It is always said that traveling is an adventure, and the more I travel, the more I understand. But I’ll get to that in a later post. For now, I’m back in New Hampshire with reliable internet that actually moves faster than snails, so it’s time to get another review up!
About two weeks ago now I visited Waterville Valley Resort in Waterville Valley, NH. For as close as it is, I had somehow never been there but it was great getting a chance to talk to other visitors about their love for the mountain and how they ended up there.
And now, review time.
Location: Waterville is just short of 2 hours away from southern NH and was an easy drive up 93 North. From 93 North, you’ll be jumping on Route 49 for the last part, which cuts through the White Mountain National Forest. Cell reception can be a little iffy in these parts. As I’ve said in other reviews, Concord is the last big city on 93 North but on your way to Waterville you’ll also being going past Plymouth which does have some gas stations, a Wal-Mart, and other good stuff like that.
Parking: Ah parking. I feel like Waterville’s parking system would make more sense on a busy day, but I went on a Tuesday and I’m sad to say that the season’s worst parking lot award looks to be going to Waterville. I really have no clue what was going on there at all, but it involved lots of 9-point turns into snowbanks when I found out the aisle I was in was full (mostly because people didn’t understand the concept of parking close to each other), pulling out blindly into oncoming traffic because people parked illegally on the road, driving down a ramp that I’m still not sure if it was for cars or people, and then one heck of a walk up a steep narrow hill while dodging oncoming SUVs. Seriously Waterville, someone is going to get hurt.
Ticket Counter/Guest Services: I found the staff at Waterville to be very polite and courteous, and the ticket counter was easy to find. No complaints there.
Price: Waterville’s ticket prices are in the same general area as all the other resorts in the area, but they have some pretty unique deals. I went on a Patriot’s Tuesday, so I paid the score of whatever the opposing team got in the previous Patriot’s football game. Lucky for me, the Patriot’s kicked some football but and I paid $10. When football season ends, they move into Temperature Tuesdays. You pay the predicted high temperature. Cool, huh?
Lodge: I’m a little conflicted on Waterville’s lodge. My first impression from the outside was that it was huge and beautifully done. But then I walked inside and the charm just dropped out. It was a mad house, and it was a Tuesday. However, after spending some time wandering around in lost circles trying to find a bathroom, I learnt an important lesson at Waterville. Can’t find a seat? Just keep going up and exploring. There’s a ton of different sections and yep, some do keep that charm from the outside. However, visitors – find a cubbie for your stuff and don’t claim a table. Manners people, manners!
Lifts: I rode 3 or 4 of Waterville’s 12 lifts and they all seemed to be in pretty good condition. Lift attendants kept everything and everyone moving, even with growing lines and confused people. The only lift that definitely caught me a little off guard was the summit lift. I went on what might have been the foggiest day I’ve ever seen on a mountain. So to go from a high speed quad with a huge open area and signs, and then blindly make my way to the summit on this very slow and creaky (but stable, safe, and in good condition) in insane fog was a little eerie. I guess I kind of expected a bigger “ta-da!” moment for reaching the summit, but instead it was very subdued.
Trails: Waterville definitely has amazing views on most of their trails, so for that I was impressed. I’ve been to some mountains where you just know the amazing view is out there, but they find a way to squelch it. As for interesting trails though, Waterville has a lot of very straight open trails. The terrain doesn’t vary too much on trails though, so it’s definitely a place for just picking a trail and heading down. No crazy turns or fun terrain, just big open trails.
After enjoying the amazing views Waterville had to offer, I had definitely worked up an appetite so it was chicken tender time. Now, I feel like I should remind readers what goes into the chicken tender rating. It’s taste, texture, appearance, price to quantity ratio, and availability of sides (honey mustard and fries). Unfortunately, Waterville didn’t do too hot in any of these, except maybe appearance.
For $6.50, chicken tender connoisseurs were treated to 5 small chicken tenders. No fries, as that’s another $5.00. So yes, if you want what would normally be a chicken tender basket at all the other places (usually around $7.50-$9.50), you’d be paying $11.50 at Waterville. So, since the price wasn’t looking too good I skipped the fries.
The chicken itself was just… flavorless. I mean it was real chicken and all, but it had this thin boring coating on it that didn’t do it any justice at all and apparently didn’t help the chicken keep any moisture in at all during cooking, so it ended up being small, flavorless, dry chicken tenders. And to make it even harder to find flavor, no honey mustard to be found!
Final Score: 2.25 out of 5 Tenders