lodge. The original Black Mountain CCC Trail cut in 1934 is located on the opposite side of the mountain from the ski area.

Screen Shot 2020-03-01 at 8.46.26 PM.png

2019-2020 Trail Map

Early morning light rain and drizzle did not deter us from skiing today. Shortly after we arrived in Jackson the rain ceased, but skies remained overcast throughout the day. Temps were in the high 30’s and snow surface was damp, compact, and a touch sticky due to the rain. Ice was absent, and there were bare patches under portions of the lift line and in the closed glade areas. This has been a very difficult snow season across the state, and with all considered Black has done an outstanding job with snowmaking efforts to increase accessibility across the mountain.


Summit views looking towards the Presidential Range. Clouds obstructing view of Mount Washington

The Summit Double Chair brought us to all open terrain today, 37/45 trails. The mountain layout is a unique hodgepodge of short runs and cut throughs that weave in and out of longer trails, with glades nestled in-between. In all honesty, I was unable to keep track accurately of which trails we skied and when. What a great mountain to play hide and seek on, or for a scavenger hunt. Favorite runs: Lostbo Pitch, Maple Slalom, Sugarbush, and the periphery of skier’s right which I believe was Speedwell into Jubilee.


Vintage chairlift advertisement. The Summit Double was installed for the 1964-65 season and remains operational today


Summit Double mid-station, note the steepness from here to the summit


Tim peeking over the edge of Lostbo. This is a short steep from the summit that drops into a ravine, then traverses uphill to connect with Black Beauty. Imagine being in an elevator that suddenly drops 3 stories in 3 seconds. I was feeling butterflies & palpitations; the best thrill drop I have ever experienced!


Tim at the bottom of Lostbo. This trail is natural snow cover only, limiting days when it is open

I was awestruck by the purity of the natural landscape. The trails cuts meshed together as if they had been there for hundreds of years. There was a notable absence of clutter (excess snowmaking equipment, fencing, race gates, signage, etc.) and there was zero trash in the lift line. No stickers on the chairs or posts, no beads or bras in trees, no plastering of advertisements or posters, just untainted natural beauty.


Inside the glades. There are actually so many glades on the mountain that I could not keep track of where we were. I think this picture was taken inside the Black Forest


More glades


Views from Lower Black Beauty. Attitash trails can be seen in the distance. Left to right: roof of the East Bowl Triple loading area, base lodge, parking area, Shovel Handle Pub & Whitneys’ Inn


Side view of the base lodge from parking area, Doublehead Mountain in background. The Doublehead Ski Trail was cut by the CCC in 1934 and remains a popular backcountry trail today.

Coolest sight: maple taps along the lower west side trails by the Platter Pull Surface Lift. This is the very first mountain ever where I have seen an active maple production, just more evidence of how Black emulates an independent vibe. I reached out to Black Mountain for more information after our visit and discovered that the taps are maintained by Davis Sugar House on Dundee Rd. in Jackson. I’m totally impressed and this just adds another layer of richness and New Hampshire charm to this ski area.


Platter Pull & Summit Chair. This was the area where we saw blue tap lines among the trees

The lodge was multilevel, large, and spacious. There is a specialty AT shop on the lower level along with a standard rental shop and ticket area. Upper level has picnic table seating, a cafeteria, and the Lostbo Pub. The décor is eye-catching, with careful attention to historical detail.


Upper level of the base lodge inside the Lostbo Pub


Art work depicting the Shovel Handle, the first overhead cable ski lift in the country. Bill Whitney modified the rope tow in 1936 with shovel handles from Sears & Roebuck to allow the rider an easier way to hold on uphill


Creative cafeteria signage, I love upcycled skis


Vintage skis and signs inside the base lodge stairway


The Jackson Covered Bridge built in 1876 by Charles Brouchton of Conway NH

Overall impression: I was very eager for my first visit to Black Mountain, now I am even more eager to return! Black has a die-hard loyal fan following and a vibe that values local pride and ownership over multi-resort offerings. I feel as if I had traveled back in time to the simpler days of skiing, what a priceless feeling and a delightful discovery!

Snowy Wishes,
Carla Frontfive
Next article in series NH Talls & Smalls Red Hill Ski Area
Previous article in series NH Talls & Smalls Mount Sunapee