Environmental Initiatives Fall 2015

Pellet Boiler

The fall of 2015 is an exciting time for those of us interested in alternative energy, sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. In November we brought online a new wood pellet burning boiler that will heat our main lodge and provide for our hot water needs in the building and in the Glen View Café.

AR-Pellet-Boiler-1   AR-Pellet-Boiler-5

This project has been in the works for over a year as we processed through the design, grant applications and installation. Smart Energy of New England was chosen as the supplier and installer of the 2 OkoFEN boilers as well as storage unit neatly packaged within an 8′ x 40′ energy box adjacent to the lodge. This allows us to displace the 6,000 gallons of fuel oil previously consumed annually with approximately 50 tons of wood pellets that are manufactured locally. In addition to our fuel purchasing now benefiting local businesses, burning wood pellets rather than fuel oil has been proven to be better for the environment from an emissions standpoint as well as from a sustainability standpoint.

We’re proud to add this to our other ongoing green initiatives – conversion of our tour vans to propane power, our small hydro electric generator that supplies 80% of our lodge electric needs and all the other smaller things we do to help preserve the environment.


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Mt. Washington SnowCoach Blazes the Way for a Cleaner Future with Propane Conversion to Reduce Emissions and Increase Energy Efficiency

Pinkham Notch, NHThe newest Mt. Washington SnowCoach at Great Glen Trails and the Mt. Washington Auto Road has been converted to propane, making it more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. With the installation of a more aggressive track system, the uniquely-designed 9-passenger winter tour vehicle which climbs to treeline on Mt. Washington is even more capable in extreme terrain conditions than before.

Mt. Washington SnowCoach, winter tours, mt washington auto road

Wrapped in a sleek new custom graphic, the latest of three Mt. Washington SnowCoaches has recently been converted to propane as part of the Auto Road’s commitment to energy efficiency and environmentally conscious practices. Propane, or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), is a safe, clean-burning, high-energy alternative fuel; and when used in place of petroleum-based fuels, reduces tailpipe emissions. The clean-burning characteristics of propane also allow the engine to have increased service life.

“The propane conversion is just another step toward becoming more environmentally conscious at Great Glen and the Auto Road”, stated Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. “Two other coaches used for guided tours in the summer have already been converted and more are planned for 2015.”

The new Dominator® all-wheel-drive track system was designed by American Track Truck of Chassell, Michigan. The track systems are lighter and provide better floatation, dramatically increasing traction and stability even in the deepest snow that can be found on Mt. Washington in the wintry months. The frame of each track is fabricated from T-1 grade steel providing superior strength with minimal weight. The new tracks are easy to install and weigh approximately 170 lbs each compared to the prior tracks which weighed 700 lbs each.

“We are really excited about these upgrades to the SnowCoach program”, noted Nate Harvey, Great Glen Trails manager. “Our tour schedule will be more consistent for guests, passengers will get a softer, more comfortable ride, and our mechanics may actually enjoy a day or two off once in a while.” Dominator® tracks are practically maintenance free, and allow more consistent operation in challenging weather and terrain conditions.

Guided winter tours aboard the Mt. Washington SnowCoaches are approximately 1¼ hour long and depart daily from December through March from the Great Glen Trails base lodge at the base of Mt. Washington on a first come, first served basis. Operating hours are approximately 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 pm (8:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. early in the season), depending on weather and snow conditions. The cost for the winter sightseeing experience is $49 for adults and $30 for children ages 5-12. Advance reservations are not available due to unpredictable weather and snow conditions.

The Mt. Washington SnowCoaches climb to about 4,200 feet, otherwise known as treeline, which is approximately two-thirds the way to the 6,288 foot summit. Upon arrival to the turnaround point, passengers are allowed to exit the SnowCoach to experience the weather and snow conditions which Mt. Washington is so famous for. Guests can take up to 15 minutes outside the SnowCoach for photos and videos before the climbing back aboard for the journey back to the base.

The SnowCoach is available as a stand-alone tour or as part of the Trails Total Ticket, which offers complete access to everything available at Great Glen Trails for one discounted price. The Trails Total Ticket includes a trail pass for XC skiing and snowshoeing; cross country ski and snowshoe rentals; all-day access to the tubing hill and a tour on the SnowCoach.

Through December 25 (online-only), the Mt. Washington SnowCoach is offering a special 2-for-1 deal on select days, and a buy one ticket get the second ticket half off promotion valid every day the SnowCoach operates. Visit www.snowcoachnh.com/wow for more promotion details.

Additional info can be found by visiting www.snowcoachnh.com or by calling (603) 466-3988.


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Complimentary event expected to draw largest field of alternative energy based
vehicles in North America.


