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   New Hampshire: Gunstock Mountain Ski Area: Expansions
Ski Area Expansions
Gunstock Mountain Ski Area
Gilford, New Hampshire
Overview
Gunstock Mountain Ski Area
Gunstock Mountain Ski Area: Cobble Mountain | Gunshy | Gunstock Mountain | Pistol | Alpine Ridge | Southwest Pistol
Cobble Mountain - 1937 - Abandoned
Cobble Mountain as seen from Mt. Rowe
Cobble Mountain as seen from Mt. Rowe
For the 1937-38 season, the peak near the entrance of the Belknap Mountains Recreation area was developed for skiing. A 1,750 foot rope tow was likely installed for the 1939-40 or 1940-41 season.

Known locally as Cobble Mountain, the peak offered a fairly gradual but constant vertical drop of about 400 feet. A rope tow ran from near the campground to just below the summit of Cobble Mountain, perhaps to a warming hut.

Due to subpar snow retention, as well as not being close to the rest of the ski operations at the time, the Cobble Mountain rope tow was relocated to the Viking slope for the 1941-42 season.

The mountain is now used for cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and hiking.


Cobble Mountain as seen from Mt. Rowe (2010)
Cobble Mountain as seen from Mt. Rowe (2010)

A late 1930s map showing Cobble Mountain
A late 1930s map showing Cobble Mountain

Footings near the top of Cobble Mountain, perhaps from a warming hut and rope tow (2010)
Footings near the top of Cobble Mountain, perhaps from a warming hut and rope tow (2010)

Possible rope tow footing below the possible warming hut footings (2010)
Possible rope tow footing below the possible warming hut footings (2010)

Wooden relic on Cobble Mountain (2010)
Wooden relic on Cobble Mountain (2010)

Looking up the upper Cobble Mountain slope (2010)
Looking up the upper Cobble Mountain slope (2010)

Gunstock Mountain - 1962 - Open
The new Gunstock area in 1962
The new Gunstock area in 1962
After operating for a quarter of a century mainly on Mt. Rowe, the Belknap County recreation area underwent a quarter of a million dollar expansion.

A new mile and a quarter long Mueller double chairlift was installed to the summit of Gunstock Mountain for the 1962-63 season, increasing the area's vertical drop by nearly 600 feet.

Four trails were initially served by the chairlift - Recoil, Ramrod, Flintlock, and Trigger. In addition, a summit lodge was constructed. With the expansion, the ski area's name was changed from Belknap to Gunstock.

Two years later, a 6,500 foot long by 1,400 foot vertical Mueller double chairlift was installed alongside the summit double, thus increasing uphill capacity. The lifts would be replaced two decades later with a triple chairlift.


The 1985 Gunstock trail map prior to the removal of the twin double chairlifts
The 1985 Gunstock trail map prior to the removal of the twin double chairlifts

Pistol - 1970 - Open
The Pistol area on the 2009 trail map
The Pistol area on the 2009 trail map
Less than a decade separated from the significant expansion onto Gunstock Mountain, the Belknap County owned recreation area was still looking to grow.

For the 1970-71 season, a new complex was opened to the east of the Gunstock Mountain trails. In sticking with the gun theme, the complex was called the Pistol. Serviced by a 2,250 foot long by 470 foot vertical Mueller double chairlift, the new complex featured four novice and intermediate trails.

Upon the installation of the summit express quad in 2003, the former Doppelmayr summit triple was moved to the Blundersmoke trail, replacing the double on the Pistol trail.


The bottom terminal of the former Pistol double (2010)
The bottom terminal of the former Pistol double (2010)

The Pistol complex (2004)
The Pistol complex (2004)

The Pistol triple (2004)
The Pistol triple (2004)

The Pistol complex, with the former liftline on the left (2004)
The Pistol complex, with the former liftline on the left (2004)

The bottom terminal of the Pistol triple (2010)
The bottom terminal of the Pistol triple (2010)

Gunshy Area - 1980 - Open
The Gunshy Area in 1982
The Gunshy Area in 2006
The Gunshy Area in 2009
The Gunshy Area in 1982, 2006, and 2009
The original Belknap County ski development was started on Mt. Rowe in 1937 with the installation of a single chairlift and multiple rope tows. After the installation of a double chairlift on Gunstock proper in 1962, the smaller Mt. Rowe peak slowly slid into obscurity.

By 1980, the single chairlift was no longer advertised. Instead, a 136 vertical foot, 870 foot long Doppelmayr Platter lift was installed at the base of Mt. Rowe for beginners.

In 1986, as part of a major expansion program, the Platter lift was replaced with a new 800 foot long by 130 foot vertical Doppelmayr double chairlift, now serving multiple novice trails.

In 2009, a second chairlift was added to the Gunshy area. Named after the legendary Gunstock ski instructor and US Olympic Silver Medal winner Penny Pitou, the new, longer Doppelmayr fixed grip quad climbed 165 vertical feet over a run of 1,207 feet.

After the 2010-2011 season, the Gunshy double chairlift was removed.


Mt. Rowe as seen in the 1962 Gunstock trail map
Mt. Rowe as seen in the 1962 Gunstock trail map

The Mt. Rowe single chairlift in the 1940s
The Mt. Rowe single chairlift in the 1940s

The top terminal footings of the Mt. Rowe single chairlift (2004)
The top terminal footings of the Mt. Rowe single chairlift (2004)

The Gunshy Area (2004)
The Gunshy Area (2004)

The top of the Gunshy Double (2004)
The top of the Gunshy Double (2004)

The bottom of the Penny Pitou and Gunshy chairlifts (2010)
The bottom of the Penny Pitou and Gunshy chairlifts (2010)

The bottom of the Penny Pitou and former Gunshy chairlift (2011)
The bottom of the Penny Pitou and former Gunshy chairlift (2011)

The top of the removed Gunshy Double (2011)
The top of the removed Gunshy Double (2011)

Alpine Ridge - Proposed
The bottom of the old Alpine Ridge ski area (2011)
The bottom of the old Alpine Ridge ski area (2011)
Not to be confused with the original Mt. Rowe development of the Belknap County/Gunstock recreation area, the Alpine Ridge ski area operated on the northern side of Mt. Rowe from 1965 until the mid 1980s. Initially starting off as a surface lift area, a 363 vertical foot Hall double chairlift was installed in 1971.

After adding two quad chairlifts during the 2000s, Gunstock is looking to continue to expand. In addition to expanding non-ski revenue, the area is also looking to expand ski terrain and base facilities, both of which the former Alpine Ridge property could offer.

It is thought the new complex would feature a chairlift, base lodge, and possible overnight accommodations. The complex would likely be accessed from the main mountain via connecting trails with the Penny Pitou chairlift complex.

It is not known if or when this complex will be developed.


A December 2010 Alpine Ridge proposal in the Gunstock Master Plan
A December 2010 Alpine Ridge proposal in the Gunstock Master Plan

Southwest Pistol - Proposed
The area between the Pistol complex and the Gunstock summit
The area between the Pistol complex and the Gunstock summit

To take some pressure off the summit area of Gunstock, a proposed terrain expansion involves cutting new trails from the top of the mountain to the back side of the Pistol complex. It is not known when this expansion is expected, nor if it would involved a new lift or a run out connecting trail.

Resources
  • Gunstock - NewEnglandSkiHistory.com
  • Gunstock Mountain Resort Official Site
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    Last updated: February 3, 2013
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