Backcountry Skiing and Trails Conditions in the White Mountains


View from Doublehead Cabin looking at Mount Washington and the southern Presidential Range
The Doublehead Cabin, built in 1932
The eastern view behind the cabin looking towards Maine

During the past couple of weeks the White Mountains have received almost 2 feet of snow which has made for some great skiing conditions especially in the backcountry! The trails in the area have been getting packed down quite well, and with the warm weather coupled with the rain we got on Friday the snowpack is becoming more consolidated. One frequently asked question I got over the weekend from skiers was "how is the Sherbie?" To be quite honest because of rain and warm temperatures then followed by the cold weather the backcountry trails here in the notch were quite icy, so I sent a lot of people down to some of the backcountry ski trails in Jackson as the temperatures were staying in the 40s and the sun was out in the valley! One of my favorite trails, which is found in the Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast, is Doublehead Ski Trail which I was able to ski yesterday afternoon. This trail was built in 1934 by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) with the Cabin built in 1932, which was built in order to provide shelter for the skiers and winter hikers. It is a moderate grade of 1.8 miles from
The beginning of the Doublehead Ski Trail from the summit
the trailhead to the cabin. To find the trailhead in Jackson, go through the covered bridge on 16B, turn right onto Black Mountain Road, pass the Black Mountain Ski Area and then bear right onto Dundee Road. You will see Doublehead Drive in about a mile on your left, there is a parking area there, if it is full you can park on the side on Dundee Road. From the parking area head up Doublehead Drive about 200 feet and you will see the sign for the ski trail. If you plan on hiking Doublehead please make sure to wear snowshoes and stay to the side of the trail so that the ski trail does not get postholes, which creates hazards for the skiers. The trail after 0.6 mile connects with the Old Path that leads to North and South Doublehead. In order to take the ski trail bear left or continue up the hiking trail bearing right. The Old Path is steep in sections and you will want snowshoes or light traction devices such as microspikes.
Doublehead last week after one of the snow storms!
Once you reach the summit of North Doublehead there are some fantastic views looking at the Presidential Range, as well as a great eastern facing view behind the cabin looking towards Maine. Since you will be skinning up what you are skiing down you will be able to prepare for the fun twists and turns this trail offers. If you would like to make reservations for the cabin you can through the U.S. Forest Service by calling 1-877-444-6777 or at www.recreation.gov.
There are some great backcountry skiing resources out there, my favorite book is the Best Backcountry Skiing in the Northeast by David Goodman. This covers 50 classic ski tours in New England and New York. If you plan to stick to skiing in the White Mountains there is a great Winter Trails map that has some great information in the areas of Pinkham Notch, Twin Mountain and the Kancamagus.
As always you can check AMC Conditions for the latest report from the snow stakes and/or call us here at Pinkham to see what we're seeing out our windows and for the best trail advice we can give you! Currently many of the trails have snow and ice on them and traction devices such as snowshoes and microspikes are highly recommended.
For any general questions, conditions information, or trail advice, please feel free to contact us here at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center front desk.  We are available by phone at (603) 466-2721 every day from 6:30 AM to 9:00 PM or by email at amcpinkhaminfo@outdoors.org. To make reservations at AMC Lodges and Huts, please call (603)466-2727 available Monday through Saturday 9am-5pm. We also offer ski and stay packages at our Joe Dodge Lodge and the Highland Center
 

Happy winter adventuring!


Danielle J.
Backcountry Information Specialist
AMC Pinkham Notch Visitor Center
(603) 466-8116
amcpinkhaminfo@outdoors.org




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