Waterville Valley is a planned resort community in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, about 2 hours north of Boston. It was incorporated in 1829, but you would never guess that. Most of the village has been built to plan since 1966, with the more recent buildings in “New England Venacular” since the 70’s A-frame chalet has lost its popularity. Vic and I came here for a 5 days of Christmas skiing. It was bit early in the season, but with a few early snowstorms, we were hoping for the best. Vic had never been cross-country skiing and I am nuts for it. When we drove up in the darkness, the snow was piled high, and you could see the Christams tree lit up in the lobby.
I am not a huge fan of Christmas music but I like Mel Torme. He could sing most anything. One of the few cassette tapes I still have is a Mel Torme Christmas mix that a short-term boyfriend gave me about 10 years ago. The only ski vacation song I’ve ever heard is on it, the wacky “It Happened in Sun Valley” from the 1941 movie Sun Valley Serenade. This was surely a promotional boon to the folks in Idaho.
230 people live year round in Waterville Valley. On the weekends, up-to 6,000 people come for skiing. On our first day there, a warm 55 degree monsoon-like rain washed all the snow away. Vic and I were forced to ride recumbent bikes and go swimming for our exercise. Nearby, they made fake snow for the downhill skiers. I wish ski towns really did have charm with cozy après-ski moments. Usually I feel I am involved in some desperate conveyor belt of fun and GET THE MONEY! with everyone being rather pushed or pushy. This is nothing like Sun Valley Serenade where Glen Miller swings, Vic skates like Sonja Henie, and you can neck immigrants sweetly by the roaring fire.
I’d gladly come back to Waterville Valley for a short weekend. I liked the idea that I could step out of my hotel on to 62k of trails. I liked the ice skating rink and the steam room. I liked the hotel room with the kitchen, the fondue, the pile of books. But gee whiz, what I would not do for a big band and a dash of style.