Throughout my childhood, driving through Franklin, New Hampshire was a bit depressing. Vacant shops and restaurants filled Franklin’s Central Street in what was once a vibrant mill town. The highlight of these drives through the town though was the view of Franklin Falls, which is known as a fast-flowing portion of the Winnipesaukee River.
The river has become known as a challenging whitewater kayaking route. Back in 2022, the first whitewater park in New England opened up in Franklin. This area around Franklin Falls now includes a whitewater wave feature and an amphitheater to view people sending it. Mill City Park at Franklin Falls has led to new shops and restaurants opening on Main Street, revitalizing the town.
But that’s not all that Franklin, New Hampshire offers for outdoor activities, which brings us to the Veteran’s Memorial Recreation Area.
Opened back during the 1960-61 season, the ski area is serviced by a rope tow for beginners, and a t-bar that was originally situated at Mount Sunapee. Over the years, it has become more active during the offseason, with the addition of mountain biking trails, disc golf, and events. Some of the cool things about the ski area are its free ski days, a vintage lodge with a large fireplace, and windy trails. The ambiance is entirely different from what you see in the mountains to the north of it, and that’s what makes it unique. However, its main flaw has been that it didn’t have snowmaking, as the mountain doesn’t see enough snowfall to operate consistently.
This fall, that critical flaw was addressed. Thanks to a grant from the Merrimack County Board of Commissioners, the Veterans Memorial Recreation Area is adding snowmaking, purchasing more kitchen equipment, and updating its septic system.
Since this announcement, they’ve received the snow guns, and they’re now situated on the mountain. These refurbished TechnoAlpine M18 are actually from the Yellowstone Club in Montana. It looks like they’ll be able to use snowmaking for the first time this season. This winter, they’ll be making snow in the rope tow area, which allow them to be operational for longer periods. Expanding their snowmaking operations could be in the works for future years.
Here’s what Timothy Morrill, who’s the President of the Franklin Outing Club, told us about what the addition of snowmaking will mean to the ski area:
“Being able to make snow is going to allow the ski area to open sooner in the year and maintain being open during the season. With marginal snow fall it has been difficult in the past to run programs for ski school, and to commit to school and rec programs. So with the addition of snowmaking we are hoping to be able to have more programming throughout the season.”
If you’re ever around Franklin, New Hampshire, go check this place out. It’ll change your perspective on what skiing is all about.
Image Credits: Franklin Outing Club