A lot of the season is going to be about going to new places for me, whether they’re right next door or five hours away. However, I must admit it’s always nice when the place next door you’ve never been turns out to be awesome. That awesome place was Gunstock on Thursday of last week.
Now, I did try taking an introduction video while I was up at the summit, and I knew going into it that I was probably going to be mostly inaudible thanks to wind, but just watch it anyways. Old Man Winter was very present at the top of that mountain!
Location: On a nice day without snowstorms, ice storms, and high winds, it takes about an hour and a half to get to Gunstock. It’s an easy drive up 93 North, and if you aren’t one for driving off into the middle of nowhere for too long, Gunstock might be good for you. Take exit 20 off of Gunstock, drop any whiny winter hating family members off at the Tilton outlets (they’ll be on your left), and then just keep going for about 25 minutes. Cell phone reception seems to be great throughout, and there’s a ton of places to get gas, food, groceries, etc.
Ticket Counter/Guest Services: The staff at Gunstock was great. Everyone was sociable, helpful, and friendly, so no complaints there.
Price: Gunstock’s lift ticket prices were comparable with other mountains of the same size, but I went with a Liftopia deal so I saved quite a bit. Also be sure to check out the Ride and Ski Card discount, and other deals offered by Gunstock.
Lodge: Gunstock has two base lodges and a summit lodge. I have to admit that as a newcomer to Gunstock, the lack of signage from the parking lot side was a bit confusing, so I asked someone which lodge to head to. The really big lodge (further away from the summit lift) has the rentals, store, ticket counter, guest services, and a bunch of stuff like that. The smaller lodge (kind of in between the summit lift and a triple) is where you’ll want to be if you plan to spend you’re day on the upper mountain. As for appearance and flow, it was rustic but very open with huge windows looking out on all sides. I liked it!
Lifts: I don’t usually ride every lift at a resort in one day, but I almost did at Gunstock on Thursday. Powder gives me energy (until I have to drive and then I want to sleep)! All of the lifts are in great shape with attentive and helpful operators. I was also pretty impressed to see that the summit lift can operate under some pretty intense wind!
Trails: Everyone remember what types of trails I like? Yep. Gunstock had some pretty interesting trails that winded all over the place, some huge open trails, and just about everything in between. I was also happy to see that they had some fairly permanent race areas setup. As much as I do appreciate and support racing teams, it’s always a bit frustrating when a really good trail gets shut down for a race. Gunstock eliminates that issue pretty well!
After many many runs and determining that powder days turn me into a daredevil, I figured it would be a good idea to stop and break for lunch. I haven’t determined yet if the lack of having a decision of what I want for lunch this season is a bad thing or a good thing yet, but today it turned out pretty well.
Gunstock had a 3 piece chicken tender basket with fries for $8.25 (I’m learning that this is the “standard” price). The tenders were medium size, but seriously very tasty. Combined with my gallon of honey mustard, they were almost as good as the powder outside. Almost.
Why were they so good? Well, real chicken, delicious batter, generous helping of crunchy well-seasoned fries. It was exactly what I expected out of a ski area chicken tender basket. Worth eating? Yep.
Final Score: 4.25 out of 5 Tenders