Back in March 2020, Granite Gorge in Keene, New Hampshire closed due to the pandemic. They didn’t reopen for the 2020-21 season, and in December of 2021, then Granite Gorge owner John Baybutt said that the mountain was closed for good. In a surprising twist, the ski area went to auction due to foreclosure and was acquired by locals who wanted to reopen Granite Gorge.

For a General Manager, they brought in Keith Kreischer, who had extensive experience at Windham Mountain and Nashoba Valley as a terrain park and snow surfaces manager. Thanks to Keith and his crew’s hard work, Granite Gorge Mountain Park in Keene, New Hampshire reopened in January. New ownership revitalized the mountain with lift, snowmaking, and lodge improvements, along with shifting their focus towards racing and terrain park programs.

I got to visit in March and had a great time experiencing a steep mountain with a variety of terrain parks. With a successful relaunch during the 2022-23 season, I wondered what would come next for the revived mountain.

This summer, much of their efforts have gone towards the creation of a mountain biking park. The trail crew over Granite Gorge has had to fight rainy weather throughout the summer to sculpt the new routes.

On July 27th, the bike park opened for the first time. The first route, called Reptar, is a 4000+ foot blue trail and is super wide and flowy. There are multiple lines on the route, which include a beginner-friendly journey, while there are also alternative sections with switchbacks, edge rocks, ladders, and more. For the double chairlift, they’ve added SkyTrans monopole bike carriers, which allow for an easy loading and unloading experience.

Two more trails are being added before the end of the biking season. A black diamond trail in between Monadnock and Wazioli Woods will open within 2-3 weeks, and a green-rated spur line, located around Reptar, will be added in September. Future seasons will see more biking trails scattered across the mountain.

Granite Gorge will be hosting a variety of events in the coming months. On August 18th, they’re hosting a movie premiere for the film Nothing’s For Free: The History of Freeride Mountain Biking.

Starting on August 25th, they will be hosting Granite Giss each Friday night through September 30th. This will include lift-serviced mountain biking, yard games like corn hole, a live band, and an open bar. On September 30th, they’ll be hosting their first Fall Fest. This will have food and drink vendors, live music, mountain biking, lawn games, and more.

In terms of the 2023-24 ski season, there are a substantial amount of projects that are being worked on. Regarding snowmaking, Granite Gorge is adding snow guns to the top of Main Street, allowing them to have a top-to-bottom racing trail. They are also adding two SMI guns, which will be used to fill up the Central Park trail.

For the double chairlift, they are taking out the compression tower, which went in place of the mid-station that used to be there. In its place will be a bigger lift tower, which will allow them to increase the capacity of the chair and extend the chairlift’s longevity.

Additional night lights will be added to Chip’s Run and the learning area. They will be acquiring more rental gear from Pat’s Peak, which will help them grow their ski school programs. Finally, they are extending the tubing park, with the trail being enlarged to make the space required for easy flow of traffic, and utilizing the earth alterations to maximize snowmaking efficiency. The carpet lift that services the tubing area has already been adjusted to correct pitch and save cost on maintenance/upkeep.

We’re always stoked to share a comeback story in the ski industry, and more exciting changes at Granite Gorge are on the horizon in the coming years.

Image/Video Credits: Granite Gorge Mountain Park, Pinkbike

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