The lights will remain on at Crotched Mountain — but they’ll have to be dimmed so the glow isn’t as disturbing to neighbors.
After months of heated debate at public meetings, the Francestown, N.H., zoning board voted Nov. 26 to grant the ski area a variance from the town’s outdoor lighting ordinance. Crotched, which has carved out a niche as a night-skiing mecca for students, with weekend action until 3 a.m., can keep the 38 light towers it installed during a 2012 expansion, so long as the lights are retrofitted with glare-reducing visors.
Ironically, compliance may mean that Crotched must install even more lights in the future, because management is worried about the shields creating uneven lighting.
“Obviously, we’re concerned about skier safety,” Crotched Mountain general manager Pat Terry told the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript. “We’re concerned with how we’re going to accomplish meeting the national standard for ski area lighting while we put the visors on and put up the new lights.”
Crotched’s entrance is in the town of Bennington, but its trail system extends into Francestown.
Zoning board chairman Silas Little caused a stir at the meeting by telling skiers, “If you’re stupid enough to put a pair of boards on your feet and go down a slope, you can’t sue the mountain if you get hurt, not in New Hampshire,” the Ledger-Transcript reported.
“It’s inexpensive to put on visors,” Terry said. “It’s more expensive to come to these meetings.”
On a brighter note
If you happen to get blinded by neon skiwear while out on the town this Saturday, it might be because you crossed paths with the Boston Ski & Sports Club’s ’80s Ski Style Bar Crawl. The informal gathering will visit various downtown watering holes between 12:30 and 7 p.m., with prizes for the most creatively outrageous outfits. The festivities are a lead-in to the organization’s season-long slate of affordable bus excursions, which kick off Sunday with a day trip to Killington, followed by an overnight to Sugarloaf (Dec. 13) and day trips to Sunday River (Dec. 14) and Loon (Dec. 15). Details on both the bar crawl and the trips are at www.bssc.com.
’Tis the season for dressing up like Santa Claus to ski for free. The annual Sunday River event scheduled for Sunday reached the maximum 250 registrants shortly after online signups began, but Bolton Valley is offering a similar promotion Dec. 15 with day-of registration and no limit on the number of participating Santas. Bolton Valley reminds skiers who want the freebie that “guests must be dressed in the complete Santa package” and that “a red hat won’t cut it.”
The window of opportunity is closing on early-season pass and multi-ticket deals. Bolton Valley’s Powder Pass is a $199 block of five tickets (no blackout dates; can be used for friends/family in same day) on sale through Dec. 13 . . . Mad River Glen’s $144 Mad Card gives you three no-blackout transferable tickets (and $5 off additional tickets throughout the season) if bought before Dec. 15 . . . The $259 Live Ski & Ride college deal is a no-blackout season pass for students valid at Attitash, Wildcat, and Crotched if purchased by Dec. 15.
Deals to be made
Root for the Patriots’ defense the rest of the season. From now through the Super Bowl, lift ticket pricing on non-holiday Tuesdays at Waterville Valley will equal the dollar amount of points scored by the Patriots’ opponent in the previous weekend’s game . . . Mount Snow has $12 tickets Dec. 12 in honor of the “12/12” founding date of the resort (online advance purchase) . . . Bretton Woods has two notable discounts this month: $40 pricing Dec. 14 to celebrate the ski area’s 40th birthday and $25 skiing on Christmas Day . . . At Mt. Abram, you get $10 off lift tickets Dec. 14-24 by donating five canned goods to charity . . . Suicide Six has $10 lift tickets on non-peak Mondays for the entire season . . . Ski and snowboard demo days are upcoming at Stowe this Saturday, Okemo (Dec. 14), and Mount Snow (Dec. 21).