PINKHAM NOTCH, NH— The Mt. Washington Auto Road continues its long tradition of supporting automotive innovation and environmental responsibility with the 39th year of the Alt Energy Summit, on September 13 and 14, 2014. Free to the general public, the event is expected to be one of the largest single gatherings of alternative energy vehicles in the country and beyond.

As a kickoff event for the New England celebrations of National Drive Electric Week, the Alt Energy Summit, led by New Hampshire Electric Co-op as the presenting sponsor, will feature major manufacturers, electric vehicle associations, industry suppliers and individual “makers” and inventors as the Auto Road continues as a proving ground and playground for new and evolving technologies.

“The Mt. Washington Auto Road has seen the evolution of transportation play out on its eight mile path to the summit.”  remarked Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road. “Considering that the first motor vehicle to ever go up was a steam powered Stanley Locomobile in 1899, it seems very appropriate that we showcase how alternative energy technologies have evolved since then.”

Among those manufacturers, builders and organizations planning to attend are: The New England Electric Auto Association; Bill Buchholz, with his Dirigo front wheel drive, 90 mpg diesel tadpole trike; the MIT EVT team with their electric Porsche and latest electric motorcycle; Olin College’s REVO Team; Zoombikes’  electric bikes; Robert Worobey of Black Sparrow Industries, back with his unique, 3-wheeled board, the Tribey; Ben Rich, Cross-Country EV adventurer and KickgasTV, to show off his Zero Motorcycle ride; Smart Energy of New England’s David Belanger, showcasing their line of solar electric, solar thermal, pellet boilers and wind generation.

Additional organizations in attendance will include: Outrider USA’s Kevin Breslend to show off their line of three-wheeled electric/pedal power vehicles; Chargepoint’s John Gilbrook will be there to answer questions about charging stations and infrastructure; The ALT E Store to explain what you need to know about renewable energy systems and supplies; Foxfire Energy will be teamed up with SolarFest to display their Off-Grid Solar Generator trailer; Dragonfly Aerials; The Maine Chapter of the Nat’l Electric Drag Racing Assn. with an electric motorcycle and Cobra drag car; and The Granite State Clean Cities Coalition‘s Dolores Rebolledo hosting a presentation on Community-based Charge Stations, and spreading the word on municipal renewable energy solutions.

Presenting Sponsor, NH Electric Co-op, represented by Gary LeMay, will be on hand to answer NH renewable and sustainable energy questions. And “Stage” sponsor, Twin State Ford will display an assortment of the latest Electric and Hybrid vehicles available for purchase.

Presentations and workshops will also be available on both days. On Saturday at 2:30, join Dave Olivera of the New England Electric Auto Association, Ben Rich, longtime EV owner and cross-country electric motorcycle rider, Tim Letourneau of Twin State Ford and Mike Mercer of Banks Chevrolet will discuss the ins and outs of  “Real-life Electric Vehicle Ownership”. At 4:00 PM a workshop led by John Gilbrook, of Chargepoint and Carl Vogel, national Board member of the EAA and president of the NY EAA chapter, on “Community-Sponsored Charging Stations will be presented. Saturday evening at 6:00 PM there will be an under-the-stars screening of two soon-to-be-classic EV films “KickGas” and “Charged”.

On Sunday morning at 10 AM, EV builder and author Ted Dillard and independent PV Solar installer Bevan Walker will be joined by the ALT E store’s Jocelyn Angel and Mike Marchilli to do a hands-on DIY workshop called “DIY Off-Grid Solar EV Charging”.

What to Expect:

  • Saturday morning is our first look at the field of participants.  At 10AM we’ll have The Alt Energy Parade and Drive to the Summit – watch and cheer on our “Alt Energy contestants” as they make history on Mt. Washington.  Everything from home-built electric bikes, cars and motorcycles to the sleekest high-performance plug-in vehicles on the road today will be on hand.  Watch for some truly unusual solutions there as well, including some top-secret “unmanned transportation” research projects currently in development.
  • Mid-morning until noon, join us on the mountain to see the vehicles in action.  There will be ad-hoc gatherings along the route as well as the summit where you can check in on our participants.
  • By early afternoon, the main field will be full of vehicles, exhibitors and participants with cars, bikes and motorcycles, as well as other interesting inventions for you to check out… and possibly even try out.
  • Saturday afternoon and evening look for our speakers and panel discussions, impromptu home-brew music, and in the evening screenings of KickGas and Charged movies under the stars.
  • We’ll wrap up with the hands-on DIY solar charging station workshop on Sunday morning, and informal summit bids again throughout the day with a mid-afternoon wrap-up and send-off.
  • Throughout the weekend: Expect a thrilling look at the future of transportation, a hands-on show of what is here now, along with a peak at some of the history of alternative transportation on the Mount Washington Auto Road:  the first Alt energy vehicle to ever ascend the Mt. Washington Auto Road—the original, steam powered Stanley Locomobile that made the trip from Newton, Massachusetts to the summit of the mountain in 1899.

