Photo: Granite Gorge by night
Granite Gorge, New Hampshire, USA, is located right on the major East/West Highway Route 9 in Keene, just five miles from downtown of the City of Keene. It is around a two hour drive from Boston. Granite Gorge is a popular resort to work a season, particularly given New Hampshire's tax laws meaning you pay no income tax.
From Downtown Keene, take Route 9 East five miles to Granite Gorge. During the winter, Granite Gorge offers a free shuttle bus service from downtown Keene to the mountain and back.
Granite Gorge has a laid back, retro feel and is very lively with many different activities taking place during winter, including: ski racing, terrain parks, cross country teams training and snow tubing.
The town of Keene is located in the heart of New England with a City and surrounding towns population of 250,000 people. Keene has over 2,000 hotel beds available. Keene is home to three colleges, Keene State College, Antioch University and a branch of Franklin Pierce college, and consequently has a very lively vibe with many restaurants and bars. The City has the Colonial Theater for the arts and a brand new YMCA with three swimming pools open to the public. Keene is a shopping mecca with no sales tax and inexpensive liquor available at the State run stores.
There is tons of nightlife in Keene as it is a college town (including 40 bars in town) which means plenty to do outside riding and working. There are also staff parties at the Lookout Bar and Grill at Granite Gorge.
The City of Keene has numerous events during the winter season, a list of which can be found at the Keene Chamber of Commerce. Highlights for the 2014/15 season include the 'World of Chocolate' tracing the historic trail of chocolate around the world!
Most staff are located in the Keene vicinity and many are college students working part time as instructors. The ski patrol is made up of local Emergency Medical Technicians and doctors as Keene is the seat of the Cheshire County for Health Care and Emergency Services. It used to be that staff would drive up to an hour to go riding at other mountains in the vicinity; however, with the opening of Granite Gorge in Keene, they have awesome skiing and riding right here in town.
Granite Gorge has a 390 foot (120m) vertical drop, one chairlift (the Pinnacle Express double), one rope tow and a magic carpet. The 50-acre (20 ha) sit includes 8 miles (14km) of cross-country ski trails.
Photo: Home base at Granite Gorge
The terrain at Granite Gorge has beautiful character. The mountain was selected by a State Committee back in the 1950's as the best "gateway" mountain in Southern New Hampshire. Many of the trails were cut in the late fifties and were selected for their length, protection from the wind and steepness. The mountain faces due north, is protected from the wind on all four sides and is located in a cold hollow providing ideal snow conditions!
From an insider's perspective, Monadnock Mile is a beautiful top to bottom run for beginners and expert skiers alike. It heads east from the summit of Granite Gorge towards Mount Monadnock, (reputedly the most climbed mountain in the world!), that is some five miles away as the crow flies. Granite Gorge gets terrific conditions from the weather patterns (read snow) created by Mount Monadnock.
Over 100 inches each year and the location is ideal for snowmaking. Granite Gorge withdraws snowmaking water directly from the river at the base of the mountain at the ideal temperature and makes the finest snow in the region.
Granite Gorge has three major terrain parks:
Photo: Granite Gorge, Lookout Bar and Grill.
Snow and lots of it! Granite Gorge was blessed with tremendous snowfall for the 2013/2014 season. Storms with names from the classics such as Electra, Falco and Nike dumped over a foot of snow and some over two feet! This made for great powder skiing for day after day as Granite Gorge is never crowded and fresh tracks can be found for many days at a time.
Applications are accepted anytime from August through December for the winter season and May through July for the summer season. Pay rates are the same as other area mountains. Interviews can take place over the phone but face-to-face interview are preferred.
Jobs available include: instructors, lift operations, food service, snowmaking, grooming, etc. Training is offered to new employees which includes training for those wishing to become instructors.
International student applicants are accepted at Granite Gorge although Granite Gorge has not sponsored H2B visas in the past. J-1 visa applicants may be accepted at Granite Gorge. See Work a Snow Season in the USA for further information on visas to work in the USA over winter.
Staff get free skiing and riding at Granite Gorge. Granite Gorge also offers the "Ski Any Three" deal with Dartmouth Skiway and Black Mountain. When you have a season pass at Granite Gorge, you are then able to go to to Dartmouth or Black Mountain, show your Granite Gorge Season pass, and ski or ride at Dartmouth or Black Mountain free.
November to April
There are also many bars and restaurants in town that look for employees each season. Restaurants and bars in town include:
Granite Gorge does not have staff housing. Staff live in the surrounding area with very affordable housing rates. There are many apartments to rent in Keene for the season. Rent is variable but you can find 4 bedroom places from around $500 and up in Keene. There are also plenty of one, two and three bedrooms available.
Keene State College has an on-line housing listing to help you looking for a place for the season.