Helping front office teams grow better

New Hampshire - #365

In John Updike's autobiography, he describes winters in Ipswich as dark and lonely unless you made your own fun. His set of middle class bohemians had their cocktail parties and poetry readings and volunteer choruses, all of which make excellent appearances in his short stories. But the biographic detail from his autobiography that struck me is the weekday trips to New Hampshire to go skiing.

With all of their kids in school and finagling of workplace schedules, they could fill up a Chrysler Town & Country and jet off to Wildcat, Gunstock, Attitash, or Loon. All were a quick jaunt up interstate 93 and back then, all you needed was one semi-sober fellow for the drive home.

It's still wild to me how different the White Mountains, or even the lake country, can be from just a hundred miles south. We'll be in the 40s or 50s, a slight salt breeze without a thought of snow, and up there they'll have endless winter; in the summer, it'll be sultry by the coast and crisp, breezy at the lakes. Massachusetts doesn't really deserve it, but New Hampshire is just over the line and sometimes lightyears away. Especially when you see their political yard signs.

New Hampshire prides itself on being freer and seems to get more done. The ski drive says it all: Massachusetts offers drivers on I-93 three narrow lanes, largely without dividing lines, and full of holes and bumps. You cross the border and New Hampshire welcomes you with five or six wide lanes and a fairly cheap toll plaza: it cost us seventy cents, yesterday. 

That's right: we followed Updike and snuck skiing on a non-holiday Thursday. Without kids in school, our weekday ski trip needed an assist from my visiting in-laws. And what an assist it was! The shortest day of the year ensured that we left in the dark and returned in the dark. But by the time the sun was over the ridge at Loon Mountain Resort, we were there, sliding down the icy slopes and zooming back up in their gondola and heated-seat, eight-passenger bubble chair. The bubble is to keep the wind off: Updike's wood-paneled station wagon had less technology and creature comforts a single chair on the modern ski lift.

You feel luxurious, waking up in your own bed and being on a ski hill a few hours later. Sure, we spent about as much time in the minivan as we did outside, but it was worth it. There's no beer like a snuck-from-home beer in a paper cup in the base lodge. 

New Hampshire is a fun hat for us bay staters to wear. And I say we should wear it proudly.

For the reading, this weekend, I have two pieces about New Hampshire's specialness. The first story is a little on the nose: a skier got stuck in an avalanche and was appropriately rescued. But the write-up, from a staffer at New Hampshire's fish & game department, shows what a can-do attitude these people have. The second story is wilder: what happens when your billionaire Berkshires communist compound's founder is a little too attached to guns? He moves to New Hampshire.

Live Free.


Skier Rescued from Mt. Washington after Avalanche

A New Hampshire man suffered a life-threatening lower-leg injury after triggering an avalanche while skiing in the Great Gulf on Mount Washington on December 9, 2023 at approximately 11:35 a.m.



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