For more information about or to register for the “Mt. Washington Auto Road Alt Energy Summit” event at the Mt. Washington Auto Road, visit www.altenergysummit.org, email Event Director Ted Dillard at ted@altenergysummit.com, or call at (978) 621-5178.


Mt Washington Alt Energy Summit: www.altenergysummit.org

National Drive Electric Week: https://driveelectricweek.org

New Hampshire Electric Co-op: http://www.nhec.com

Mt Washington Auto Road (main site): http://mtwashingtonautoroad.com



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Help Solve a Mt. Washington Mystery- Who Are These Stage Drivers?

PINKHAM NOTCH, NH– The faces stare intently at you, as if the curtain of time has been drawn back and you can speak to the ten men assembled in this picture.
Stage-DriversWEBThe Mt. Washington Auto Road is seeking the answer to a question that has been asked for more than a century-who were the stage drivers in this historic photograph? It is hoped that members of the public might recognize an old family member and shed some light on this mountain mystery.

The year is certainly pre-1900…The men are dressed in uniforms–somewhat formal, yet well worn three piece suits and each wears his hat in way that shows unique personality. The group has gathered on and around the front of a Concord Coach (one of New Hampshire’s most famous early exports and a regular sight carrying travelers on the route through Pinkham Notch).

The same barn roofline which is evident in the background of the picture can still be seen at the base of the Auto Road today. Unfortunately, one cannot see which of the three Glen House Hotels which were there over the years is open for business (which would have helped date the photograph).

“Some early photographs are so compelling because of the expressive faces that can seem so familiar. The men pictured are clearly a professional and interesting looking bunch of characters, which is something they certainly share with the men and women who drive stages on the today’s Auto Road!” noted Steven Caming, Media Director of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center. “There are so many amazing archival images that exist for a business that opened to the public in 1861, but this stage driver photograph has always been very special and we’re hoping to find out more about who these men were,” he added.

Individuals who feel they might recognize anyone in the picture are encouraged to contact the Mt. Washington Auto Road at (603) 466-3988 or online at www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com


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Costume Characters Welcome Monday May 27th on Auto Road for Alton Weagle Day

Mt. Washington, NH-Be the costumed character you always wanted to be on the Mt. Washington Auto Road this Monday, May 27th at 6:00 am as part of the 3rd Annual Alton Weagle Unusual Ascent Day. This always entertaining event is part of the kick-off celebration for the Road’s 152nd operating season. The event will commemorate the many unusual ascents made on the “Carriage Road” since it opened to the public in 1861. While in past years the event has been more oriented to “first ascents”, this year anyone in a costume is welcome to participate.

Another special element of this day will be the unveiling of a folk art American Flag made entirely of wooden sticks found on Mt. Washington. This impressive four by nine foot creation by artist and adventurer Ben Hvar will be dedicated at 12 noon and will be on permanent display at the Auto Road. Hvar will also be making a descent of the Auto Road on Alton Weagle Day in a “Tubemobile” of his own creation, fashioned from inner tubes.

Throughout its century and a half of operation, the Auto Road has always drawn unique individuals eager to make unusual ascents and this tradition continues on Alton Weagle Day. “Year after year, Mt. Washington inspires certain individuals to try something different-some are athletic or vehicular firsts, others are just uniquely entertaining, but they all make history in their own way,” noted Howie Wemyss, General Manager of the Mt. Washington Auto Road and Great Glen Trails Outdoor Center.

This spirit of fun and adventure was perhaps best captured by day’s namesake, the late Alton Weagle of Walpole, NH. Weagle was a great advocate for safe and sustainable enjoyment of the White Mountains, who became known for awhile as “Mr. Mt. Washington”, thanks to his entertaining exploits during the 1950s. At various times he had run up the Auto Road barefoot, backwards and blindfolded (up and down) and he had pushed up a wheelbarrow with a 100 pound sack of sugar without setting it down; Weagle climbed up and down Tuckerman Ravine, along the Cog Railway and the Auto Road (30 miles) in 14 hours 28 minutes and even got married on the Cog Railway in 1955.

In recent years, several unusual “first ascents” were accomplished, including one person who made the climb on a unicycle, two on roller skis, a trio who Irish stepped danced their way to the top and one man who backed his vehicle from base to summit along the winding 8 mile road to the northeast’s highest peak, 2 people riding tricycles; one Star Wars scout trooper; a fireman in full fire fighting gear including SCBA and hand tool and a buckskin character going up in a go-kart, among others.

For more information about this and other events at the Auto Road visit online at: www.mtwashingtonautoroad.com

Anyone interested in participating with an unusual ascent of their own is required to contact the Auto Road at 466-3988 for schedules and more information.


