Representing skiers in New Hampshire and Western Maine, Granite Backcountry Alliance strives to promote and advocate for backcountry skiing by building off of the region’s rich ski history and culture.
Organized in September 2016, Granite Backcountry Alliance is a proactive response to the rapid growth of backcountry skiing in northern New England. “The demand is strong,” notes Jake Risch, a founding board member, “but the terrain is limited by the natural density and legal access to the forests and mountains. We can change that.”
The Alliance plans to work with private landowners and the Forest Service to improve skiing access and opportunities in New Hampshire and western Maine – both through glading projects like those accomplished by their neighbors, the Vermont Backcountry Alliance, and by restoring the region’s historic ski trails. These trails were built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s but have largely fallen into disrepair and abandonment. Restoring and reviving these historic trails is important for Granite Backcountry Alliance because the trails are as much a part of the region’s ski history as Mt. Washington’s Tuckerman Ravine.
The Alliance’s goals go beyond glading and trail projects, however. As the unified voice for skiers in New Hampshire and western Maine, the group hopes to create a culture of safety and respect for the land within the local backcountry ski community. Granite Backcountry Alliance will provide educational opportunities for ecological awareness, avalanche and general winter safety. As an organized voice for skiers in the region, Granite Backcountry Alliance also represents and advocates for the backcountry ski community in the policy arena. Although the group is new, they already have the ear of local Forest Service managers and hope to continue to build relationships with state and federal land managers, as well as private landowners.