Skiing in Tuckerman Ravine
Steep descents, treacherous crevasses, avalanche conditions and unpredictable weather all earn “Tucks” its reputation as a formidable backcountry ski destination.
Nothing beats the sheer adrenalin rush of barreling down a 40-pitch slope through up to 50 feet of snow blown into the bowl by the fierce winds off the summit.
Tuckerman Ravine is located just a few miles from the Wentworth Inn, in the White Mountain National Forest. To get there, simply head up Route 16 until you reach the Pinkham Notch Visitor’s Center, where skiers can learn the latest avalanche and storm conditions before heading out.
The trailhead is right behind the Visitor’s Center. In the summer and early autumn, Tuckerman Ravine Trail is a popular way to reach the summit of Mt. Washington. The first 2.4 miles of the 4.1 mile ascent are a pleasant stroll that even small children can manage with ease. From there, hikers face the headwall of the ravine, where the trail gets steeper, culminating in a rocky scramble to the summit.
Getting to the Bowl in Winter Conditions
Skiing Tuckerman Ravine is a unique experience. Deep snowfall and protection from the sun make for winter conditions in the bowl even when it’s balmy down below. The average season runs from late March through mid-May — some years we’ve been able to ski there in June.
There are no facilities at this backcountry location. That same 2.4 miles of the lower trail is the distance you’ll be transporting all your equipment, food and other supplies through snow and ice for the day’s adventure. You’ll definitely need sturdy hiking boots. Depending on conditions at the bowl, you may also need an ice ax and crampons to ascend the headwall once you get there.
The bowl only gets sun until mid-afternoon; after that, shade causes the snow to become hard and icy. Considering that it can take up to three hours to ascend to the lip of the headwall, we like set our alarm pretty early to get out there and enjoy the best snow conditions.
Is it Worth It?
Three thousand skiers from around the world arrive at Tuckerman Ravine each day during the prime season just to have a crack at this ultimate winter sport experience. The thrill of plowing through deep snow at a heart-stopping rate of speed cannot be beat.
Don’t take our word for it — check out some of the action for yourself.
And there is more to Tuckerman than the plunge. Experienced backcountry skiers can hike beyond the lip of the Ravine to the snow fields near the summit, and depending on conditions that season, you can ski from the summit of Mt. Washington all the way down the Ravine to the Sherburne Ski Trail, which heads back to the trailhead.
We guarantee it: Skiing Tuckerman’s Ravine will be the most fun you’ve had in ages!