Cranmore opens for it’s first winter season. At a time when the few ski areas found in New England had narrow, twisting trails, Harvey Dow Gibson created wide swaths of open terrain suggestive of the alpine landscapes of Austria. A grant of $15,000 from the Works Progress Administration ($323,539.36 in today’s money) and assistance from the town of Conway were instrumental in clearing the roughly 200 acres of open slopes.
The ski world was introduced to a new form of uphill transportation when Gibson hired a local mechanic, George Morton to invent a new ski lift, the Skimobile. Morton’s lift featured 60 cars that ascended a wooden trestle, pulled by a cable under the track. The first Skimobile trestle ascended Cranmore to the halfway point, and its popularity in its first season led to the construction in the summer of 1939 of an upper trestle that reached the summit of the mountain. The Skimobile would carry as many as 122,000 passengers a season until its removal in 1990.
Hailing from the town of St. Anton, notable Austrian ski instructor Hannes Schneider founded the Kandahar Ski Club in 1928. Schneider's personality as well as appearances in the Arnold Fanck films and Arlberg-Kandahar race made him a sports star.
During the Nazi occupation in Austria in 1938, Schneider was imprisoned and his ski shop and guest house in St. Anton were defaced by vandalism. Gibson appealed to the German government for his release and in early 1939, Schneider and his family arrived in North Conway to a festive welcome.
Under his leadership, Cranmore’s ski school became one of the most important programs in the world of skiing. Though Schneider would travel to consult at other resorts and to train the 10th Mountain Division, North Conway remained his home.
- Cranmore became the first ski resort to develop a snow grooming program with a chain-link mat weighing 1,200 pounds. The ski-mounted road grader dragged by a Tucker Sno-cat was coined the “Magic Carpet.” The ice caulks welded underneath the mat, originally made for horseshoes, break up crusts resulting from rain or sun. Several forms of rollers were also used, and calcium chloride was applied to the ledges to thaw and refreeze snow so it stuck to the underlying rock.
- In August, Cranmore hosted the Eastern Slope Regional Fair and Horse Show. Events included 32 equine events, as well as a motorcycle race on the ski slopes.
The construction of a new Roebling double chair created lift-access to Cranmore’s East Bowl area.
The Mountain Meister Race series begins at Local Yokel. Mountain Meisters is the longest-running weekly recreational ski racing program in the United States. This 10-week season attracts racers with varying skill levels who gather on Wednesdays to compete on the racecourse. While some participants engage in fierce competition, others simply enjoy reconnecting with friends and taking a few turns on the slopes. To this day, Meisters fosters a strong sense of community and camaraderie among its participants.
Cranmore is the only ski area in the Mount Washington Valley to open that season, due in large part to the recently installed snowmaking systems.
Mount Cranmore Tennis and Recreation Club is formed. The club became home to the Volvo International tennis tournament until 1984, bringing some of the world’s best tennis players to our community.
A new Doppelmayr high-speed quad to the summit was added by the new owner, LBO Resort Enterprises Corp, later the American Skiing Company.
First Hannes Schneider Meister Cup Race to raise money for the New England Ski Museum. The “Meister Cup” has become one of Cranmore’s most celebrated spring events.
The first Climb Against Cancer takes place at Cranmore as a fundraiser for Jennifer Hill’s expenses while fighting cancer. The group of UNH Alumni that organized the event would later form Jen’s Friends Cancer Foundation.
Longtime Cranmore staffer, the late Jimmy Mersereau, was selected to be one of the groomers during the 2002 Salt Lake Winter Olympics.
Cranmore makes headlines when it became the first ski area east of the Mississippi to run its grooming equipment and other diesel vehicles on biodiesel.
Cranmore purchased by Brian Fairbank, Tyler Fairbank and Joseph O'Donnell. One of their first acts as owners was to commit to investing $60M in resort improvements over the first 10 years.
Early improvements included the expansion of snowmaking, the expansion of the Tubing Park to 10 lanes, a state-of-the-art Children’s Center and the retrofitting of the resort’s chairlifts; which included a new $1M triple chair upgrade, replacing the old East Double Chair, a new Doppelmayr fixed-grip quad, doubling the capacity from the old south double. The old lift was relocated to the learning area outside of the new Arlberg Children’s Center.
Cranmore begins summer operations with the introduction of the Mountain Adventure Park and Aerial Adventure Ropes Course. The Mountain Adventure Park included NH’s first Mountain Coaster.
- Cranmore breaks ground on the first phase of their $85M base area redevelopment, Kearsarge Brook Condominiums at Cranmore.
- Cranmore was among the first resorts east of the Mississippi and the first in New England to add an electric diesel snow cat, a PistenBully 600E+, to their grooming fleet.
Construction begins on Phase II of Kearsarge Brook Condominiums at Cranmore. This completed in 2020.
Cranmore expands summer operations with the opening of the new Cranmore Bike Park. The Cranmore Bike Park offers lift serviced downhill mountain biking with a mix of machine-built flow trails and technical single track terrain.
- Cranmore’s new Artist Falls Lodge opens to the public, featuring ticketing area for the tubing and winter and summer mountain adventure park, Alpine Café and Bar and access to Kearsarge Brook owner amenities including a fitness room and four-season outdoor pool and spa.
- Cranmore breaks ground on Fairbank Lodge.
- Skimobile Express Quad undergoes a $1M, full-system modernization.
- Cranmore’s downhill bike park expands with the addition of three new trails.
Cranmore launches Phase IV of their Master Plan, the Lookout, a name chosen to pay tribute to the original name of the mountain.
Lafrance Hospitality opens an 89 room Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott North Conway at the base of Cranmore Mountain.
The Mount Washington Valley Rec Path opens to the public. The 2.9-mile paved community path connects Cranmore to Settlers Green, and was designed for people to utilize an environmentally friendly transportation route.
Fairbank Lodge is set for completion for the 23/24 winter season. Fairbank Lodge amenities include a state-of-the-art food pavilion, slopeside bar, 5,000sqft slopeside patio, day lodge space and private and day storage locker rooms.
The Lookout is set to be complete, with 17 residences and a state of the art first aid facility for ski patrol.
Phase V of Cranmore’s Master Plan is set to be complete. The second phase of Fairbank Lodge includes a new restaurant, ski, and snowboard school and 12 residences.
The final phase of Cranmore’s base area redevelopment is projected to be complete. Phase VI includes an additional 19 residences, a new state of the art rental shop, and full retail shop. When complete, the $85M base area redevelopment will double the size of the area’s day-visit facilities and house 98 condominium residences to the resort.