Alton Weagle Day 2012

Alton Weagle Group bridge

Alton Weagle Day 2011

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A Ride on the SnowCoach with Exciting Weather!

It is great to be driving the SnowCoach again thanks to the Nor’easter on Feb 8th and 9th! Here is a brief overview of my trips last week:

On Tuesday, passengers got to experience a sample of the “world’s worst weather”. The first trip had gusts over 50 mph with the winds on later trips approaching almost 70 mph (with blowing and drifting snow)! Awesome weather and you wouldn’t really know it from the sunny conditions at the base. As the day progressed, a large snow drift formed just below “OMG Corner” which became a great visual of what can happen with the right conditions in a short amount of time.

Friday saw warm and mostly sunny conditions. Clouds did increase over the day but the weather highlight was the soft and beautiful rime ice on the branches at tree-line. I also dropped off a couple who snowshoed down from winter the turn-around point and try to do this a few times a year.


Saturday’s trips experienced a slowly rising ceiling. During the first trip, we were among the clouds starting about 3,000 ft making for a beautiful New England winter scene. Stepping out at “Gov’t Sign” was actually relatively warm (still below freezing) with a nonexistent wind. By the final trip of the day, the sun was trying to peek through the clouds and the base had risen just enough to almost completely reveal the northern presidentials. I also had a future meteorologist on one of the trips. :-)


Looking forward to vacation week!


Posted in Kids, Mt Washington Auto Road, Winter | 1 Comment

The Green Glow of the Night Sky!

One of the cool things about living up in the Notch is access to the night sky for photographs. Monday night November 13th was one of those nights for sure. I actually got the heads up about a Northern Light Show that had begun from a Mt. Washington Weather Obs Facebook posting. I’ve seen the show in the sky several times before, but never for this long. I went out to the parking lot at the Mt. Washington Auto Road around 11:00p.m. and could immediately see the Aurora Borealis out on the horizon north towards Gorham. I got a few shots off, made some camera adjustments and sat on the grass to enjoy the light show. After midnight, the pillars began to shoot up and into the night sky. The whole scene became brighter the later it got.

A spectacular green haze bank across the sky formed. My exposures ranged between 20 seconds and 2 minutes. This shot of the Snow Coach was a tough one, as I wasn’t sure how to light up the van. The colors in the sky were brilliant and I decided to wave a few passes of light from my Petzl headlamp onto the vehicle. It took a couple of tries, but it did the trick.

Look forward to the next round of color from the north! -Ernie
See more great shots at Ernie Mills Photography.com or on his Facebook page.

Click thumbnails to enlarge.

Posted in Great Glen Trails, Mt Washington Auto Road, Northern Lights | 3 Comments

The first snow….

is always so exciting. We know it’s not going to last when it comes this early in the season but it still makes for a delightful sight. Driving into work from below the notch was disappointing, there was no snow! As I climbed in elevation through Pinkham Notch –learn more about Pinkham Notch here my eyes grew bigger and the frown turned into a huge smile. It was snowing pretty hard and about two inches blanketed the area.

Arriving at the Auto Road made my day – a Winter Wonderland!  I was attending the Northern NH Tourism Conference in Crawford Notch and couldn’t stick around to enjoy it, but Ernie, Regina, Susan, Mike, Nate and Chara had a blast playing in it!








The snow piled up to about 4 inches and made for a fun day!





Check out more of our photos on Facebook by photographer Ernie Mills.

Posted in Great Glen Trails, Mt Washington Auto Road, Winter | 2 Comments

Pumpkin People!

It’s that time of year when the days are becoming chilly and the forest seems to be on fire with the changing of the leaves. It’s also the time of year for Pumpkin People! We participate in the annual Return of the Pumpkin People Festival now in its 25th year and create a scene using pumpkins. Along with 73 other business’ who have worked hard brainstorming, creating, building, gluing, and painting we have come up with a scene we titled –

Old “Pumpkin” Man of the Mountain.

It took 222 small pumpkins and one gourd to make the Old Man come to life. The family enjoys the crisp air while gazing up at the profile and the little boy even has binoculars. The scene is complete with an audio recording of first and last interview with the Old Man before he left us in May 2003. Come see the Old Pumpkin Man of the Mountains and enjoy the foliage!










To take a trip on a self guided tour click here for a complete list of participating properties.

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The Sun!!

After days and days of rain and clouds the sun has returned to shine on the mountains again. What a beautiful sight! The gravel section of the road is drying out and firming up for safe travel. The sun made its debut wonderfully this morning. Photographer and stage drive Ernie Mills took an early trip up to welcome the morning and was able to capture some amazing views.


The next few days are looking great for a visit to the Auto Road!

Posted in Sunrise | Tagged , | 2 Comments