Lake Winnipesaukee may be known by many as a summertime retreat, but during the winter this expansive New Hampshire community becomes a haven for snow bunnies of all types, looking to escape to the great outdoors. Whether visitors prefer to ski and snowboard, fish or take scenic tours around the region, there is plenty to do in Lake Winnipesaukee, no matter how low the temperatures drop.
Gunstock Mountain Resort
For outdoor enthusiasts who like to ski, snowboard and tube, there is the Gunstock Mountain Resort. This NH mountain resort not only offers visitors with stunning views of Lake Winnipesaukee, but it also is the closest major ski destination in the area. Here, skiers of all ages and abilities can choose from a number of runs. Those who prefer a slower-paced adventure can also try out cross country skiing or snowshoeing on the resort’s cross country trails. Gunstock Mountain boast 227 acres of skiing and snowboarding runs and 55 different trails.
Fans of the sport of hockey will find that Lake Winnipesaukee is a haven for outdoor hockey every winter. In addition to the several recreational leagues around the area, Meredith is home to the annual New England Pond Hockey Classic every year. Annually, hundreds of teams from all over the country travel to the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee to participate in the event.
Loon Center and Markus Wildlife Sanctuary
The Loon Center is located on the Frederick and Paula Anna Markus Wildlife Sanctuary along the northern shore of Lake Winnipesaukee. This facility is open year round and sees more than 10,000 visitors a year. Here, visitors can learn more about area wildlife including the facility’s efforts to protect area loons. If you are the outdoor type, take advantage of the area’s walking trails and explore the natural inhabitants of this wildlife sanctuary. If you prefer to admire area wildlife from a warmer indoor location, the center is open Thursday-Saturday during the winter for those eager to learn more about loons.
There are plenty of opportunities for ice fishing (weather permitting) in Lake Winnipesaukee. Typically, by the end of January, most of the lake is ready for ice fishing, and it stays frozen through March. Keep in mind that the area laws state that all bob houses need to be removed from the lake by April 1st. While you can ice fish in the area all year round, there is one particularly big event that brings fishing enthusiasts to the area every year. This is the Meredith Ice Fishing Derby. It is held every year for a weekend in February. Cash prizes are given to the fishers who catch the largest fish during the event.
Dog Sled Races
Fans of dog sled racing will find a few local teams in the Lake Winnipesaukee area that train and race during the winter months. Every year, right outside lake Chocorua, the New England Sled Dog Club has a race that brings together some of the most competitive teams in the country. This is a great opportunity for those who are new to the sport to see one of the races in action.
Remick County Doctor Museum and Farm Ice Harvest
Instead of shunning away from ice during the winter, embrace it at the Remick County Doctor Museum and Farm Ice Harvest and Winter Festival. This event takes place at the area’s homestead museum that pays homage to the history of two influential county doctors. The festival includes ice cutting, horse-drawn wagon rides and an ice sculpture exhibit among other attractions.
If you miss the actual festival, make sure to still visit and explore the museum, it provides a unique perspective on the area’s history.
The Lakes Region Ice Racing Club Ice Races
In what is perhaps one of the most unique winter events in the Lake Winnipesaukee area, individuals in Moultonborough race cars on icy paths through the area. The races are held on Sundays when the ice is at least one foot thick. Cars with tire chains across them race through the circular tracks around two area ponds while spectators watch on and cheer the drivers to victory. It is a must-see event for those who want to love the thrill of live racing.
Linda Fields is a real estate agent serving the Lake Winnipesaukee area in NH. Linda uses her 15+ years experience in Real Estate to connect home buyers and sellers in the winter wonderland of the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. If you come visit you won’t want to leave.