Cranmore and Shawnee peak are all grown up

Outdoor Adventure (Unique lifestyle/travel/personal experience)
Cranmore and Shawnee peak are all grown up

My earliest memories of North Conway, New Hampshire, include New Years Eve celebrations, night skiing on Mount Cranmore and huddling with the rest of the town around a giant bonfire of dried up Christmas trees.

And as I've grown, so too have the mountain resorts found around town. Cranmore, where I spent a good portion of my days flopping and sliding down the gentle slopes as I transitioned from skis to board, is about to celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2013. Likewise, nearby Shawnee Peak in Bridgton, Maine, will also celebrate 75 years of skiing, and both are planning parties and perks that will last until the snow melts.

Shawnee Peak – the oldest resort in Maine – has made a name for itself as a family friendly ski mountain located just outside and across the border from the historic New Hampshire town.

Both lodges are preparing for parties slated for January 12 that will attract ski history buffs from all over the region. Cranmore plans to celebrate its 75th with a gala at the Red Jacket Inn, which, if you're not familiar with, is the classy joint tucked away off the main road with the gigantic front yard.

In respect for the 1937-1938 ski season when Cranmore opened, the party will feature a throwback swing band, cocktails and dinner. Cranmore suggests arriving in 1930s garb, so I plan to take full advantage of this by showing up with eight-foot wooden skis and cascading down that snow-covered front hill.

That's acceptable, right?

I can picture the photos of Cranmore's founder Harvey Gibson inside the Eastern Slopes Inn, and from what I can tell, he was a jolly man who wanted skiing to be accessible for anyone. Now, 75 years later, it looks like his wish is still going strong.

Chris Davis

Although Christopher Dodge Davis grew up wrangling the copperheads of the East Texas woods, he's now made Boston his new home, and is determined to conquer the peaks of the East. Since moving, he's enjoyed hiking any trail within a weekend's drive, bouldering in the New Hampshire woods and backpacking sections of the AT, the Long Trail and other must-do hikes. Armed with a degree in English, you'll often find him sitting atop a peak, pencil in hand, unabashedly trying to channel the likes of Thoreau and other long-winded New Englanders.