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World Snow Day At Whaleback In Enfield, New Hampshire


Whaleback Mountain - Enfield, NH
With 363 events across 45 countries, I was lucky enough to have a World Snow Day 2020 event land just about in my backyard. Just over the border of Vermont and New Hampshire is Whaleback Mountain, a ski hill with an old-school vibe sitting right off of Interstate 89 in Enfield. Whaleback was good enough to host a World Snow Day event and more than a few people were willing to take them up on it, just about packing this little hill to the brim with little kids and their families.

You see, families and kids are what an event like this is all about. World Snow Day events, registered through the FIS, are geared towards getting families out of the house and onto the mountain and showing the little ones the joys and fun of mountain snow sports. If you'd like to know about World Snow Day through the FIS, you can visit world-snow-day.com. For now, let's talk about the day at Whaleback.

A nearly full house for Whaleback Mountain on World Snow Day

World Snow Day Brings Out All Of The Families

Well, it might be a little bit too much to say "all" of the families, but it did turn into a busy day for Whaleback Mountain. As I arrived the parking lot was already full from end to end, with families either getting ready to hit the slopes or already in the liftlines. But, who could blame them? You see, the night before World Snow Day saw several inches of snow, making for a very literal snow day. Even without the specialness of World Snow Day, people from all over the Upper Valley were making their way to the hill to get some runs in.

But, since the day was mostly geared towards getting the kids up the hill, I think we should talk about the kids first. In the very first picture, you see can see a small group of small kids looking very much the part of a true, young ski gang. Actually, these kids were part of the Beluga Whales Program, a program geared towards four to six-year-olds looking to learn how to ski or snowboard. This adorable group was actually just coming off the mountain to get in a little break. We all know that skiing and riding can be very exhausting, so break time is a must.

For this break, in particular, the kids, and even quite a few adults, were being treated to a magic show as part of the World Snow Day festivities. It's almost like teaching the little ones all about après-ski, which for some is almost as important as the runs they take.

Presto Pete (left) and Incredulous Chris performing on World Snow Day
Now, this show was absolutely geared towards children, but the adults had more than a few chuckles as well. Performed by Presto Pete and Incredulous Chris, a set of brothers named Pete and Chris Paliulis (peteandchrisamusements.com), it was a fantastic show. The duo was actually on their way to another ski hill after this performance. It would seem that World Snow Day can be a magical thing whether one is outside on the hill or getting lunch in the lodge.

But, as I said, this was just a break in the action. After the show the room cleared fairly quickly as the coats and boats were put back on, helmets fitted back onto heads, and the group of children made their way back out onto the hill for more learning, skiing, and riding.

Joe Grout was running the rope tow on World
Snow Day
During that time I was able to take in some of the action from the area not far from the rope tow. There were more than a few young ones in that area trying their hardest with a whole group of spectating parents. While I was there I was able to talk to Joe, the lifty watching the rope tow that day, who agreed that the kids were out giving it their all and getting the hang of theirs skis and snowboards very quickly. We agreed that a child having zero fear and a low center of gravity was a wonderful thing. Joe also confirmed for me that the full parking lot was no illusion. He commented, with a smile, about how busy it was that day, which is an extremely good thing.

Though Silas Hudson was on his back,
father Riley got him up and moving.
Also in that area was Riley Hudson and his 5-year-old son, Silas. You can see in the photo to the right a time when Silas went right onto his back, but he didn't stay down. It was moments later that Silas and Riley were back in line for the rope tow, but not before I got a chance to speak with them. You see, it is true that World Snow Day is a time to get kids out onto the hill, but this day also saw Mr. Hudson getting back onto his snowboard for the first time in many, many years. For this family, it was a day of learning, relearning, and getting along without Mom for a day. She's fine, she just wasn't able to make it out with the boys for World Snow Day.

The kids learning groups were also out on the hill, following their instructors down the mountain. As I approached the magic carpet lift, I couldn't help but notice that one of the teachers was facing uphill. A strange thing to comment on, you say? Well, if you've seen a kids group or two learning how to ski, you've seen an instructor skiing backward to keep an eye on the kids in tow. This was no different and everyone looked as if they were having a great time, no matter which way they were facing.

