Words & Photos by Ashley Herrin
Every spring, hoards of skiers, snowboarders and spectators make their way to the Tuckerman Ravine trail head at the Pinkham Notch visitor center. With equipment strapped firmly to their backs, they begin their ascent of Tuckerman. Like the thousands that came before them, they march upward – like ants in a row – to experience a piece of New England’s storied history.
Tuckerman Ravine is a bowl or amphitheater-like valley formed by a glacier. The ravine itself is located on the southeast face of Mt. Washington. The first known ski of Tuckerman Ravine was in April 1914, while the first recorded use of skis on Washington was in 1899. Today, thousands of skiers can be found hiking the trail to the ravine for the hair-raising few-second descent of Tucks during the warmer spring and early summer months.
Over the decades, Tuckerman attracted swarms of people all wanting to witness the show of sportsmanship, or better yet, become a part of the show. In the 30s, daredevil races drew large crowds to the Ravine. The three famed American Infernos were run in the 30s, while Olympic tryouts and giant slalom races were often held on Tuckerman.
For some, skiing or boarding the bowl is their last run of the season. Though you never call ‘last run’ as that’s bad luck… Tuckerman serves as the thrilling capstone to the season. The rite ofpassage to New England’s spring and summer.