Tuckerman Ravine is a rite of passage for many East Coast skiers. The iconic cirque on Mt. Washington was one of the incubators of American skiing. In 1939, Toni Matt became the first person to straight-line the headwall, accidentally, at the infamous American Inferno, a 4.2 mile race from the summit to base. Toni completed the 4,000 vertical foot course in just 6 minutes 29.2 seconds, reaching a top speed of 85 mph–on wooden skis. You don’t have repeat Toni Matt’s feat in order to enjoy a spring weekend at Tucks, but can instead enjoy bootpacking up vertical chutes unlike any other available terrain on the East Coast, find yourself super gripped and with a puckered butthole above the Headwall–where all you can see is the bottom of the valley and the terrain just seems to waterfall into a vertical pitch below. Or, you can simply charge up in your Patriots jersey, a keg strapped to your back, and lap the lower bowl on a shitty sled and start the party on the Lunch Rocks.
WHAT TO BRING
For many, this will be your first big hike to go skiing or snowboarding. I would recommend bringing equipment that you feel comfortable using. This is the absolute worst day to test out a new pair of equipment (ask our Editorial Manager, Ryan Dunfee, who broke his ankle doing just this at Tuck’s). For people who have a walk mode on their ski boots, you could hike in those, otherwise a sturdy pair of hiking boots will suffice, as the hike to the ranger station below Tuck’s is better done in shoes than ski boots. If it’s not mid-winter, it’s debatable as to whether or not a touring setup is even worth it, as given the traffic on Tuckerman, almost the entire ascent is easier done as a bootpack.
A pack that has either the option for a diagonal or A-frame ski carry is essential, as you’ll want both hands free to hold onto the steep walls of the Ravine as you hike.If you don’t have a snow-specific pack most multi-day camping backs will work.
Be sure to pack a lot of water, a lunch, and bars. Even in the late spring, the weather on Mt. Washington can be notoriously fickle so bring extra warm and waterproof layers. The day before, I would set up your pack to make sure it is comfortable and you have enough room to store everything. The trailhead is the worst place to realize you don’t have the right equipment, as any gear stores are at least thirty minutes away at this point.