Kids learning amongst the cones, making those turns as best as they can
Matt Dow (left) and Holly West watching that fire
The fire saw a few visitors throughout the day
I think now would be a good time to point out that it was cloudy for this World Snow Day. Is that a reason to stop skiing or riding? No, not really, though one could get a little cold without the sunshine. But, one also didn't have to run all the way inside. Also for World Snow Day Whaleback Mountain has a wicked nice fire pit with a raging fire that was not only good for warming the body, but for warming marshmallows. As part of the day's event, Matthew Dow, who owns the company that has been doing the lodge renovations at Whaleback, and Exec. Director Holly West kept the fire burning and the mallow, graham crackers, and chocolate stocked and ready to go for anyone who might like to indulge their sweet tooth by biting into S'mores. I mean, skiing and snowboarding could be considered action sports and carb loading is always good for those.

Randy Budner (left, guitar) & Kirk Oseid (right, bass)
The Loose Cannons Duo
As the afternoon continued, so did all of the skiing and riding the Upper Valley locals could hope for on a Sunday afternoon. Though, it might also have been time for another break, maybe time to grab a bite to eat. One can work up quite the appetite while out on the hill. Now, Whaleback was ready to feed the masses, but there was a little bonus if one was eating inside on World Snow Day. Even if you were downstairs, you could hear the sounds of the Loose Cannons Duo (loosecannonsacustic.com), an Upper Valley band that was playing what they called "hippie rock" for those in attendance. Though typically the band does have more members, on this day Randy Budner and Kirk Oseid were here to play and they couldn't have been a better fit. Not only are they Upper Valley locals that have played Whaleback Mountain multiple times, but Budner remarked about how he has been a season pass holder for years and was taking runs before setting up for the show. How legit is that?

Outside or inside, hanging out at Whaleback Mountain for the day was a great experience. It's a great little mountain with an old-school vibe that just speaks to a person. It's a wonderful place to visit if you happen to be in the area or if you're a local and want to get some turns in that aren't too far from home. They have everything you need to make a day of it. This also isn't the last event the mountain is holding for the season. For a full schedule of events, operating hours, snow conditions, and any other information you might need, head to the Whaleback Mountian website, follow them on social media or give them a call at 603-448-5500. The staff there is more than friendly and will help you with any info that you might need.

Speaking Of The Staff

While I was visiting for World Snow Day, I was able to meet a few of the staff that were on hand for the day. For the first time, in person, I was able to meet Holly West, Exec. director of the mountain. She has been my contact at Whaleback since just before the season started. She's actually the most responsible for me being able to be at the mountain for the day.

I also got to meet General Manager Rebecca Reed, who was doing some general managing to the fullest extent of the word. Though wicked busy overseeing the day, teaching when she needed to, and selling tickets when she needed to, she was able to stop and talk for a few minutes.

GM Rebecca Reed (right) making a sale, with Jamie Valley (left) also on hand getting those tickets out
Manning the Skylift, Anthony (left) & Andrew (right)
Danielle At The Bar
I was also able to talk to a few more heads that were working the mountain that day. On the outside, I ran into a couple of more lifties. In this case, Andrew and Anthony were working the Skylift double chair when I happened by, making sure all those folks that were visiting for World Snow Day were getting up quickly and in an orderly fashion. Then, on the inside, I was also able to talk to Danielle Taylor, who was keeping watch on the bar upstairs in the lodge. World Snow Day is for families and those families have adults, so her services were more than required. The whole staff was doing a fantastic job, even being short-handed in a key area, it seemed to me that they were up to the challenge and pulled off not just a great weekend day of skiing and riding, but a great World Snow Day 2020.

But, even if it isn't World Snow Day, head over to Whaleback Mountain while you're in the area. I'm fairly certain that you'll have a good time.


All Photos Credit: Tim Meyer for Ski Rex Media

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