Next on the list for reviews is Ragged Mountain in Danbury, New Hampshire. Ragged has been my home mountain for the past two seasons, so it’s that mountain that I know entirely too well and can just about draw out the trail map on a napkin.
So question is, does it make me biased?
Location: Ragged is about an hour and half from Manchester, New Hampshire, and all things considered is a very easy drive. Just get on 93 North and stay on it until Exit 23. From there, you’ll be getting on Route 4 for almost 20 miles until you hit Ragged Mountain Highway (Route 104). Cell phone reception appears to be fine throughout.
On the way up, you’ll be going past Concord (exits 12-15) and then Tilton (Exit 20 – the Tanger Outlet Mall). Both have hotels, grocery stores, gas stations, restaurants, and more. Exit 23 has a few gas stations to the right (you’ll be headed left when you get off the exit from the South), a Subway, and a Dunkin Donuts.
Parking: Ironically, Ragged’s parking lots were the thing that almost made me never come back the first time. I went on a nice warm winter day years ago, was directed to park in this dirt lot, and when I went to leave I found that my car was sunk about 6 inches in mud. I was nice and stuck. I did manage to get out finally half an hour later, but I was furious. So, from there on I’ve learnt to always park in the hard pack lots even if it means walking.
Overall, Ragged’s parking is pretty easy. There’s the main upper lot, another lot across from that (that’s where I got stuck), two huge lower lots (also get incredibly muddy), and a small gravel lot (my preferred parking when muddy). If it’s busy, Ragged staff will be out directing parking.
Ticket Counter/Guest Services: Ragged has pretty outstanding staff and I’ve told them that before. I’m especially impressed with staff member Heidi. She’s answered every single one of my random and sometimes idiotic questions throughout the years, so thank you! As for the rest of the staff, they’ve been great as well!
Price: Ticket prices at Ragged are comparable with other mountains of the same size, but be sure to check out the various daily deals they offer. Before buying a season pass, I frequently used their NH Sunday afternoon deal: $25 for a half day. Not bad.
Season passes are the real great deal at Ragged though. Be sure to check out the prices prior to Labor Day when they’re at their cheapest. I’ve been getting my season pass every year for around $370 with no blackout dates at all. College students are even cheaper.
Lodge: Ragged has one of my favorite lodges thanks to it’s simplicity and openness. Even when it’s a vacation week, it still feels oddly open unlike some of the lodges I’ve been to. The only thing it’s desperately lacking is cubbie or storage space, so people tend to claim tables and corners as their own.
Lifts: I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Ragged’s 5 lifts spread across their two summits (Ragged Mountain and Spear Mountain). The high-speed summit lift is in great condition, and is one of the few six seaters I’ve ever seen. It’s fast, but has a tendency to get put on wind hold. As the sole way of getting to the summit of Ragged Mountain (one of the two summits), never fun when that happens. Also on Ragged Mountain is Village Green which only goes up about a third of the way (top of the beginner area).
Spear Mountain is my favorite side of the mountain (long runs, better view), but the triple seater is slow – like you’re going to be in the next season by the time you get off at the top slow. I’m hearing rumors that it will eventually be upgraded to a high-speed lift, but for now it’s just a long cold ride. To add to the triple seater issue, it’s just not really big enough for 3 people. If you happen to get stuck on a fully loaded chair with a snowboarder or skier who really doesn’t know how to get off the lift, you might be up for some interesting times at the summit. My only snowboarding concussion so far was thanks to this lift and a clueless snowboarder shoving me around at the top.
Trails: I’ve always liked Ragged’s trails, and I think that’s where my love of glades and curvy trails must have come from. Ragged doesn’t have many trails that head straight down the mountain (with the exception of maybe Exhibition). My favorite trail routes of all time are Cardigan to Jughandle to Turnpike, as well as Blueberry Patch to Upper Easywinder to Lower Easywinder. If it’s a powder day, be sure to check out Raggae Glades from the top.
Being a season pass holder tends to mean getting to know the food at a place too, so I’ve had the chicken tenders at Ragged quite a few times. It was a little weird heading there again and grabbing chicken tenders with the sole purpose this time though of reviewing them. I’ve been told I actually make a weird thinking face when reviewing chicken. Who knew?
So how is the chicken at Ragged? Not so great unfortunately. I’ve been getting it at Harvest in the lodge, and haven’t tried it upstairs yet at the restaurant (actually not even sure if they have it up there), but I’m suspecting it’s probably the same. For $6.50, chicken cravers get 6 medium sized tenders. Fries are another $4 or so, so I skipped them this time.
The chicken is entirely too breaded and not very flavorful, so it unfortunately won’t win the taste taste. As for texture, while it looks good from the outside, I kept coming across chunks of gristle or something unpleasant to chew on. I think it’s time Ragged finds a new chicken tender vendor!
Final Score: 2.50 out of 5 Tenders